The Power of Working Through Your Emotions

in Personal Development

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Have you ever wondered why when we feel (or may feel) good emotions like happiness, fun and joy, we have no problem jumping into the experience and going for the ride. However, when we feel (or may feel) bad emotions, we stop, retreat, hide, or distract ourselves do avoid every possibility of being taken for the ride?

I’ve been really thinking about this recently, but not in the way I typically have in the past.

You see, a few years ago I wrote a book on how we can use perceived pleasure and pain to motivate us to move in a certain direction. This was an excellent tool, especially for myself at the time as I was focused on achievement.

But nowadays, as I become aware of the fleeting excitement of chasing after ‘the next best thing’ I’ve become more interested in the idea of human connection, both with one’s self and others. In this regards, the idea of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure for motivation is actually very detrimental. What this strategy does is keeps you only experiencing some of the emotions that you have been given the opportunity to experience in life. When faced with a challenge, quickly trying to change your perspective, or distracting yourself by staying busy with other things, may seemingly move your forward on the surface, but in fact just keeps you experiencing the same patterns of negative emotions (that you never took the time to deal with) in other forms of future experiences.

For example, if you ‘lose’ someone from your life, either though physical death or a change in relationship alignment, it might be tempting to quickly move past the negative emotions associated with the experience by trying to find someone/something else to fill their place or change your perspective asap so you can se the whole situation in a positive light. While you might feel ‘better’, faster, you are also not giving those negative emotions the proper attention or outlet to fully manifest themselves out of you. This will lead to a suppression of those emotions, which will then manifest themselves in similar future experience or potentially even personal disease (dis-ease).

In other words, if you want to to create more positive patterns of experience, you need to work through your negative emotions just as you would easily and mindlessly follow the positive ones.

At this point, you’re probably wondering – “How?”

It’s a tough question that I too am still exploring the answer too. However, here is an interesting process I’ve started to become aware of…

1) Avoidance – The first thing you want to become aware of in order to work through negative emotions is to notice yourself resisting them from being present (i.e. the unwillingness in letting the emotions take root as an acceptable conscious experience). This can come in many forms, some of the most notable being — an ego-driven urge to find more positive things to stay focused on; the relentless will to change your perspective on the situation so you no longer trigger the negative emotions; a subconscious belief that you need to ‘keep it together’ and not let out the emotions that are furiously raging their way through you.



2) Acceptance – At some point, often times when you are unable to distract yourself or suppress the feeling any longer, you come to accept that they are there. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to not wait for the tipping point. As soon as you notice yourself avoiding the negative emotions (stage 1), consciously choose to move through this process instead of waiting for the universe to lay the smack down on you. Just say to yourself simple statements that acknowledge the emotion as a present-moment experience. You could say “I’m sad, and it sucks.” Or “I really don’t like what’s happening to me and I have no idea how to change it.” In other words, you are basically just ‘calling it as it is’. You stop trying to bluff yourself out of it and just accept that the negative emotions are there and won’t go away until you consciously deal with them.



3) Expression – This is the stage is where the magic takes place! The conscious expression of a negative emotion acts as an outlet for it to leave your reality through tangible experience of that emotion. When we don’t do this consciously, what happens is we keep suppressing the emotion until it eventually overflows within us and unconsciously is spewed out, often hurting others around us (think of a cup that can only hold so much water before it start to overflow over the edges).

Expression comes in many forms, and we all have our own ways of doing it. I would love for anyone who has a great method of expression to share it in the comments section below. For myself, here are some of the methods I’ve found to be very beneficial for me…

*The biggest thing to keep in mind at this stage is to GET IT OUT!!! Don’t let the emotion stay hidden within you. Bring light to the darkness. At the same time, be considerate as possible of others. Remember that they may not see the full picture you have built and it may take time for them to do so.


4) Action – Once you’ve found ‘relief’ from the negative emotion, now it’s time to take action on the interests and excitement you exposed in the process. I’ve found that every time I’ve worked through a negative emotion, a positive emotion channels through me that I easily and organically express. What’s cool is that if you follow this process, you usually don’t have to ‘force’ yourself to take action on things that change your perspective. Your perspective will naturally change since there is no longer a pull from the negative emotion, which has now been expressed out of you.


One final note…

The most beautiful part of this whole process of working through negative emotions is the empathy it builds. When you know struggle for yourself, you can relate to others who are also struggling. However, if you’ve always avoided it, you can’t properly relate to someone who is no longer able to avoid it. Through empathy is where we find our value, since when we can help people at their core, they are able to become better because of very existence.



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