One way to get through negative emotions is to feel negative emotions. A lot of times, when we start to feel a bit down, the end of the world seems to loom on the horizon. The negative emotion gets immediately amplified. When we feel sick, we think we may die. When somebody breaks up with us, we think we are unlovable and will be lonely forever. In order to avoid this amplified negativity, we need to stay rooted in the present moment and feel just what we are feeling. The feeling is not so bad if we don’t make it worse.
If we are feeling negative and we look into the future, we will see doom and gloom. If we look into the past, we will find regrets. If we stay present and feel our current emotion, we will experience a bit of pain. When we stop to feel the pain, breathe in and out with the pain, we see that we can endure the pain. We gain strength and wisdom as we explore the pain.
We generally hate to feel pain. When we start to feel pain, we retreat into our thoughts. Our thoughts though, feed the pain. We start to make sweeping generalizations about ourselves that have no basis in truth. They are based in pain. We start to think we are stupid, ugly, naive, unlucky, lazy, or horrible. This is where our thoughts lead us when we try to avoid the pain of a negative emotion. It’s far better just to feel the pain.
When we get used to feeling the pain and see that our emotional experience does not make or break us, we learn to experience subtleties in our emotions. We can interrupt some of our automatic responses and save ourselves from jumping to anger when we really feel hurt or scared. Emotions are amazing. So they hurt sometimes. When we learn to feel just how they hurt, they don’t hurt so much. When we can pay close attention to our emotions, we become sages, not victims.