RESISTING V. ALLOWING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
Most people are drawn to thought work because they’re experiencing more guilt, shame, anxiety, insecurity, fear, or confusion than they want to have in their lives.
But ironically, in order to feel better, you need to embrace the power of feeling worse.
Allow me to explain.
Today, I’m going to teach you about a crucial distinction in dealing with negative emotions. It’s going to make you uncomfortable (and that’s a good thing).
It’s the difference between resisting and allowing.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of deep thought work on my thoughts about romantic relationships. I’ve been experiencing some repetitive thoughts and anxiety in this realm.
But recently, I realized that my biggest problem wasn’t the anxiety or the thoughts I was having. It was my belief that I shouldn’t be experiencing them.
I was making my anxiety and repetitive thoughts mean something had gone wrong or I was failing in my self-coaching.
I subconsciously believed that if I was on the “right” track, I would feel totally fine and calm.
I felt awful, so my brain thought I must be on the “wrong” track.
My brain kept going in circles. I had a negative thought, I was sad or anxious, I had a thought about how being anxious meant I was failing in my thought work, and my anxiety increased.
Finally, I realized that I’m feeling anxious because I’m trying to grow in this area. I’m leveling up my thinking about romantic relationships. Changing my brain in this way is SUPPOSED to feel like I’m dying. It always does!
I know this because I learned this lesson really thoroughly in building my business, and it’s become second nature to apply it there.
I expect that any time I do something new in my business, I might feel like I’m going to die. My brain is going to raise all sorts of objections and fears and anxieties for me
But I’ve just decided that I’m ok with that. It’s fine. It doesn’t MEAN anything about me or the state of the world or the state of my thought work. It has nothing to do with whether my business plan is good or not. I just accept it will happen no matter what.
The same is true in any area.
I am evolving my thoughts, feelings, actions, and results in a new direction in my love life. My brain is going to make things uncomfortable for me, and that’s ok. It’s a byproduct of my evolution. It’s a direct result of the work I’m doing.
It doesn’t mean that something has gone wrong. In fact, the opposite is true! It means that I’m working on creating something new in my life. I’m working on blowing my mind.
And you know what?
The moment I accepted that growing in this particular way would make me feel like I was dying, the moment I said to myself “yup, that’s a part of the deal and it doesn’t mean anything,” all the negative emotion vanished.
It was like magic.
I still haven’t had a single anxious moment about it.
Now, it may not feel like magic to you. Your anxiety may not dissipate as quickly as mine did, and that’s ok. I have a lot of practice with this.
But you will find that even if the anxiety doesn’t dissipate, you get some immediate relief by just accepting that to some degree, that negative emotion will likely always accompany change for you. (And, really, will always accompany LIFE. Life is 50% positive emotion and 50% negative emotion no matter what).
That is the difference between resisting emotion and allowing it.
Resistance is what happens when you believe all of your thoughts and resist all of your feelings. Your feelings only become stronger when you try to avoid them.
How do you feel right now?
Are you resisting this very concept?
Your brain probably thinks that you have an endless well of negative emotions and that if you succumb to them, you’ll fall into a never-ending pit of despair.
Your brain is doing some bad math right now.
Negative Emotion = Misery
Negative Emotion + Allowance = ENDLESS MISERY
But what your brain gets wrong is that negative emotions aren’t making you miserable. RESISTING them is. RESISTING your emotions is what is causing your anxiety and your despair. Resisting them only makes them stronger.
You may not believe me, and that’s ok.
This is a concept that every one of my students struggles with.
So it’s helpful to use baby steps to get there.
Let’s imagine some things, together.
Imagine it’s possible you don’t even know what allowing a negative emotion would feel like.
Imagine your thoughts about how dangerous your negative emotions are might be wrong.
Imagine it might be possible to have a negative emotion and fully experience it and not die.
Imagine your brain can predict doom all it wants, and it still might be wrong about what it would feel like to allow your emotions to pass through you.
When you find yourself resisting a negative emotion, take a breath and practice these thoughts. Each thought will bring you one step closer to acceptance, and ultimately relief.