I tried for many years to “transcend” my “negative” emotions- you know, the anger, sadness, inadequacy, self-criticism and depression to name a few. The feelings would come knocking at my door and I would try to politely ignore them.
It never worked.
Maybe it can work for some people, like Eckhart Tolle who suggests we just wake up in the middle of our unpleasant emotions and step right out. But for me, trying to eradicate certain feelings just added on more layers of shame; it gave me something new to fail at!
Now I take the perspective that feelings are meant to be felt. I am doing my best to honor and experience the emotions that arise, without labeling them as negative or bad or wrong. Challenging? Perhaps. But each emotion can also be an opportunity to look within and learn to love myself more deeply.
At some points in my life, I have found solace in drawing and songwriting as ways to let my emotions be felt and expressed.
And this past month has been all about stream-of-conscious journaling. On the page, I can let myself express all of the whiny, sad complaints I don’t typically say out loud. I can access the parts of me that feel abandoned and unsafe, and let those voices feel heard. I can dump it all onto the page to clear out some space inside.
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash
That’s right, moaning and complaining in strategic doses actually helps me make room for the more enjoyable emotions. Right now I am letting in gratitude for the beauty and love in my life. I’m not pretending I am grateful while everything is a churning mess inside. I am letting the churning mess be expressed so I have energy left for something new.
Right now, I am clearing out space for gratitude. In the future, who knows what will come? I am open. I can embrace it all with love.