What To Do With Unwanted Emotion?
One of my clients generously gave me permission to share an important question she recently asked:
“I know it is good to honor my emotions and release them without holding them in, however I also know the value of being in positive emotion so we can attract positive experience. When I feel sad, or angry, or any number of negative emotions and I am tempted to try to change the thought in order to stay in the positive (doesn’t always work). I was just wondering what your thoughts are on this.”
She’s not alone in wondering what to do with challenging emotions. LOA savvy folks know the power of those emotions, and thus sometimes tend to avoid them in fear of what they might manifest. So when feelings like grief, anger, resentment, etc. comes up – it’s not unusual for the deliberate creator to get nervous and generate resistance.
Since it’s natural – and inevitable – that as humans we feel a wide variety of emotions, it’s helpful to get a handle on what to do when they arise. I believe those sad, angry and other less fun emotions – until they’re processed – will remain in the background, left to our physical body to deal with and still contributing to our vibration.
So even when we try to upgrade to a better feeling, it’s not as easy or effective if we haven’t yet let ourselves feel the negative or unwanted emotion.
Even though it may seem contrary to manifesting efforts, letting ourselves feel unwanted emotions is what frees us from them. Otherwise we just have anger, grief, resentment, etc. simmering beneath the surface – and making up part of our vibration anyway – no matter how much we don’t want it.
What we resist, persists – which is another good argument for not resisting negative feelings.
Lao Tzu said it more eloquently in the Tao Te Ching: “Simply notice the natural order of things. Work with it rather than against it. For to try to change what is only sets up resistance.”
The fear that we’ll get stuck in a negative emotion or attract something awful while we’re there is just another feeling to allow, process, and release. As long as you’re not resisting your feelings they can be in movement.
It’s when we start pushing against them (whether that’s by denying, ignoring, dismissing or wishing them away) that the real fun begins. (And by that I don’t really mean fun. ha! Although when we release the judgment about which feelings are good and which are bad, that could be an accurate statement.)
Anyway, to bring this point home about how helpful it is to just feel the feelings, I tell clients about my past experience in grieving over lost dogs. My old routine – before I learned how to feel the feelings – was to involuntarily immerse in black feelings for days on end – not showering, not eating, not talking. Just holed up at home in a silent tomb of grief.
In fact, once my co-workers arrived on my doorstep with pasta salads telling me to eat, shower and get dressed. Another time my husband thought he was going to have to take me to the hospital for valium because I was so grief-stricken I couldn’t move. That was dark.
And then one time I did it different.
When Sophie died (the girl on my home page), which happened here at home, I said goodbye to her, walked out to the back porch, sat down in the sun, put my arms around my knees, and felt it. I let myself feel it – the sadness, the grief, the love, all of it. I felt it. And I remember thinking, “Man, this is SAD.” This is REALLY sad!” Like I’d never experienced before. I’d never been so sad. I was in awe of how sad I was and how deeply I felt it.
For about five minutes.
And then it was gone.
Totally GONE! The sadness was all mine for a couple minutes – and then it wasn’t any more! No trace of it left. Nothing but love and grace and appreciation left in its wake.
I wasn’t in denial, wasn’t dysfunctioning – just letting myself feel the feelings fully. Not to get rid of them – but that’s what happened – they moved right along. They were here, intensely so – and then they weren’t! Because I felt them. Fully.
Which taught me not to be afraid of sadness or grief. Coach Tom Stone’s work along these lines is extremely helpful, as well. I learned his technique for “feeling fully” later on, and was grateful to have had this prior experience to confirm what he says about the benefit of the process.
Long answer to a good question – hope someone finds it helpful.