Stuck in a negative emotion? Do you find yourself always reverting to anger or guilt?
The full range of emotions are available to us and are healthy to experience. They are meant to be an experience that directly correlates to the experience at hand. However, in so many cases, we latch on to an emotion and generalize it across our lives.
There is a technique that works very well when you recognize that you are experiencing a pattern of negative emotions and responses. While you are meditating or writing in your journal, step through this protocol and see what shifts for you:
- Contemplate a negative feeling that you have – sadness, anger, frustration, stress, or such. Just pick one to work with.
- Explore what is really happening behind that emotion – feeling abandoned, dismissed, unimportant, unworthy, disrespected, and so forth. You can ask yourself, “If I took away the feeling of _________, what deeper feeling would be there?”
- Ask yourself when was the earliest time that you remember having that deeper feeling (#2). What age were you?
- Imagine asking that younger you what they needed at that time – perhaps support, being heard, being considered, receiving love, etc.
- Imagine fulfilling that need for the younger you, along with any wisdom that you could share around that situation or event. You can imagine hugging them, explaining things to them, and helping them to understand and cope in a better way.
- The Key: Acknowledge the younger you, and then explore all the ways in which that situation or event strengthened resources within you that have been useful, perhaps vital, in your adult life – such as self-sufficiency, compassion, heightened intuition, etc.
- Share appreciation and gratitude with that younger you for the gift of that resource or wisdom that he or she brought into your life.
- Notice how you each feel now (you and the younger you).
My clients have shared with me their awakening feelings of gratitude for the events and situations that previously seemed so negative and debilitating. They have experienced a realization that the challenges that are placed on our path can stop us in our tracks or they can make us stronger.
Each of us comes to a choice point on our path on a regular basis. Will you choose to perpetuate old patterns and reactions that continually prove to be counterproductive to your life goals, or will you choose to boldly step out of that pattern and respond differently this time?