You have no items in your cart.
Positive Mindset Pt. 4: Turn that Frown Upside Down
Or, Polly Anna has just left the building.
In their book, How We Choose to Be Happy, Rick Foster and Greg Hicks point out that truly happy people deal with their sorrows by choosing to feel their feelings and somehow finding meaning in the situation. In essence, we can use our circumstances to deepen our understanding of the human experience and life.
Peacefulness and Fulfillment is not about things always going smoothly, but about learning to be with things as they really are. In learning to be spacious and opening our hearts to everything, including the difficulties, joy will naturally arise. Beneath the pain and confusion lie the wisdom, compassion and happiness that can hold it. And what’s more, we don’t have to hurry our process along, as this only locks the pain in more.
Emotions are a powerful vehicle for transformation
It is NOT the societal norm to feel our emotions. In fact, we are socialized from early on to distrust our feelings and feel ashamed of them. Men are conditioned to deny their emotions, while women are encouraged to tune into others’ emotions while selflessly ignoring their own. Many people “stuff” their emotions rather than feeling them, thinking that if they felt them, they’d be swallowed whole. In lieu of feeling our emotions, we tend to:
- Bottle up or suppress them.
- Numb our pain with drugs, food, alcohol or shopping instead.
This destructive behavior eventually catches up and can lead to depression, anxiety and even debilitating panic attacks. At some point, we need to realize that THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH. As you begin to realize that your emotions won’t sweep you away, you’ll understand that your emotions teach you useful things about yourself. Is it any wonder that our relationships struggle when we have no idea how to handle emotions.
It’s liberating to realize that, amidst the pain, so-called negative emotions and the events that trigger them also carry profound information for us. By taking time to acknowledge and feel them, we are able to process the lessons they have for us and emerge to a place of unimagined joy and aliveness.
So how can you express your emotions without seeming like a reality show participant?
One method is to bring mindfulness to directly experience our actual feelings just as they are. The key is to not get lost in the story of the situation. Whatever it is—sadness, anger, frustration or fear—go directly into feeling either the bodily experience or energy of the emotion.
A second method is to mine your emotions for your NEEDS, since they are intimately related. Everything we say or do is an attempt to meet our needs but too often we ignore how we feel or we want to change how we feel, without recognizing the need that is not being met underneath our feelings. When you feel a particular emotion, take a conscious moment to explore your underlying needs so you can develop a clear sense of what matters. When you understand what’s motivating you, you can get those needs fulfilled more deeply. When you take time to acknowledge the beauty of your emotions, you’ll be much more able to translate your feelings and judgments into unmet needs.
In learning to face our pain we deepen our compassion. We also often find a courage and inner strength we didn’t know we had. Look back on your own encounters with suffering. Take a moment to reflect on how have they helped deepen your compassion? How have they stretched you in ways that have helped you access strength and wisdom you didn’t realize you had?
To fully transform your negative emotions and develop an authentic optimistic mindset, so you can attract (and KEEP!) an exceptional long-term relationship, I’m dedicating a workshop on this topic as part of my Empowered Dating Basic Training Camp. When we mine our experiences for the hidden wisdom, we’re much more likely to get our deepest needs and requirements in a relationship met.
In the meantime, there are a few things that you can start doing immediately that will help you to harness the awesome power of your emotions and the events that trigger them:
First, resolve that no matter what happens, you will not allow it to keep you down. You will respond with a constructive attitude. You will take a deep breath, relax and look for whatever good the situation may contain.
Second, remember that it is impossible to learn and grow without adversity and difficulties. Welcome each difficulty and then look into the situation to find the good in it.
Third, start moving forward in life by keeping your thoughts on your goals, dreams, and on the person you are working toward becoming. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, “I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life.” View a disappointment as an opportunity to grow stronger, and about it to yourself and others in a positive and optimistic way.
Fourth, learn from your mistakes and take ownership of your choices and their consequences. This is an essential skill that enables you to move forward, stay positive, and develop the resilience to be a Master of change – The Architect or Chooser — rather than a victim.
And remember, life is full of challenges, difficulties and temporary setbacks – they are all part of natural cycles. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. By learning how to manage stress and skillfully respond to each challenge, you’ll grow as a person and start moving forward in life. In fact, without setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qualities of your character to where they are today.
To learn more about my unique, comprehensive and breakthrough Empowered Dating Basic Training program – to discover how to live life at “11” in order to attract superlative relationships – click here.