Do You Give Yourself Permission to Feel Negative Emotions?
Negative emotions can be pretty scary. Nobody wants to feel sad, confused, stressed, overwhelmed or isolated. So we often try and suppress or ignore these emotions. We may try and drown away our emotions with alcohol, smoking, eating, shopping or doing something else that gives us some short term pleasure, or we may just pretend that we don't feel the way that we do. The trouble with trying to suppress our emotions through drinking/eating/shopping etc. is that after we have finished drinking/eating/shopping our negative emotions are often still there and sometimes they can even feel more intense due to the guilt (and hangover) that often comes with eating/drinking/shopping when you don't really want to. The difficulty with just ignoring our emotions is that a time will come when eventually we will need a release for how we are feeling and this is where people often experience sudden emotional outbursts such as crying out of nowhere or getting angry or irritated by something small.
So it is actually very important that we allow ourselves to feel and to move through our negative emotions. However, very few of us check in with how we are feeling day-to-day. We may just go about our day living our lives and getting on with things, without really noticing how we are feeling. Here are some questions daily that you can ask yourself to check in with your emotional state:
How am I feeling today?
What emotions are surfacing? (it can help to look up an emotions wheel to give you lots of words to describe how you are feeling)
What am I thinking about or focusing on that is making me feel this way?
It is so helpful to realise that is is perfectly normal and okay to not feel okay sometimes. In fact it is an inevitable part of being human. There can be a lot of pressure to "put a brave face on things" and to "be positive" or "be grateful" all of the time and whilst these things can be helpful, they are unhelpful if they mean that you are just ignoring or suppressing how you feel. We will all feel down, all go through difficult circumstances sometimes and therefore we will all have moments where we experience negative emotions. However, if we just try and ignore them or make them go away through alcohol or food, we can just end up feeling worse long-term.
So here are some affirmations that you can say to yourself on those difficult days as you experience those negative emotions, to help you to sit with and then move through the emotions rather than ignore or suppress them:
- I am allowed to have bad days.
- I respond to my emotions with kindness and self love.
- I am stronger than I think.
- I am not alone, even if I feel like I am.
- I am a beautiful person inside and out.
- I respect myself.
- It is okay not to be okay - I don't have to pretend that I am okay when I am not...