The menu of negative emotions does not qualify to be called creative or dynamic. Anger, sadness, self-pity, envy, hatred, malice, jealousy, anxiety, frustration, rage, hopelessness, hurt, the need to exact revenge, fear, stress, worry, discomfort; and the list goes on.
What could be termed as creative is the way these emotions creep up on us. Sometimes it will be a slow build up culminating in an outburst. Other times it will take you by surprise leaving you in confusion and disbelief. Regardless of how they come, they can be swept out of your mind, heart and life in much the same way.
There is a common joke with those who have had the misfortune of witnessing the resilience of bedbugs; anything that comes and stays despite all efforts to remove it and anything that comes back even after removal can easily be likened to a bedbug.
Negative emotions are like bedbugs in the room of your mind (yuck! Right?) and just like the nasty critters, fumigation must be done as soon as one is sighted for where there is one, there’s a whole dynasty of them just waiting to crawl out of every crevice and corner.
Beyond the Surface
Negative emotions are symptoms of a sick heart. Yep! Miss Sunshine & Rainbows may not agree with this but it is true. No emotion is random. It has a root. The emotion is the plant that has sprouted from calculated cultivation (intentionally or not).
Outbursts and depression are the fruit borne of the plant. I do not take any of these lightly and I have no intention of degrading those who struggle with any of these emotions. I would just like to share what I have learnt from my own life about them.
No emotion is randomAnon
Some negative emotions may be triggered by a change in hormones say during pregnancy and if they are not the norm, there may not be much soul searching to do (these steps would still apply, though).
Going beyond the surface means digging deeper than superficial occurrences like your husband leaving the toilet seat up or your child spilling the entire jug of juice. These may be triggers to the outburst but are not the root. It could be that you were abused when you were younger and the shame and humiliation made you hate everything that your body represents.
Maybe your spouse just doesn’t take as much effort to woo you now that you’re married and you feel abandoned. This feeling may turn into resentment that results into you nit-picking at all his/her wrongs.
What is the root of that emotion?
Of late, I have been struggling with envy that seems to have escalated into sporadic bursts of resentment, the lip-curling-in-disgust-when-you-see-the-person type of resentment. I have tried it all; avoidance, confrontation, faking it till I make it and a plethora of other things but none has worked. You are kidding yourself if you are planning to move an iceberg with a fishing rod.
The emotion goes deeper than you think or are willing to accept. As I did some soul searching, I realized the problem was that despite the fact that I could be superior to the object of my resentment, I am not because my work ethic is trash.
A dose of reality…
Now, you would think that finding this out would be a choir-singing-rainbow moment like in the movies but it wasn’t. A darkness I did not know existed settled over my heart and made the emotions more potent. No amount of trying to talk myself out of it could even come close to moving the iceberg. The realization that I was second rate did not bode well with me.
The potency of the envy made everything else go sideways. Where I had no problem sharing, it became a burden. Nothing was as it seemed and I had become a hypocrite, a fake! I had sucked people into a masquerade vortex where I was the only one wearing a mask.
Negative emotions like tag teaming to create vicious cycles that leave many feeling hopeless and helpless against the pullSheelz_musings
As this went on, I hated myself more and more creating a vicious cycle. As the hatred for self cropped up, I’d squash it with resentment for this person and rationalize away the small voice that told me it was not right. Then I would feel terrible for harboring such feelings towards someone whom I called “friend”. Great friend that I am <rolls eyes>
Anyhow, long story short, I realized that this all stemmed from an inadequacy I have been feeling because I did not have the gumption to see a commitment through. The object of my envy on the other hand did and is living the dream I have wanted to live for the past 10 years. The problem was never the other person, it was always me.
The way forward…
Now that I know this, I work at checking my emotions whenever they crop up. I have recommitted to accomplishing the thing that caused all this in the first place. And I am going to be a better friend inside and out.
What I’m trying to show you is that the negative emotion goes deeper than just what you see on the surface. Dig deep! It may take a while but the freedom will be worth it. Maybe you are like me. Perhaps that emotion you are struggling with comes from a despair you feel about your family situation.
Whatever it is, find it! Its only after you find it that you can truly begin to heal.
Just as the iceberg moves with the ocean currents towards the equator and melts, so will your negative emotions. Until you find the why, that emotion will be like an iceberg in still water; life-threatening, a real burr in your saddle.
After you have moved Beyond the Surface of the negative emotion, it is important that you start taking steps towards getting rid of it.
#1. Confront your inner demons
Yep! You heard it right! Confront them! Let those skeletons in your closet out and face them. They might be ugly and smelly but you can never clean out the closet unless you let them out.
Now, I’m not saying that when you struggle with negative emotions, you’re demon possessed. I simply wanted to use a phrase that best showed what it felt like when I did it.
If you are not certain of your mental fortitude, seek professional help. In the event that you are really self-aware and can do it on your own, go right ahead.
Think past not present. Ask yourself what trigger pattern the emotion has been following. When did it start or when did I become aware of it? To whom is it directed? Why? Am I hiding the truth of its cause behind an easy escape of blame? What role did I play in its trigger? What am I really feeling? Put a label to it; is it anger, hatred or malice? Whatever it is, face it head on.
You may be thinking that you’re too pious to have envy hiding in your heart. Cut the crap! This is for your own good. I, too am a firm believer in Jesus Christ and I am battling envy! The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:8
If claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.The Bible
How’s that for truth?
I do not mean to call any names but this is your life we are talking about here. It is difficult to move forward and live a robust life when you spend than half your energies fielding negative emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.
To be continued…
I will continue the practical steps to conquer negative emotions in the next blog posts (this one is getting a little too long). But I beg you, go beyond the surface of that emotion (whatever it may be) and find out what the root cause is, then confront your demons and take all the skeletons out of the closet…it might take the two weeks before we meet again but it will be so worth it…
Until next time,