Many of us are regularly told to be more positive and to refrain from negativity. Whilst I totally agree that negative thoughts are damaging, I strongly believe that we shouldn’t suppress them.
A negative emotion has a purpose, especially when it keeps on coming back. It’s designed to draw your attention to a problem so you can do something about it, but you will need to identify it first and then, work out why it makes you feel this way. A good example to relate this to, would be when you are driving your car and the fuel light comes on. What it is saying to you, is that unless you put some juice in, the car will stop and come to a halt in approximately 50 miles, which is fairly straightforward. We don’t see it as something bad, just something that needs dealing with.
So you have now been to the station and your car is full. You are on your merry way somewhere and all of the sudden, the oil light comes on. At the earliest opportunity, you check the oil, and put a bit more in. A couple of weeks later, the oil light comes on again but you remember that it actually wasn’t that long ago that you had a look and topped it up. You check it again just in case and the level is ok, so all good. However, this keeps on happening randomly so after a while, you don’t really bother checking it anymore because you know it’s a quirk of the car. It’s going in the garage soon anyway so you’ll get them to have a look then. Basically, you’ve got used to it… And it is pretty much the same with negative emotions. They can become a familiar feeling that we try to push away. Wouldn’t you prefer to be able to have no warning lights coming on and interfering? How will you know if there is a genuine problem with the oil pressure before you go to the garage?
Negative emotions control some of our responses. Have you ever witnessed someone reacting way too much to something? Or are there some people that just push your buttons? The truth is, sometimes, you’re not really reacting to them but to a situation that happened long ago and that is engrained at the back of your mind. Once you deal with them, your negative emotions will not need to keep on showing up because there will be no reason for the warning light to come on. That is all they are, a warning system that lets you know something needs to be addressed and motivate you to do something about it.
Unfortunately, when these negative emotions are left unresolved, they tend to attract more of the same. Remember that the unconscious mind doesn’t deal with logic or words but feelings. When something hurts us emotionally that badly and with such vividness, your brain will remember it. As soon as something remotely similar happens (or we perceive it to), the brain will react in the way it knows best. You create adverse momentum and feed it.
Forcing yourself to be positive is not the answer, dealing with the problem is. So next time you are feeling low, ask yourself why and get to the bottom of it. Remember that there are always more ways than one to look at something so understand the negative emotion, reframe it to something that is acceptable to you and turn it into a resourceful state. We can all turn negatives into positives if we consider them from a different angle.