How Do I Get Rid of Difficult Emotions?
Dad would often speak of acceptance. I believe it was one of his favorite words. Others included "grateful," "love," "family," and "absolutely."
Dad was a wise man.
Accepting our difficult emotions is a sign of strength. When we fight against our emotions or try to push them down, they can’t be healed – at least not nearly as easily – and often can become more intense, causing us even more pain.
Just as human beings have a basic need to feel heard and acknowledged, it’s only when our fears or our pain are seen and gracefully accepted without judgment that they can be transmuted.
When we make this a habit – when we regularly bring what we’re feeling into the present moment – we develop a more keen awareness of what’s going on around us and what we need, which in turn helps us to maintain our emotional wellbeing.
Unfortunately, society has falsely led us to believe that certain negative emotions are abnormal and that admitting our vulnerability is a weakness and could be devastating to how others see us. Therefore, many of us try to squelch what we’re feeling inside, thinking it’s taboo, which, as I stated, does more harm than good.
Thankfully, our Western culture is starting to catch up when it comes to acknowledging and healing our internal wounds, and accepting and incorporating the tried and true ancient practice of mindfulness as a form of healing.
I’d like to share with you one such mindfulness practice that will help you learn to acknowledge and accept your thoughts, without trying to push them away, so you can start living your life with more emotional freedom.
- Find a place where you can become still and quiet.
- Set a gentle timer for 10-15 minutes. You may even want to play a nice soothing instrumental track that you enjoy.
- Start by taking three slow, deep breaths - in and out.
- Now, just breathe freely and naturally, not trying to force anything.
- Notice where you most strongly feel your breath. For example, it could be the area of your nostrils, your chest, or your abdomen.
- Focus there as you continue to breathe in and out, accepting the breath just as it is, not trying to control it in any way.
- As thoughts arise - and they will - acknowledge what’s there without judgment. Accept the thought as it comes, and then gracefully release it, letting it float by like a cloud in the sky.
- Return your attention to the breath, and continue to follow it as it flows in and out, in and out.
This is a great introduction to the practice of mindfulness.
See if you can do this for 10-15 minutes a day for a while. Better yet, put it in your schedule for the next 30 days. Even just 5 minutes a day would be beneficial.
When we bring things out of the dark and into the light, offer them our acceptance, and even our gratitude for trying to keep us safe, we’re giving them the space they need to be released.
With a regular practice of mindfulness, you’ll be building your acceptance muscle, and your ability to acknowledge and release thoughts without judgment will eventually become the norm, paving the way for a clearer mind and increased emotional wellbeing.