A mental pandemic has swept the world—although it began with good intentions, the obsessive focus that it seems to have gained has transformed it from a motivational tool to a restraint that keeps many people chained in place.
The idea that has wormed its way far too deeply into our society is the mantra that we always need to feel good in order to create the life we desire.
Yes, I am a self-development coach.
Yes, I am a Law of Attraction teacher.
And yes, I would like to tell you that it is not only okay to feel bad sometimes, it is also required if you hope to create the life you want.
I am not a therapist, although I do know there are many people who suffer from clinically-diagnosed conditions. I have several friends, family members, and clients who are within this group. People with severe cases of emotional depression and anxiety should always seek professional help.
The majority of people, however, can be held back by the regular negative emotions that everyone faces. We have, unfortunately, been so inundated with messages of the power of a constant positive attitude that many people feel that there is something wrong with them if they feel angry, fearful, doubtful, and stressed out. This feeling of being somehow broken because you feel bad is even further compounded within people who suffer from clinical conditions, as they are told that the daily negative emotions we all face are something that needs to be fixed within them.
Most of the people I work with have been taught many times, by multiple sources, that they need to feel good in order to create what they want in their lives. They are taught that feeling good will bring them what they want, and that negative emotions will bring them what they do not want.
This is the number one teaching that holds people back and subtly sabotages them in the following ways:
1. It makes them suppress their negative emotions.
In an attempt to feel good all the time, people will often suppress their negative feelings. They will try to pretend they don’t have them, and cover them with a veil of mock positivity.
Unfortunately the negative emotions will still be there, and holding onto them can cause ill effects, both physically and emotionally. It can prevent them from moving forward in their lives.
2. It causes them to turn to reconditioning techniques.
When people believe there is something wrong with feeling negative emotions, they often attempt to change their emotions with external techniques. There are many options to choose from: affirmations, hypnosis, reworking neural pathways, and eliminating subconscious blocks, to name a few.
It is my personal experience, over many years of trying, and working with and observing others, that these external techniques usually have little to no effect. They are roads that can be traveled for years without actually getting anywhere.
And worst of all…
3. They believe there is something wrong with them.
More often than not, the people I work with feel that there is something broken inside them that needs to be fixed. They are working toward a goal they really want, and they have been taught that they should always feel good about it.
When their natural negative emotions spring up, they believe that is a problem that needs to be corrected. They believe these emotions will prevent them from getting what they want in life. They are told that they need to fix something within themselves so that they will feel positive instead.
What we need to remember is that most negative emotions are natural, and they can even help us create the life we desire. Anytime we are learning something new, or working toward a goal that is important to us, we are going to have some negative emotions. We are going to feel doubt, anxiety, fear, and stress. This is natural.
This is how we can use negative emotions to help us move forward and create the life we desire:
1. Negative emotions can help us find our true passion.
When I start working with people, they often have a hard time telling me what their true passions and inner desires are. They can easily rhyme off all the things that society tells them they are supposed to want, but those things often don’t align with what people truly want as individuals.
Almost everyone, however, can give you a list of what they don’t like: things that make them angry, frustrated, and stressed out.
When people aren’t sure what they do want, we start with what they don’t want. We dig down to the root causes of these negative emotions. Once we find the root causes, we focus on their opposites—the opposite of what is causing our negative emotions is where our true passions lie. The causes of our negative emotions and the root of our inner passions are two sides of the same coin. By exploring one we can find the other.
2. Negative emotions can indicate our ability to create more.
Negative emotions are often a result of the gap between what we are experiencing in our lives and what we know we should have in our lives.
We are all different. The situations and circumstances that make us feel bad may be perfectly acceptable for someone else. Situations that make others feel awful may make us completely comfortable.
When we are in situations that bring out negative emotions, it is an indicator that we want something different, deserve something different, and have the ability to create something different.
Our negative emotions aren’t causing lack; they are evidence of what we have the ability to achieve. They are the gap between where we are now and where we know we could, and should, be.
3. Negative emotions can increase our power.
Negative emotions can be powerful. And the problems that stem from these negative emotions actually come about when we suppress and contain this energy, instead of using it in a positive, constructive manor.
Energy can be transformed, and the immense power of negative emotions can, and should, be redirected toward creating what we want in our lives. We have all accomplished something simply because we were pissed off, stressed out, or frustrated. This, at a very base level, is the power of our negative emotions at work.
So the next time we are feeling stuck or held back because of our negative emotions, here’s a technique we can try:
1. Create a list of everything that is making us feel bad.
2. Look for common themes and recurring situations in this list.
3. Write down the opposites of the most common situations, circumstances, and themes from our list. These are our new goals. These are the things we can, and should, create.
4. Realize that the negative emotions we are feeling are a result of our ability to change these situations and circumstances. They are not the cause of our current circumstances. They are a source of power we can use to change these circumstances.
5. Use our anger, rage, frustration, and fear as fuel to take action toward our new goals.
Negative emotions are a form of energy we can use to create a life that we find happy, fulfilling, and successful as individuals. When we hold this energy in and suppress it, then it cannot fulfill this function. This is when we feel stuck and held back.
Let’s redirect the energy of our negative emotions and start creating a life that allows us to fulfill our purpose.
Author: Tom Reilly
Image: Ben White/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron