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Embracing Our Negative Emotions

As we’re learning about our emotions and how they work, many of us are taught from a young age that some emotions are positive – happiness, excitement, gratitude, while some are negative – sadness, fear, hopelessness. We train our minds to accept and amplify our positive feelings and to reject the negative ones. We develop certain habits of avoidance, denial and suppression. For example, we stop ourselves from crying or apologize when we cry in public. We don’t talk about anything difficult or seemingly negative. We don’t talk about our difficulties in life lest we be perceived as weak. We’re afraid of vulnerability. We feel ashamed of ourselves and disappointed in ourselves when we don’t live up to other people’s expectations of us or to the ones we have for ourselves. We put ourselves down and beat ourselves up. We get really good at kicking ourselves when we’re down. We judge ourselves for not being strong, for giving into our negative emotions and for not having the fortitude to withstand them and just keep plowing ahead. We disparage ourselves if we need a break, if we need to release our emotions, or if we need time to rest. We inundate ourselves with guilt, shame and a lack of self-forgiveness. We reject ourselves for experiencing these very normal, very common, seemingly negative feelings.

Treating ourselves in this way tends to make our difficult emotions that much harder to cope with. When we’re already feeling sad, for example, beating ourselves up for it is likely to make us feel even worse, about the situation at hand and even more importantly, about ourselves. Our self-esteem plummets. We develop depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. We deny ourselves compassion and understanding. We grow impatient and frustrated with ourselves. We don’t make time for self-care. Our rejection of our negative emotions ends up causing us even more harm.

Learning to embrace all of our emotions, not just the pleasant, easy ones, is an act of self-acceptance and self-love. It is telling ourselves that we love, accept, value and respect ourselves fully and unconditionally, allowing ourselves to be who we are completely without delineating what feelings or experiences are acceptable or good. We allow ourselves to learn from our difficult, complicated, messy emotions rather than rejecting them. We learn that there is valuable insight to be gained from all of our feelings. Our sadness and fear teach us about ourselves, our needs, our desires, our hopes, dreams and goals. They inform our healing process. Our anger and shame teach us about release, detachment, acceptance and forgiveness. When we embrace the emotions we once considered to be negative, we stop cutting off entire parts of who we are. We learn to love all of ourselves and to take all of our difficulties and challenges and allow them to help us learn and grow.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.