Listening to Adele’s new album. I just love how open she is to being vulnerable, and expressing her low emotions with the world. It made me think, how important it is to feel all emotions, and embrace them all. We are humans. We will feel all sorts of emotions in this rollercoaster we call life. Just remember if you distance yourself from feeling the uncomfortable emotions. You will also numb the feelings of the comfortable and more enjoyable emotions. No emotion is bad, or should be suppressed. Emotions tell us something about ourselves, our thoughts, and our world view. We can choose to use it against us, or use it as fuel to better ourselves. You are not horrible for feeling difficult emotions. This is all part of being a human, unless you are a Psychopath, and not sure you want that. Embrace, accept, and learn.
I wanted to create a new series of posts discussing different difficult emotions. I think it is important to understand our emotions, especially difficult ones, so that we can better cope with them. The first emotion I will discuss is guilt.
What is guilt:
Guilt can be described as a conflict between the id, ego, and superego. These are concepts from the father of psychology Sigmund Freud. Freud describes the superego as the highly moral part of our subconscious. It is the part of us that fights against injustice and points out wrongs in others. The alter to this persona is the id or the primitive, unrestrained parts of our subconscious. Freud believed that the superego and the id are mediated by the ego, which represents a struggle for mental balance between these polar opposites. The conflict between the superego and the ego could also be associated with our guilt, or the conflicted feelings about one’s actions. Whether real or imagined, guilt is actually a feeling of responsibility or remorse for an offense or crime(study.com).
Why do we feel guilt:
We feel guilt when our actions don’t align with our values and morals. We feel guilt when we believe we are letting someone down, or hurting their feelings. We feel guilt when we react harshly to others, saying things we didn’t mean to say, or doing things that can be hurtful. We feel guilt when we hurt others. We feel guilt when we act out of character. Guilt can also be prevalent in empaths who chose others happiness over their own. They feel guilt, because they couldn’t make the other person happy. Guilt is an emotion, like all, that must be felt. You can’t eliminate guilt. We are sentient beings, but learning to limit the affect it has on you can be done.
What can we learn:
There is nothing wrong with you for feeling guilt. You are not a bad person for feeling guilt. If anything, it shows you are a caring individual. Guilt can be helpful, it shows us what we value and care about. It tells us when we are out of character. It allows us to learn from our mistakes. It helps strengthen relationships, and teaches us to be a better person. It shows we respect others, and shows we value others emotions and opinions.
Although, it can be helpful. There are times it can be unhelpful. When you attach negative thoughts to the emotion, and beat yourself down for feeling guilt. Sometimes we will hurt others for our own well-being, happiness, and stability. If someone gets hurt, it is there responsibility to cope with those feelings, not you. Everyone is responsible for their own feelings. There are boundaries that you as an individual should set. You will not like someone as much as they like you. There will be times when you don’t want to spend time with someone, even if they want to. Putting your priorities over others doesn’t make you a bad person. It cultivates mental stability and well-being. Now you shouldn’t intentionally hurt others, step all over people, and bring them down, but you shouldn’t do that to yourself for others as well.
Your mental health and happiness comes first. To help others, you got to help yourself first. You have to say no sometimes. You won’t always live up to the standards of others. You won’t want what others want. You will let others down, and others will let you down. That is what we call life. Learn to use guilt as a guide, or a lesson, rather than using it beat you down. There is no avoiding guilt, or any difficult emotion, so using it as a learning tool can put you in a better place. Emotions are guides, use them to your benefit when they arise. Remember, what can you learn from this emotion and go from there.
I write this, because recently I was feeling lonely. I get this way from time to time, so i decided to get away from my screen, and just sit with the emotion. I sat on my bed, took deep breaths, took in the scenery of my outside window and plants. I decided to write my thoughts, did a word search, and just sat with the emotion. I tried not to judge it, to resist it, or create negative stories about the emotion. I reminded myself, like every emotion, this will pass. I can say, in about 10 minutes the feeling was gone.
I didn’t allow myself to wallow in it, to become a victim of it. I just let it be. Emotions come and go. We have this thought that it will last, which creates resistance, but emotions never last. Remind yourself that it will pass. Just allow yourself to feel. Giving yourself the time to sit with it, and accept it, allows one to move forward much sooner. We are sentient beings. Give yourself the freedom and space to feel. Difficult emotions are apart of being alive.
