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Can negative emotions be helpful?

We're conditioned to believe that shame, fear, anger, guilt etc are bad feelings that we shouldn’t be having. They're to be ignored, pushed down out of sight or only to be dealt with in private. However, its important to remember that ALL feelings are important and need to be acknowledged, not just the pleasant ones.

When we're feeling these strong emotions, perhaps we can take it a step further and ask "what are my emotions trying to tell me?” "What are my negative feelings asking me to acknowledge?"

Do you feel angry, depressed, afraid, guilty? So often we try to stop feeling a certain way. We suppress it, mask it, ignore it, feel ashamed of it and distract ourselves to avoid feeling it. When we do this the emotion doesn't just go away, its muted for a while but still very much there, no doubt resurfacing when we least expect it or when we are triggered by someone or something.

So instead of doing this, what if we asked ourselves how, why and what are we REALLY feeling at the time? What if we take a step back and detach from the emotion for a moment and ask some questions instead of trying to ignore it? What would that emotion reveal to us? If you are angry, you might ask yourself (your anger) something like “what is the root cause of my anger? What is p***ing me off? What does feeling angry allow me to do?" For example, if we allow ourselves to sit with the feeling of anger for a few moments we might see that it allows us to blow off steam, express suppressed sexual energies, get momentum, enable us to take action and ‘do’ something.

If we’ve been holding back on expressing this part of ourselves we may have been trying to be too nice to others, sacrificing our own needs & desires, biting our tongues, playing it small etc. Allowing ourselves to feel anger and express it (in a healthy way, that’s not directed at others or which causes us personal harm) can be therapeutic for the mind, body & spirit. Perhaps we can yell at the top of our voice (or into a pillow) and release pent up energy, do exercise like running, boxing or high-impact sport, draw a picture or color in using dark-colored pencils, maybe we can smash some old plates etc. The physical act of release and hearing the smash, feeling the strain or sweating it out through exertion will begin to release and clear the pent up energy.

So instead of unfairly judging ourselves for what we feel, we can instead allow ourselves to listen more closely to what we are truly feeling. We feel for a very good reason, and our feelings are the language of our Soul. What does your Soul want to express today?

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