Written By: Traci J. Dobrev, Ed.S, M.Ed., NCC, BCC
The mother’s of one of my childhood friends would always say…“Just be happy. Smile. Everything is wonderful. We are all just happy!” I was only nine years old and it made me very confused. I always felt like I was walking at eggshells when I was playing at her house. It was very conflicting to hear my friend’s mother say these positive statements, but then be on the verge of blowing up at any moment. And one day she did just that. I was there to witness it and remember feeling relieved thinking that her feelings have finally showed up.
In order to cultivate greater emotional resiliency, it’s important to deal with repressed emotions. You have probably been told at some point in your life to be positive and only focus on the positives in your life. This message is often misinterpreted to mean that it is not okay to be down or have negative thoughts.
The inability to express negative or unhappy feelings can lead to superficial and inauthentic relationships with others. When you suppress negative emotions, you are repressing a part of yourself that needs to be seen, heard, and addressed. Trying to bury a negative emotion does not make it go away. It may temporarily give you relief, but the energy of that emotion is stored in your body where it creates a state of dis-ease. If left long enough, this negative energy can turn into stress and disease.
Often, when negative feelings have been buried for a long time, there is a point in time where they will surface and it’s usually when you least expect it. This brings me back to my example. It was the littlest thing that set off my friend’s mother that day, but when she blew up, she began listing things she was mad about from before either one of us had even been born!
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings constructively and to help you cultivate greater emotional resiliency:
#1 Talk to a friend, a coach, a therapist, or trusted advisor.
We all get wrapped up and stuck in our own way of thinking. Talking to another person is a great way to vent and get it all out, but it also helps you to gain another perspective on a situation. Many times, we over-personalize things and think it is all about us…when in reality, most people are just trying to get through the day.
#2 Journal about your feelings.
Another great way to process your feelings is to write them down. When you vent it all on paper, it does two things. First, it gets all that negative energy out of your body. Second, after you’ve had a chance to get it all out and calm down, you can go back and reread what you wrote. This will often lead to new insights.
#3 Develop a kinder and more forgiving attitude towards yourself.
Have you heard the expression, “You’re doing the best you can, even when it’s not your best”? I believe that is true. Negative self-judgment is something you need to learn to recognize, and then reframe it into a positive direction. This can be challenging to do on your own, so this is where talking to a trusted person can really help. In time, you can learn to create a voice that is kinder and more loving towards yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is my Inspiration Cards; they can really help you look at a situation with fresh eyes.
Written By: Traci J. Dobrev, Ed.S, M.Ed., NCC, BCC: Traci’s specializes in Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), a psychology technique that is based on energy. She helps you learn and clear unconscious blocks that lead to self-sabotaging behaviors. She continues to study energy psychology techniques and integrates that with her vast knowledge in personal growth and development. She also is a professor at several colleges in Tampa teaching classes on conflict resolution, personal motivation, and clearing blocks that prevent stress management.