I am writing this post, because I recently talked to a friend who is dealing with the loss of her grandfather. There were laughs, crying, happiness, joy and sadness. Also, feelings of guilt and sorrow. With many questions. This is quite normal when dealing with grief. Emotions are all over the place, and that is perfectly fine.
I was happy to be there for her to vent, and to talk about her grandfather. She had lovely stories to tell. All of these things that happened are totally normal for grief. There will be ups and down, even in a span of 30 minutes. You will not get over it quickly. You will struggle to come to terms with the loss. There will be questions about death. These are ways we cope.
We try to suppress our sadness, the tears, anger, guilt, frustrations, but we have to remember it is part of the process of healing. We want to get over it, but it just isn’t possible. You may even start putting blame on yourself for having these feelings, or putting blame on yourself for not doing too much, or being there enough for your loved one that has passed. This is quite normal, but we must be reminded, during this fragile time to be kind to ourselves, and remember that we are not perfect, and that you most likely did all you can do.
It will take time to recover. In the meantime, allow your emotions to flow through you. It may be hard at times, but it can be really helpful to just let go. Try not to be ashamed of crying. It is your body’s way of letting your sorrows out. It is better to let it out, than to suppress it.
We all grieve in different ways. At a different pace. So cry, some don’t. Some talk, some are silent. Some lash out, some stay calm. Some prefer to be around others, some prefer solitude. There is no wrong or right way to grieve, unless it purposely causes harm to others, others than that grieve how you want. Death is the most difficult thing to cope with in life. It is one of life’s biggest struggles.
The journey to recovery can take time, especially if it was someone close to you. Also, if there is someone close to you who lost someone, please try to take time to be there for them, and check on them. Giving them a space to talk and vent is important. All you have to do is listen and be empathetic.
I also recommend during the grieving process to be creative and productive. Try some meditation, exercise, journal, and read as well. Most importantly, keep your distance from social media as that can hinder your healing process. There will be times when you just want to lay down and do nothing, that is perfectly fine. You’ll need that mental and physical break.
Another thing I like to mention is, I preach living in the moment, but I found the importance of pictures, while visiting my friend. She had many photos of her grandfather. It was nice to see, and it is nice to look back on them. I get being in the moment, but memories fade, and pictures can be helpful in keeping memories alive. It made me realize I should take more pictures.
We will not always feel positive emotions. Feelings of happiness, joyfulness, productivity, energy, creativity, inspiration are great, but you will not always have these feelings. You will feel unmotivated, lethargic, uncreative, sad, melancholic, unproductive etc,. We don’t enjoy these feelings so much. We should learn to embrace all the emotions that arise in us. They are part of us. They are part of living. We should remember to be kind to ourselves when we feel this way. You shouldn’t feel guilt or shame for having these very normal feelings.Try not to force yourself out of these emotions. It just ends up making you feel worse. Try to let the emotions ride through. They are there for a reason. We shouldn’t deny what is there. Take it in and learn from it.
Right now my creativity and motivation is at a low. My mind must be exhausted from all the creative energy I had a couple weeks ago. My mind needs rest. I accept my emotions for what it is right now. Now I still push myself to do some things, nothing too much, but something small, so that I don’t feel useless or lazy. Even during these times, it is important to still work on your well-being. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, small things are better than nothing. During these times I still try to be a bit productive for the well being of my mind and body. I just try not to push myself too hard. It is okay to rest and relax. Creativity and motivation come and go. All emotions come and go. Awareness of that can go along way with coping with emotions that may create discomfort.
Doing some self- reflection can help you resolve your emotions. I try to journal my thoughts and feelings. It usually helps me come to an understanding, which makes it easier to accept, or maybe at the moment there isn’t an answer, and you just go with it. Answers aren’t always there. Being able to cope with all the highs and lows of your emotions can help build strength and peace of mind.
We should remind ourselves we are human. We will not always be at 100%. We will not always be productive, motivated, inspired, happy etc,. There will be times you don’t want to do anything, but do mindless things. Maybe that is your mind and body telling you to relax and calm down.You should listen to it. There is nothing wrong with some down time. This can be a problem if it is persistent, and last months, and hinders your self-growth/well-being, but every once in awhile it is totally normal to feel these emotions. We all need a break at times.
