For a long time, I was a slave to my emotions. I didn’t understand them, I was up and down all the time and I had no idea why. I was really out of my depth and felt completely helpless and out of control, and believed that anger, jealousy, anxiety and suffering were the enemy. I held onto dangerous and destructive habits in an attempt to completely block out my emotions, because being an empty shell was better to me than the pain I was feeling.
And we’re always told that these negative thoughts and emotions are bad and something to ‘overcome’, in a way. If you’re angry, you’re not your best version of yourself. If you’re upset, you need to do something to make yourself happier. We’re taught that happiness and contentment are the ideal, and that by feeling anything that isn’t perfect, we’re failing in some way. That there must be something wrong with us or our lives.
But that’s not true. If we were meant to feel happy all the time, we would. What would be the point if we were? How would we grow, learn, and change?
Negative emotions are not mistakes or a sign of failure. Anger allows us to inspire change, it teaches us what are core values are and who we want to be as a person, because it sparks a reaction when those values are not met by others. Pain allows us to grieve things that have happened to us, to acknowledge the feeling and situation as difficult and highlights what makes us unhappy.
Jealousy shows us what we want more than anything, as it’s something someone else possesses. Anxiety shows us what we’re scared of doing, and allows us to ‘see into the future’, and how to prevent it. Fear is essential, because without it we wouldn’t acknowledge danger, which obviously could have disastrous results. It teaches us our boundaries and how far we are willing to go.
The problem is, a lot of the time our emotions are too much. They are a result of a mind that’s thinking 1000 things a minute, chaotic thought patterns and imaginary scenarios. Most of the time, we feel negative emotions when we don’t need to, we have an excess of them and that becomes too much to bare. Anxiety takes over our lives instead of being a short term emotion that should share an insight into our subconscious. These are not true, genuine emotions and offer no purpose, which is why people feel out of control.
As you probably guessed, I’m going to suggest meditation to help you shift through those unnecessary emotions (being a meditation blog and all). Breathing techniques and mindfulness can relax your body and help you take a step back from that strong emotion you can’t stand, and can prevent you from getting too close in the future. By connecting to the present moment and the world around you, we get a temporary ‘break’ from the constant stream of unstoppable thoughts, which can help us get things into perspective.
Sometimes we might not even know why we’re feeling a certain emotion until we sense it in our physical body, and have no idea why it’s happening to us. But it is important to understand that there is always a reason why we feel something, even if it’s not initially clear. It may take a bit of practice and patient, but push your mind to find the thoughts that are causing the emotion. This can give you so much more power and control because you understand why you’re upset, which can help you combat it.
And when you have figured out the reason, put it under the microscope to see if it’s genuine. Is what I’m worried about actually going to happen? Is this feeling necessary or just become I’m overwhelmed with thoughts about it? Am I too close to the feeling and not seeing clearly?
You might need a bit of help with that part, because you may think it’s realistic or rational to think something when it is actually not. Talk to others, take it outside of your own mind and they will help you see more clearly, from a fresh set of eyes.
Essentially, I’ve made this post to encourage you to stop trying to run away from your feelings, they are not the enemy here. That means you need to stop drinking, smoking, hurting yourself or delving into other coping mechanisms when you feel an uncomfortable emotion. You are feeling it for a reason, so connect to it and understand it, take away the fear.
When you feel a negative emotion, stop for a minute. Try to connect to the reason why you’re feeling tense, spend a while shifting through your thoughts to figure out what you’re anxious about. Through regular meditation and rationalisation, you will clear away the excess thoughts and feelings that serve no purpose, and build a connection with your body and mind. Emotions will then stop being this unstoppable, terrifying force and what they were meant to be – signs of what lessons need to be learnt.
Thank you for reading,
Want to learn how to meditate?
Find my Meditation for Beginners here.