Embracing Negative Emotions

Most of us are taught from a young age that negative emotions are bad, and we are not supposed to be angry or sad.  But the truth is we could not be feeling, loving human beings unless we felt those negative emotions.  How could we know what happiness is if we did not feel sadness?  In a culture that is obsessed with feeling positive all the time, it can feel embarrassing or even shameful to admit to being angry.  When one expresses a negative emotion we often think it is a good way to respond by saying something like,” everything will be all right,” or “it can’t be that bad.”  While these are nice attempts at making someone feel better, all it really does is help that person hide the negative emotion, but it will still be there, and if kept in too long could lead to depression or anxiety.  While expressing these emotions to others may be difficult you can try and write them down or journal them.  Psychologist Susan David discusses how writing down her emotions led her to understand just how important it is to be honest and true to ourselves about what we are really feeling, even if it is not positive.

Check out her work on emotional rigidity in this Ted Talk.

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