Unpacking Our Minds

​How many times have we felt bad because…
… we got angry?
… had a negative thought?
… Or couldn’t seem to find the good in a bad day?

God knows I have!!
I’ve read countless books, listened to talks, meditated, and tried to pray away any of my negative feelings or thoughts. Ultimately stuffing them and trying to replace them with something more positive in hopes that they’d just disappear.

Sadly, stuffing them and replacing them with a positive affirmation or a mantra hasn’t always worked for me. Instead, all I did was perpetuate the feelings and add a side of “what the hell is wrong with me?” to the mix.

“It’s working for others. Why not me?”
“Loads of people have written books on the power of positive thinking. Surely there must be some secret that I’m missing.”
 As a big self-help junkie and one who believes that I can rewire my brain, there IS/WAS one thing missing! I NEVER gave myself the permission to feel my feelings through. NEVER.
I fell prey to the good intentioned messages like,
“Thoughts become things.”
“If you have a negative thought you’re going to attract more negatives.”
“Focus more on the positives and less on the negatives.”
“Always come from a place of gratitude. Gratitude brings more of the same.”
And while there’s nothing wrong with those messages, what’s wrong is dismissing the fact that as human beings we are bound to have negative thoughts and feelings.

I think Rumi said it best…

​In order to deal with those negative thoughts and feelings we have to be courageous enough to dance with them or as Rumi said, “invite them in.”
What if those negative thoughts and feelings hold a valuable lesson?
What if they were meant to help us to move forward?
Here’s what I’ve come to know about my own feelings and negative thoughts…

  • stuffing them only keeps them alive inside of me, which is total drain,
  • my thoughts and feelings do not become things unless I act on them,
  • the longer I have the thoughts and feelings, the more impact they have on how I see things, and
  • pushing them away, stuffing them, or replacing them with a positive thought is not going to eradicate them for good.

So rather than stuff and replace, I’ve committed to getting to the root of the negative thoughts and feelings. Because here’s the scoop, anytime we get to the source of anything, we find ways to deal with it once and for all rather than repeatedly putting a band-aid on the symptoms it causes.
 What’s driving the negative thought or feeling?
Where does it come from?
What is it trying to tell me?
“What’s the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
What need do I have right now?

  1. Get a shit journal. I’m not kidding. I love mine. This is where I dump all my negatives. I NEVER re-read it. Once I’ve used up all the pages, I throw it away.
  2. Talk it out. Sometimes just sharing with someone who cares can help to remove the thoughts and feelings.
  3. Write a letter and burn it. Similar to the shit journal get your thoughts out and then burn them. There’s something really cathartic about burning the thoughts and feelings to ashes.
  4. Exercise. When I’m angry I will go lift weights. This is a great release.
  5. Throw a damn good pity party of 1. Yep, you read that right. Invite yourself and only yourself to this party. Give yourself a time limit (i.e. from 2pm — 4pm) and spend your time crying, screaming, journaling, etc.
  6. Seek out a professional. Sometimes there are some feelings and thoughts that we can’t resolve on our own. Sometimes we just need a professional’s assistance. For example, there was a time after my son was born where I felt deeply depressed and riddled with anxiety. I sought out professional help and I’m really glad I did. There’s nothing wrong with getting professional help when it’s needed. The bottom line; none of us ever has to feel things or go through things alone. There are always resources available.
  7. Read “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” By Karol Truman.

Just remember, we are so much stronger than our own feelings and thoughts. So much stronger!!
As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, insights and questions.
Until we connect again, I’m sending you much love and light…

Originally published at www.whatswithinu.com.

Originally published at medium.com