Life is full of lessons. Most of the lessons we learn in life come from experiencing a negative emotion. Think about that! Do we have any deep and meaningful lessons from experiencing fun, joy and laughter – other than “we want it to happen again and again”. Of course understanding and recreating the conditions that surrounded the joy and laughter is important, yet it is often not the most impacting event in our memories – is it? Why is it then, that experiencing negative emotions such as resentment, blame, hurt, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, revenge, all have such a strong effect on us and can teach us so much.
Emotion is Memory
We have two minds – the conscious mind is 12% of our mind and the subconscious mind is 88%. In the subconscious mind we have all our memory, habits, personality and self image. The language of the subconscious mind is emotion. The language of the conscious mind is words, sounds and pictures. It was the research scientist Rappaport who proved in 1971 that “emotion is memory”. Have you ever wondered why you can so easily recall a good event or a bad event. You can easily remember the circumstances, where you were, who else was there, you can relive hearing what was said, seeing the surroundings and you can re-experience the feeling – right through your body. The emotion, good or bad, is easily remembered – particularly the feeling you experienced.
So, once again, why are negative emotions so impacting? The answer is because they are so easily remembered and relived!
Prevent Emotional “Baggage” becoming a Habit
This emotional “baggage” can be a real curse. We can often let it hang around in our mind creating further negativity. We know that negative thoughts attract negative thoughts … and this can lead to fear and anxiety, lack of self confidence and self esteem, depression, illness, disease, and more. And … we help to create this for ourselves by hanging on to the negative thoughts. Perhaps not even the initial negative event but we have multiplied its effect in our mind and body by not using techniques to handle it, moving through it and learning from it. So then emotional negativity becomes a habit.
It is extremely important to express your feelings and talk about events. This can be done with friends or with a counsellor. Look at the consequences of internalising or pushing down negative feelings. They go to memory which is in the subconscious mind. They are permanently there because as I’ve already discussed, “Emotion is Memory”. Then what can often happen, for unexplained, or no apparent reasons, one can experience negative feelings like sadness or anger (and more) bubbling to the surface. Negative emotional feelings can become a habit (depression). With a traumatic event, if internalised, this process can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – depression, hot sweats, unexplained anger, nightmares, and irrational action can become the norm.
What can I Learn from this Event?
Here’s another trap that’s so easy to fall into. Asking the question of ourselves “Why me?” or “Why is this happening to me?” All of us are wired up the same way. When you ask yourself a question what do you get? An answer of course. Ask yourself negative questions and you get negative answers. You might as well ask yourself “Why do I deserve these things happening to me?” You can see where the answers lead … yes, to every bad thing you’ve ever done in your life, and this brings about more guilt and even more depression. We become more listless, lethargic, tired, weary, exhausted. And all of this reduces our productivity and self esteem, and once again “we’ve done it to ourselves”. We are the creators.
There is a simple answer. Become aware of your own self talk and when it’s negative, change it. So ask yourself a positive question and you’ll get a positive answer. It can be a challenge, in the middle of experiencing or re-experiencing a negative event, to think of a positive question. I’ll offer one that can be a start and you can modify it to suit you. “What is there for me to learn from experiencing …… ?” (and then you say the negative event). Do you get the idea? Do this in meditation and write down the answers as they come to mind.
Handling Grief is a Process
Often with a death in the family or of a close friend, whether it be caused naturally (including disease), by accident or by violence, we can experience many negative emotions which are all part of the grief process. Yes, regard it as a process, something that we can experience, move through and learn from.
Nearly all the emotions that have been mentioned so far can apply in a process of grief. Some of them are directed to ourselves and the person who has “passed over” and some are directed to ourselves and the perpetrator (in the case of violence and sometimes accident). Personally, it was only in meditation when the thought came to me “If you persist in thinking hateful, angry and revengeful thoughts, you’ll end up like that”, that I realised I could make myself another victim … and then I would have done this to myself. So I changed the thoughts in meditation to acceptance, co-operation, unconditional love and ultimately forgiveness. This is when I developed that sense of inner peace. It is common for people to experience denial, disbelief and loss of faith, but I find that most of us do come to terms with these experiences, so I will not dwell upon them.
Associated with the grief experienced following a death, there is often the feeling of guilt, stemming from “I haven’t said goodbye” or “The last time we spoke we had an argument” or “I never resolved that …. (fight, argument, issue, etc…)” or “What if ….” Another feeling can be loneliness which is often manifested by “hanging on” to the person who has passed over. I have learned that we can always say “Goodbye” (it is never too late) and that we can always forgive, including forgiving ourselves for unresolved issues after the death. This can be done in meditation or by prayer in any location – graveyard, church, your bedroom, your own back yard, a favourite spot … to name a few. Long ago I was advised to “Let go and Let God” and this has served me. Do I still talk about my daughters and have their pictures around? Of course – but I don’t bring them to mind and try to communicate with them – rather I send them my Love and Light for the Highest Good of all concerned.
So, learn the lessons that life has to offer through negative events by asking yourself positive questions and talk about any trauma and the resultant feelings. My advice is to learn Peaceful Place techniques and meditate, changing any negativity by using the process of acceptance, co-operation, unconditional love and forgiveness. (Try out my favourite meditation PP13 – Inner Peace and Harmony - it is online for just A$20). Remember that once you have these techniques you can more easily handle any challenge that life puts in your path – it’s like taking preventative action.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
WOW! This is the kind of emotion I like to feel ….. it overwhelms me. This was forwarded to us by one of our e-mail friends and I thought you would like it. I intend to do an E Report on positive emotion.
All the Best
Enjoy the positive story – it will take your breath away.