Have you ever thought a thought that made you wonder how you could ever think such a thing? That made you feel so bad by the prospect of even acknowledging it, that you thrust it away as quickly as possible?
That happened to me this summer.
I’d felt the hint of a particular thought’s presence resonate somewhere inside of my mind for several days, but I denied it. I pushed it away. I buried it.
I spent several days trying to pretend that it did not exist, because I was afraid of how it would make me feel.
Over the last few years I’ve worked to release many limiting beliefs. I’ve trained myself to recognize them, and I’ve learned how to gently force myself through the uncomfortable process of feeling them.
Because I know that to release them, I first have to feel them.
Finally, one morning this summer, I softened. I allowed myself to think the thought I’d been running from. I let it through.
And, I felt lighter. Acknowledging the thought made me feel free.
I felt free, because I no longer had to carry the heavy weight of denial.
Expressing our thoughts helps release the energy of them.
It doesn’t matter how long we do this work—this deep dive inward—we will still feel resistance. A part of us seems hell-bent on fighting the process all together, even when we know that it’s the best, most fulfilling path forward.
I think resistance is simply a part of this whole journey. In some ways, it’s inevitable.
The key, though, is to continue—to recognize our resistance, and then move through anyway.
We can do this by understanding that whatever it is that we don’t want to face will still be there whether we look at it or not.
The thoughts circulating in our minds still exist, even if we choose not to pay attention to them. They don’t disappear just because we refuse to look at them.
When we own our thoughts, especially those that feel unflattering, we become empowered—because it is only through awareness that we can take deliberate action to work with them.
We cannot change a thought or belief unless we first allow ourselves to witness it.
Uncomfortable thoughts and feelings never feel good. They always make us feel uncomfortable.
That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Once we understand the nature of our thoughts and feelings, including the fundamental notion that negative feelings will always feel negative, it becomes easier to accept the moments that they occur.
We understand that we do not have to feel afraid. We do not have to avoid them. And, in fact, we can learn a lot from them.
We can get used to working with the uncomfortable sensations of negative emotions, and as we do this, their presence feels less threatening.
It’s an energy we become familiar with feeling.
Instead of automatically, unwittingly pushing away whatever it is that is causing our discomfort, we learn how to gently encourage ourselves to move through it.
Most of us don’t want to admit to our weaknesses, insecurities, or vulnerabilities. We don’t want to admit it to ourselves, let alone anyone else. We want to believe that we are perfect, or, we at least want other people to think that we are. And we certainly never want to admit to something that might make us look bad.
But we all have our issues. We all have certain thoughts, behaviors, and tendencies that we are not proud of. We all want to learn and grow.
We can make the shifts we want to make. We can take steps to create the lives we want to live, but our actions have to come from an understanding that is grounded in awareness. Our motivations must be guided by conscious intention.
If we want to work to release negative thought patterns, we absolutely have to let ourselves think the thoughts and feel the feelings that accompany them.
We need to recognize them, admit them, and accept that we are experiencing them. We do not have to like how it feels, and we do not have to tell anyone else about it, but we do need to admit it to ourselves.
We need to bring it out into the open, because when we are aware of it, we can let it go.
It is only through attention that we can really move through it.
Our thoughts are just thoughts, and our feelings are just feelings. When we learn to detach from them—to notice them and observe them—we open up space to discover the possibilities that lie beneath them.
Negative thoughts and feelings are only frightening and overwhelming when we are unwilling to acknowledge them.
When we can allow ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling without judgement or condemnation, we open up space. We give ourselves room to process what it all means.
And this affords us the opportunity to choose how we want to react to it.
1. Do you let yourself feel negative feelings? In what ways do you resist them?
2. How do you deal with negative thoughts and feelings?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts, tips, or any questions you may have!