We all have ups and downs in life and while it might be easier to lock your negative feelings away and pretend they don’t exist doing-so has lasting effects. In this world, we need to be willing to feel things, even the bad things.
When we move through life locking our negative emotions inside and refusing to deal with them they add up more and more until we literally explode and are forced to face things to a much greater degree. As a whole, we all seem to refuse to feel our emotions properly and that needs to change. Life is too short to spend it forcing ourselves to be miserable in the long-run. If someone passes mourn them and if you get mad, let it out. Stop running away from things you don’t want to face.
Right now during this pandemic, it’s okay to be afraid. The more we pretend everything is fine the less fine it will end up being, honestly. We can embrace our negative emotions properly without being ungrateful and that’s something that not a lot of people truly understand. Sure, we should be focusing on the positives but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong for taking the time to have a good cry.
Psychology Today touched on this subject a few years back and as follows is very much worth noting:
There are several reasons why emotional avoidance is harmful.
First, important goals and pursuits in your life may inherently involve going through some challenging times and situations, and an unwillingness to “pay the toll” for the trip may narrow your life horizons needlessly. Over time, avoidance becomes a prison, because after a while you begin to feel the need to avoid many situations, people, experiences and places that may bring the negative emotion to mind, stir it, or remind you of it. And the more you avoid, the weaker you feel, the more your coping skills diminish, and the less of life you can experience.
Second, attempts at avoiding negative emotions are usually futile. Telling yourself that a certain emotion is intolerable or dangerous traps you in constant vigilance regarding the very thing you’re trying to avoid. You become hyper-vigilant about any possibility of this feeling arising. The fear of the impending negative experience becomes a negative experience in itself.
Third, emotional avoidance often involves denying the truth—not a good foundation for a healthy life. It’s like someone who looks out the window, sees snow falling, and then tells himself, “It can’t be snowing.” Clearly it can, and it is. Granted, you may not like snow. But denying the fact that it’s snowing is unlikely to solve the problems posed by snow.
Fourth, avoidance lengthens the period of anticipation, and anticipatory anxiety is usually a much more noxious condition than the actual situation being anticipated. This is mainly because when you anticipate, your imagination is unbounded by actual situational demands. You can go anywhere in your head regarding something that hasn’t happened yet, and so you’ll often go wild with negative, catastrophic scenarios. In contrast, once actually in the feared situation, your mind becomes bounded by the parameters of what is happening around you. And what is actually happening is usually less than spectacular or catastophic. Real catastrophes are, after all, really rare. Reality generates many fewer extreme situations than the unbounded imagination.
Now, before we discuss a more healthy way to handle negative emotion, we need to understand the function of emotions in general. You can think of your emotions as a source of information. Your emotions tell you something about what’s going on with you and around you. Emotions, however, are not the only source of information available to you. You also have your rational thoughts, your stored knowledge and experience, and your values and goals. Information provided by emotions needs to be appraised and evaluated in light of these other sources in order for you to decide how to behave in the situation.
Regardless of your emotion, you always have choices of action. Your decision will depend on synthesizing knowledge from many sources. For example, if you and your child are approached by a wild dog while on a nature hike, you may feel fear, and with it a desire to flee, but decide to stay and fight the dog to protect your child. In this case, your values (“I have a duty to protect my child”) dictated that you “disobey” your fear.
We all have choices to make and whether or not we embrace all of ourselves or only some of ourselves matters. Sure, the negative things we feel sometimes might really suck, but we’re feeling them for a reason and should not forget that. We are who we are because of the things we go through.