I write a lot of things about life.  They’re all things I think about or experience.  They’re often things I wish I did better. I write about being transparent, finding peace, accepting change, letting go and love – always love.  I believe with all my heart in these things.  But recently, I thought I’d failed at my own advice.  Which forced me to dig deeper than I wanted to (my life story)!

I had coffee with someone last week and while I was sitting there, I realized that I’d not released all my feelings about an intentional decision he made, which hurt my feelings.  I walked away from that 45 minute coffee feeling frustrated with myself.  How was it that I’d not let go of my hurt and anger ?  What purpose were the feelings serving?  Why the freak didn’t I take my own advice and let go? I thought I’d missed my own point(s).

So, I paused and forgave myself.

Don’t we all have hard feelings about people and situations? Although we’re told to ignore and release those feelings doesn’t that just provide the inevitable momentary relief from those feelings? Am I sure I want to tell myself that a certain emotion is wrong and allow myself to be trapped in the very negative thing I’m trying to avoid?

I decided to write down my list of what we (read: me) should do with the feelings we deem “negative”  —

  1. Don’t fight it: Accept all your feelings.  The numbers of emotions we have are like the kinds of weather patterns – they all differ based on what else is going on in your life.  When you accept your emotional life, you’re affirming yourself.
  2. Don’t waste energy: Don’t spend your energy pushing the emotion away. Instead, once you acknowledge the emotion, you can pursue the behaviors that are actually aligned with your goals and values. Avoidance teaches nothing.
  3. It won’t kill you: Acceptance is like saying that the emotion isn’t that bad.  It’s not going to kill us.  Let’s learn from it.
  4. Diffuse it: Acceptance of “the” emotion actually takes its destructive force out of it.  You know that example of the swimmer caught in an undercurrent – rather than swim against it and get fatigued, the swimmer allows it to pull them until the current weakens and then is able to swim away.  So, swim with your emotions and they will take you to a new place.

Emotional acceptance assumes a willingness to experience negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it.  To marinate in it. It’s tough, right?

Maybe I didn’t actually fail.  Maybe acknowledging those feelings allows us to use them to grow and learn.  Maybe pushing away powerful emotions short sighted.  

Once we realize that all we’ve got to do is let the emotions run their course, retaining them is ok because they’ll have no real power over our lives.  And then my friends, we’ll be able to go off and run our own beautiful new life course!

Have an amazing week!