Our emotions are like waves or a rollercoaster. They go up and down, it may spins us around. They take us for a ride. We just got to remember to just flow with it. And you will be able to get through it smoothly and peacefully. Resistance, guilt, shaming are not the answers. You can always grow and learn from the lows, build from it. As I always say, enjoy the highs and embrace the lows. Take it all in. Some say, if you are not able to embrace the lows. You will not be able to appreciate the highs, and I agree. If you can’t appreciate the highs, what is life really?
How I am feeling? This is something you should try to ask yourself as often as you can. Asking this question is a great tool to become more aware and understanding of your emotions. Not being able to be mindful of your emotions can create confusion, frustration and negativity. The ability to immerse ourselves in our emotions can allow us to understand the why of the feeling. This can then help you work through and resolve the emotions, and this can allow you to move on.
We live in a society that has taught us to push away feeling that creates discomfort. That shouldn’t be the case. We should learn to embrace both types of emotions. Now emotions aren’t innately good or bad, positive or negative. We associate these good or bad qualities to these emotions with how they make us feel, it is perceived. Good/positive emotions make us feel comfortable, at ease. Bad/negative emotions gives us discomfort,they makes us feel like crap. Both emotions should be embraced by us. The emotions that we perceive as good/positive bring us peace, joy and happiness. The emotions that bring discomfort teach us lessons, challenges us, and help us evolve. Both are needed.
Emotions are part of being human. They are unavoidable. They are part of we are. This is why it is important to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. Be mindful of them and try not to push them aside. Immerse in it, understand it. Accept it part of your life. Avoiding the feeling will just exacerbate it, but actually feeling it will give it less power, and gives you the chance to resolve why you felt the way you did. Feeling it creates clarity and peace of mind.
Some ways to help you get in tune with your emotions are:
- Taking mindful breaks
- Take deep breaths when you are feeling an emotion that creates discomfort
- Daily or weekly emotion check in logs
Learning the why’s of your emotions can help you resolve the thoughts, feelings and behaviors one gets from these emotions. It allows one to cope with challenges and struggles much better. It can help you bounce back from negative emotions much faster. Emotions come and go. They are not you. They do not define you. Just ride the wave of emotions, the good, the bad, and the in between. Allow it to flow through you and keep moving forward. The only way you can do this is by understanding and accepting the emotion. If you don’t understand at the moment, that is okay, it will come eventually. So how am I feeling? Am I…
What are you feeling? There are many emotions to feel. Getting in touch with all the emotions one feels. Helps us to understand ourselves much more. Which ones do I feel more? Why do I feel this emotion? Do I feel more positive or negative ones? Why does it cause me discomfort? How can I cope? Checking in with your emotions more often can help you answer these questions and more. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. They are there to guide you, and to help you understand yourself and the world around you.
It is time to put the power back on you. He/she annoyed me. He/she upset me. He/she stressed me out. The thing we as individuals don’t realize is that others don’t cause these emotions. It is us as individuals that allow them to do so. We give others, and life situations power over our emotions.
I tend to do this as well, but I decided I will try to limit blaming others and life situations for my negative emotions. I realize they come from me. The individual is the source of letting negative emotions pervade them. I will not think,he/she made me feel any type of negative emotion, no, I allowed them to create these feelings. Doing this gives me control of my emotions.
This isn’t about blaming yourself for having these feelings. It is all a part of being human. We will all feel these type of emotions. It is about learning that you as an individual have the power, and that creates strength, confidence, and character. We give too much power to others. When you tell yourself, I allowed another individual to create this negative energy me, it gives you the opportunity to learn, grow, evolve, and work on improving how you handle the situation in the future. It is not about blaming yourself, others, or life. It is about accepting the reality of the situation, and working towards improving how you cope with negative emotions in a constructive way.
Remember, you can’t change others, or how life works. The only thing you can do is change yourself, so it is better to work on how you as an individual deals with things. We focus too much on that person, or the situation. The focus should be on ourselves.
Doing this helps me move on from the situation much more quickly and smoothly. It allows me not to hold on to resentment, or anger. I can continue to live peacefully and happily. No one needs that type of negativity in their lives. I definitely don’t. That is why I try not to give power over my emotions to others. This is something I control. This is something I can work on. I have the power. Giving yourself that power is a wonderful tool to create peace, and positivity in your life.
Remember when dealing with negative emotions, take deep breaths, try not to react, try not to place blame, just let it be, and the reality of the situation, and acceptance will shine through.