Emotional Awareness Mindfulness

There are No “Bad” Emotions

Running from Uncomfortable Emotions is Not the Answer

Have you ever found yourself running from sadness, in frantic search of some happy? 

I know have. 

For example, the past week has felt like a real emotional drag

The sky’s cloak of gray fog has been an external testament to the emotional “meh” I’ve been feeling inside. 

I found myself feeling anxious: my mind earnestly seeking, yearning, and grasping for a more “pleasant” emotional state.

I desperately wanted out from my grief. I wanted nothing to do with it.

In fact, I kinda even resented it. 

Because this whole grief and sadness thing feels so depressing, uncomfortable, and messy.

And maaaaaaaan, do I much prefer joy-filled, pleasant “emotional order.”

But in the quiet of this morning with my coffee as my only distraction, I realized: 

What I actually needed was to create space for sadness. 

You see, I had been experiencing grief. But I hadn’t even realized it.

My mind had been subconsciously suppressed it, believing it was protecting me from pain and suffering.

But when I noticed myself feeling that familiar “can’t quite put my finger on what I’m feeling” emotional numbness, I realized it was time to push pause and get silent.

I needed to create some space to feel what I was really feeling.

My mind thought it was best to numb out the uncomfortable emotions bubbling below the surface: but my heart and soul knew better.

I knew what I needed was to get quiet and create space to hear from God and allow Him to help uncover what was truly going on inside.

So, I grabbed a warm cup of coffee, plopped my butt on the couch, and gazed out the window in contemplative thought and prayer.

I allowed myself to slow down, get still, and sit in silence.

That’s when sadness showed up.

Our Emotions are There To Help Us

Sadness is one of those emotions that feels incredibly uncomfortable for me.

But as I sat there on the couch with my grief that day, I was reminded that sadness, just like happy (or any other emotion), is there to help me.

No matter how uncomfortable an emotion may be, it’s there for a reason.

Sadness, just like all other emotions, deserves its voice to be heard. 

Even if it feels uncomfortable. Even if I think I won’t like what it has to say.

Remembering this to be true, I made space for sadness.

Despite my reluctancy to do so, I offered up an invitation for sadness to sit with me.

“Hey there, sadness. I see you there. What’s going on?” 

Emotions Offer us Wisdom

I felt a bit squirmy. I felt a little bit like I wanted to distance myself from this undesired feeling as soon as possible.

But I leaned into the uncomfortable. And I’m so glad I did.

Because sitting with sadness allowed me to gain insight into my internal world.

  • It showed me I was hurting
  • It revealed that I was in needed of some healing
  • It compassionately reminded me that it was okay to admit “this feel really hard”
  • It helped me understand I had needs that were not being met (things I didn’t even realize were missing, until I started owning up to how I truly felt)

Sadness helped me turned inward and exposed what I truly needed.

What I didn’t need was to busy myself with tasks (hoping to drown away the pain and wait it out until I found my way back to happy). 

What I did need was some extra tender-loving care. I needed some extra time in self-reflection and prayer with God. Some space to journal about my hurts and release my tears. 

Sitting with sadness initially felt uncomfortable; but ultimately it felt like sweet release, compassion, and freedom.

  • It pulled me out of the emotional void of “numbness.” It helped me name what was really going on, which tamed the uneasiness that was stealing my peace.
  • It reminded me it was only there to help me. The more I learn to listen to my emotions, the less they will need to kick and scream to get my attention.
  • It showed me it had wisdom to impart to help heal my hurts and expose my needs. It wasn’t there to stay forever: once it did its job, it would ride on through.

Lean into the Discomfort

Sometimes every fiber in our beings resist feeling those uncomfortable emotions like sadness. 

  • We may feel tempted to just “fix it already and move onto happy.”
  • We may feel like the best option is to distance ourselves from pain and avoid suffering at any cost. 

But here’s the truth, Friend

All of our emotions are there to help us. Even those uncomfortable emotions that make us squirm.

We may label some feelings as “bad” and others as “good.” But every feeling has something beneficial to offer us.

  • They offer us information and insight into what we need.
  • They help us take a look at what’s really going on in our internal worlds (the “real” stuff – the stuff often buried deep down inside.)

Yes, it may feel uncomfortable at times to sit with our emotions.

But, they are not there to cause us unnecessary agony.

They are there to help heal us from our past wounds, let go of what’s not serving us, and grow into stronger (more fully alive) human beings.

So, make space to feel whatever it is you’re feeling today, Friend.

Yes, even if it feels uncomfortable. 

  • Push pause on the day’s tasks for a bit.
  • Slow down and get silent.
  • Invite God into your world.
  • Allow your feelings space to flow freely.
  • And then listen. 

Listen to what your emotions are trying to tell you, Friend. 

Receive the wisdom God has to offer you through your emotions (the past hurts that need healing, the needs that are currently unmet, etc.).

Remember: our emotions are there to take care of us, Friend.

Let’s get in the habit of allowing our feelings to sit with us. And receive the gift of wisdom they have to offer us.

Take it Deeper: Personal Reflection

Let’s take a few moments to get silent before God to do some personal self-reflection.

Find a comfortable spot to sit down. Settle in and when you’re ready, take 5 deep breathes (count to 4 breathing deeply through your nose to fill your belly, then exhale through your mouth).

With your eyes closed, spend some time in meditation with God, thinking on the following:

Question 1: What emotions have I been labeling as “bad”? What feelings do I tend to try to numb or avoid?

Question 2: How do I want to respond next time I’m confronted with an uncomfortable emotion? How can I help myself remember to bring God into that moment when I feel like running or hiding from my “real”?

Question 3: How do I feel right now? Where do these emotions show up in my body? What thoughts are tied to these feelings?

Feel your emotions in your body, bring awareness to your thoughts.

Then release them over to God, thanking Him for always being there when you need Him and allowing you to be completely honest with Him.

Rejoice: for He understand you completely and knows exactly what you’re going through.

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