Here’s something that took me three decades to learn.
Sadness, anger, jealousy and rage aren’t negative feelings, they’re just feelings.
They’re not the opposite of anything.
Yes, they might be complicated and difficult and raw and messy, but they’re not negative. The world of emotions isn’t good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, practical or irrational, win or lose. It’s much greyer than that.
Masters calls this tendency the shadow of trying to be emotionally positive. He writes:
We need to stop attaching better to upness, positivity, light and expansion. We must stop attaching worse to downness, negativity, darkness and contraction. Doing so keeps us split, divided, cut off from our wholeness, whereas it’s better to make compassionate room for both camps.
This is a challenging but relieving message for me. Because personally, when confronted with my own emotional complexity, my default is to navigate that by reducing feelings to artificial binaries.
By labeling jealousy, for example, as a negative, bad, immature feeling, that gives me an excuse to immediately disown it. As opposed to sitting with it and allowing it to move through me.
Southpark’s award winning musical performs a song on this very issue. The missionary is determined to quash his pesky homosexual urges, so he sings the following.
When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head, don’t feel those feelings. Hold them in instead. Turn it off, like a light switch Just go click. It’s a cool little trick. When you’re feeling certain feels, that just don’t feel right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light.
Proving, that getting into a debate with our inner critic about what we should be feeling, and what category those feelings belong to, is not helpful.
Because every time we try to disown one of our feelings, we disown part of ourselves.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you learn to feel the feelings you formerly anesthetized?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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