Why we Need to Learn to Feel Negative Emotions without Getting Sucked into Them

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I woke up this morning feeling like I was in a funk. I wasn’t in a bad mood exactly, I just felt off. Part way through my walk, though, I realized something had shifted. I felt amazing—even, like this was going to be one of the best days I’ve ever had. ⠀

When I first started practicing mindfulness—and honestly, even several years into it—I thought that when I was in a bad mood I just had to deal with it. Everyone in mindfulness seemed to talk about moving into the negative, allowing for bad feelings, and not fighting any of it. And, I thought this meant simply having to deal with the fact that if I was cranky, I’d just have to be cranky for the rest of the day.⠀

But that’s not mindfulness and it’s not mindful living. Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, and allowing for whatever is happening to happen, without wishing, or willing, or trying to force it to be anything other than what it is. And so, yes, this does mean allowing ourselves to feel negative emotions.⠀

But it’s also staying open for the inevitable shift. Emotions are fluid and they fluctuate, and we have to allow for that. Staying stuck in the negative is just another attachment; it’s just another form of bondage. It’s just another limitation.⠀

We can accept that we’re feeling a negative emotion, but know that we want to feel better. We can know that we want to feel better, while allowing ourselves to accept how we feel, right now, in this moment. ⠀

We can accept how we feel in this moment, while also knowing that we’re going to do whatever it takes to feel better. Because we want to feel better, and it’s okay to acknowledge that.⠀

And, we can do what it takes to feel better, while allowing for the process of whatever we’re experiencing to play out—and even, seeing what we can learn from it. Because there’s always something we can learn.⠀

To live our most fulfilling lives, we have to allow for all of our experiences. Some feel good and some feel bad. Some are wanted and some we’d rather not have to deal with. ⠀

But when we can allow for it all—without attaching to, or resisting, any of it—somehow everything about the way we experience life opens up. For the better.