Throughout this blog, I focus a lot on creating happiness: on choosing what feels good and transmuting what doesn’t.
And still I firmly believe that we have the power to shape our reality through what we choose to focus on.
But we’re all still human. No matter how much we focus on thinking positive, life isn’t perfect and neither are we. Sometimes we’re going to experience “bad” or “negative” feelings too.
The New Thought community has done us a huge disservice by implying that you can somehow prevent that from happening! It’s also misleading to think that you’ve done something wrong and attracted those feelings to you.
Negative or bad feelings simply are what Abraham Hicks calls “contrast”. I prefer this term instead of coloring everything as either “good” or “bad”. There are simply feelings that feel good and feelings that don’t. But having feelings that don’t feel good doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong or that you’re going down the wrong path.
Those “negative” feelings have a very simple message for you: whatever’s happening right now is not okay for you.
Look at it this way: everything exists on a continuum, which means there’s always an opposite. Light and dark, hot and cold, black and white.
Happiness can only exist when there’s an opposite state. Unchanging eternal happiness becomes meaningless without something to compare it to!
The universe is in a constant state of expansion. That’s also our natural state. We’re here to grow and learn and expand our consciousness over our lifetime.
Stagnation is actually unnatural. If you’re not growing and changing in your life, something has actually gone wrong.
And one of the realities of growth is facing uncomfortable or unhappy feelings from time to time.
You cannot manifest or positive-think your way out of that!
Those “negative” feelings are the foil for the happiness. Because if you were happy 24/7 you’d lose perspective and become unsatisfied.
All of our feelings are here to show us something.
We look at our good happy feelings and think “Cool! I want more of that!”
We look at our unhappy feelings and think “Hmmm. That wasn’t so fun. What can I do to prevent that from happening?”
One of the core beliefs of Buddhism is that life is suffering. Not to knock Buddhism in its entirety (!!) but instead of suffering, I prefer the term discomfort.
Growth doesn’t always feel good. It pushes us out of our comfy zone. It makes us do scary new things. It changes the way the people in our life relate to us.
All of those things can feel pretty icky at times, even though that discomfort usually gives way to feeling satisfied or happy.
Accomplishing goals feels good. Getting what we want in life feels freakin’ fantastic! It’s just those first awkward steps forward that are tricky to deal with.
But any discomfort we experience is always temporary, as is everything else in life.
You can train yourself to focus on the happier things in life. You can control your outlook on the world to a large extent.
Besides the inevitability of “negative feelings”, there are four more truths I want to share with you today:
The Truth About Negative Feelings
Negative Feeling Truth #1:
One Negative Thought Won’t Ruin Everything
Your overall energy is the key to the manifesting game. That’s why one negative thought cannot hurt you. Heck, even one negative week doesn’t have to hurt you!
Your long-term energy pattern and mindset is the true mechanism at work. Negative thoughts aren’t what’s holding you back from manifesting a better life. Your deep-seated fears and limiting beliefs are!
You might stumble. You might fall. You might forget to believe for a while. But as long as you keep moving forward, so will your overall energy.
The more we practice taking control of our thought patterns the less likely we’ll be to fall into long-term negative spirals and the faster we’ll be able to work through our old patterns.
Practicing self-work and positive thinking creates resiliency. And the more you practice, the faster you’ll be able to move past those “bad feelings” and into somewhere that feels good.
Negative Feeling Truth #2:
Don’t Run Away From Them
Feelings are here to be felt. Ignoring them or pretending that you just don’t have them never works. In fact, the more we run away from our fears, the bigger and scarier those fears become. We give them extra power when we try to hide away from them!
So don’t shy away from really feeling sad or angry or confused. You are 100% allowed to feel all of those things.
No matter what feeling you’re up against, always understand that it’s temporary. Numbing ourselves puts us out of touch with ourselves and causes more confusion down the road. And besides, those negative feelings haven’t really gone anywhere. They’ll stay hidden until one day they come jumping out of you, usually at some highly inconvenient time!
Actually feeling your feelings is the only way to release them and move on. And ignoring them for long periods of time has long-term ramifications. Repressed feelings ultimately result in numbness, depression or anxiety.
Here’s where journalling can be of incredible use. Express your feelings by writing them. Try flipping them into third-person to give yourself a little perspective.
Get curious with yourself. Stop justifying your feelings or working towards a need to be right. Go deeper and try to see things from a new perspective.
Negative Feeling Truth #3:
Negative Feelings Are An Opportunity
No one wants to feel shitty! But even the ugliest darkest of feelings create an opportunity for expansion.
It’s easy to sit around wishing that we felt better or that life was different and not putting in the work. Your negative feelings are simply giving you a chance to face what’s bothering you head on.
If you really want to change your life, you need a paradigm shift. And one of the quickest ways that can happen is by discovering your negative feelings and figuring out how to transmute them.
Look at it this way: the life you really want to live is only a few mental blocks away. So get excited and jump into the work in front of you!
It’s very difficult for most of us to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation. Our brain’s primary job is to keep us safe, which means it spends a lot of time figuring out how it can avoid new situations or feelings.
Negative situations are often the result of swimming into uncharted territory. And while they might never become something you’re truly pumped about, this is where you can really put the pedal to the metal.
Focus on what your feelings are actually trying to tell you. (Big hint: Most of the negative feelings we experience are a result of fear or feeling unworthy.)
Jealousy can shed light on something that’s missing from our life. Hateful feelings can also stem from jealousy. Anger tells us something is being blocked. Fear shows us that we’re being threatened. Confusion shows that we need to figure something out.
Bottom line: it’s never about the surface issue! There’s always something else going on that you need to deal with.
Negative Feeling Truth #4:
Your Feelings Are Your Responsibility
Yup, it’s still true! All those bad feelings are still created by you.
You might think that if you were in control you wouldn’t have to feel bad ever. (I mean, who wants that?) But you are in control….and you will still feel bad from time to time.
Again, that’s because we’re all constantly growing and learning and living in an imperfect world. You can’t tell in advance what your triggers are going to be. You can’t grow in advance and avoid the whole thing! That’s what the “negative feelings” are here to help you do.
As always, you choose what you allow to affect you. Other people, random events and life circumstances cannot be blamed for your feelings. You created the feelings because of a story you’re telling yourself.
Your circumstances have merely triggered something inside you.
Your negative feelings can always be transmuted and turned into useful lessons. When we surrender our need to be right and can manage to see the world in another way, everything shifts.
We believe in stories that don’t serve us. But instead of rallying against the feeling, feel it. Get curious. Listen to yourself. And then change the story!
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I hope this post transforms the way you look at negative feelings! They can’t ever be avoided entirely but shifting your mindset about them can bring you so much peace.
Thank you so much for reading!