How to Transform Difficult Emotions

Emotions, in and of themselves, are not good or bad. An emotion is just energy moving. I know that sounds woo-woo, but it’s true.

We like to label emotions good or bad because it makes them easier to discuss. With that said, for the sake of this post, the difficult ones are emotions such as: 

Sadness

Grief

Depression 

Loneliness 

Fear 

You get the gist. 

The purpose of this post is to help you feel more equipped to face and deal with difficult emotions when they arise, instead of being controlled by them.

You will learn: 

-Why we have emotions (the simplest reason)

-The hidden beauty of dark emotions 

-How to transform dark emotions into lighter ones 

Why we Have Emotions  

As humans, we have emotions for one core reason: survival. Emotions do a lot for us. They inform us on the emotional space we are in, and let us know whether we are safe or not.

Emotions are signals not only to you, but to the people around you. You can learn a lot from listening to your emotions. And what’s more, if you pay attention, you can influence and control them as well.

The Hidden Beauty of Dark Emotions 

What the heck could be beautiful about pain? Grief? Fear? 

The beauty is, all of these are temporary, and they give balance to life. And all of them can teach us lessons about life and help us to empathize with other humans who go through similar experiences. It’s hard to help someone with something you haven’t experienced yourself.

Emotions add variety and texture to life, because if we were always happy, we wouldn’t feel like we were experiencing anything. We are here to experience, not sit around with a permanent smile on our faces, some of us think we want that, but trust me, we don’t.

This is why I love writing stories, because I get to place my characters in difficult situations, often situations I’ve been through myself. I get to make them move through  tough scenarios and figure out how to deal with tough emotions, just like we all do everyday.

The fact is…we all go through tough shit. The beauty is, if it doesn’t kill us, once we move past it, we can help someone else through it too.

How to Transform Unwanted Emotions

As always, set the INTENTION to change how you feel. This is the most important step. There is tremendous power in intention. Once you intend to do something, if you are truly clear about your intention, your entire mind is now working with you instead of against you.

FEEL IT, DON’T FIGHT IT

Difficult emotions can be harder to transform, mostly because we don’t like to feel them.

When we feel sadness creeping in we tend to try to hold back, fight tears, or otherwise pretend the darkness isn’t there. This is in fact how I dealt with emotions in my youth.

What does this do? It keeps the emotion there longer. Because when you run away from something, you put yourself in a position to be chased. 

You must first own and feel an emotion before you can change it. You can’t make a pie if you don’t first have the ingredients. In this case, the ingredients are the raw emotion, and you ability to see it. 

WATCH YOURSELF 

Once you feel the emotion, be kind to yourself. Do not judge yourself for having the emotion. 

As you feel the emotion, over time you will realize you are observing the emotion instead of becoming it. 

As you observe, you may sense that once you cry, scream, write, or whatever it is you do to deal with the emotion, it doesn’t feel as strong as it once was. 

It is at this point you can set your intention to feel something different. It would make more sense to aim for an emotion that is a little higher, a quantum leap from grief to ecstasy may not be possible. However, you could perhaps go from grief, to sadness, to hope. 

MAKING THE TRANSITION 

Many of us need tools for this part. Some watch comedy, read a romance novel, do a jigsaw puzzle, it really doesn’t matter. You could also just meditate. The point is…you are deliberately choosing to move away from that feeling by using an aid that will take you in a different direction. 

If a cup of tea lifts you up, drink it. 

If your child makes you happy, hug her. 

If working out changes your mood, (read:it will), move that body. 

A CONCISE PROCESS OF DEALING WITH TOUGH EMOTIONS

  1. Remember that you are not your emotion, you are the observer and experiencer of it. 
  2. Feel the emotion completely without trying to run away from it. The faster you face it, the faster it can move through you instead of get stuck within you. 
  3. Choose a new emotion to feel. Use a tool or aid to help if you need it. (Comedy, cup of relaxing tea, call an uplifting friend, etc) 

Always remember—you can do it!

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