Monday Musings, 27: "Don't Shy Away from Your Negative Emotions"

Think about your past breakups. How did you feel immediately after they happened? In situations like breakups or death, it's often the case that people shy away from negative emotions. Instead of submitting to typical negative emotions like sadness, loss, and loneliness, some people try to build a resistance to these emotions. When a person dies, we refuse to believe that they're permanently gone. When we break up with a romantic partner, we continue to live as if we never cared about the person, as if our love for that person has suddenly evaporated. The fact of the matter is this does more harm than good. 

It's important not to be in denial about our negative emotions. Rejecting negative emotions makes us weaker, unhealthier, and unstable. The best way to deal with any negative situation is to confront our negative emotions, acknowledge they exist, and find ways to overcome them. If you've just ended a romantic relationship with someone you loved deeply, it's okay to miss the person, to feel sad, and to feel broken. If you experience job loss and unemployment, it's okay to feel lost and hopeless. These emotions won't define you unless you let them, and it's almost certain that you'll be better off expressing these emotions rather than avoiding them.

Our strength comes from our vulnerability and our courage to face the feelings that break us. The faster we can confront our negative emotions, the faster we can come out on the other side stronger and more resilient.