There is this misconception that if we are having negative thoughts the best way to combat them is to turn them off and turn on happy, positive thoughts. We think that drowning out our negative thoughts will make us feel better, but this completely skips over the truth of what we’re feeling.
Telling ourselves that we are eating lobster when we are in fact eating ramen noodles will not make it so. Just because you want to feel a certain way, does not make the other feelings go away. They are still there waiting to be dealt with.
It is ok to talk ourselves through challenging situations with positive statements, but we can do that while still acknowledging that we’re upset. Positive thinking is great when it is authentic, but when we are forcing it, and we actually feel sad, disappointed, frustrated, or angry, it prolongs our time with those uncomfortable emotions. We don’t need to drown out how we’re feeling with faux positivity.
We force ourselves to bypass emotions we consider negative because we have been told that we shouldn’t think like that, that we shouldn’t be negative. But sometimes negativity is required. Sometimes the negativity is the truth.
Right after we’ve been fired from a job, or lost someone close to us, or ended a relationship, we don’t need to immediately put a positive spin on it. We don’t have to ignore how we’re feeling and make a list for ourselves of all the ways that what happened is actually a good thing. It’s ok to just feel like it sucks for a while.
Forcing positivity is actually a way of denying emotions that we need to feel, and that is not a healthy strategy. We need to allow ourselves the grace to feel all of our emotions, whether they are positive or negative.
What emotions do you perceive as negative?
Is it challenging for you to feel negative emotions?
How do you cope when you feel things that you find challenging?
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