It’s natural to have negative and unpleasant thoughts, feelings and emotions stewing within us whatever the source might be. And on many occasions, because we don’t know how to deal with that brewing negativity, we avoid it altogether and simply try to escape by focusing our attention on other things such as doing laundry, washing dishes, watching a movie or TV show, or worst hopping onto Facebook or Instagram.
Avoidance is akin to a band-aid, it might be a temporary fix, but not a sound strategy for the long-term. It robs us of the opportunity to gain clarity and better understand the ways in which the issue at hand is bothering us, and thus learn more about ourselves. However, when we decide to pay attention to the unpleasantness and negativity within us, and just observe it without any judgments, we take big strides in the right direction.
Just do this tiny experiment. Sit with your spine erect, close your eyes, and focus on your breath going in and out. Think of something or someone that has been bothering you lately. Go inward, embrace this dissatisfaction, and then sit with the feeling in the present moment just as you might provide company to a sick friend or loved one. Just be a spectator and get familiar with this part of you. Don’t try to fix it or get rid of it. Simply cultivate awareness and self-compassion, and sit with this bothersome feeling. Every time you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to it again. After a while, you’ll notice that this feeling of dissatisfaction isn’t as unpleasant and bad as it was before.
It’s worth taking some time out and simply sitting with difficult thoughts or feelings that bother you without judging or avoiding them. As you observe your inner cosmos and cultivate mindfulness, you discover the calm within you and experience tranquility, love, and joy. You change your perception, develop better clarity of mind, and find potent solutions to the issue.
Here’s the bottom line: When something bothers you, it’s always best to sit down with it and take refuge in your inner world. As Marcus Aurelius reminded himself to find a retreat not somewhere far in nature, but in himself; for nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul.