21 Nov Let’s Stop Being Negative About Our Negativity
There isn’t any such thing as a negative emotion.
There are negative things that we DO with our emotions, but our emotions themselves are neither negative nor positive. They simply are.
Consider anger. If it is free of aggression, blaming and shaming it is clean anger. But once we put a mean-spirited spin on it, it becomes hostility or hatred. So hatred is something that we do with emotion. It means we have handled our anger negatively.
Being negative about our negativity fragments us, stranding us from our unresolved wounds. Hurt, rage, grief, shame, fear, terror, loneliness, despair, and so on – all of these tend to get lumped together as “negativity.”
It’s as if we have abandoned the child in us, fleeing that little one’s pain, helplessness, and longing for safety and love in the name of a supposedly more mature approach.
But all we’ve really done is escape from the very pain that, if fully felt and skillfully approached, would free us to live more deeply and more fully.
Our lack of intimacy with our anger, fear, shame, doubt, terror, loneliness, grief, and other painful states keeps our experience superficial, emotionally anemic, and addicted to whatever helps numb us to our negativity.
Some of us may flip to the other extreme and act out our painful emotions, expressing them irresponsibly, thereby giving a bad name to such feelings when in reality the real problem lies with our indulgence in their unskillful expression.
The real concern isn’t whether or not to express our “negative” feelings but how we choose to express them.
Beyond the polarities of holding our emotions in or directly expressing them is the possibility of a truly healthy capacity for both containment and release that is infused with compassion, clarity and vitality.
So turn toward your negativity.
Stop pathologizing it, stop relegating it to a lower status, stop keeping it in the dark.
Go to it, open its doors and windows, take it by the hand.
Meet its gaze.
Feel its woundedness, feel into it, feel for it, feel it without any buffers.
Soon you will start to sense that its gaze is none other than your own, perhaps from an earlier time, but yours nonetheless, containing so much of you.
Humanize it fully.
Keep something in the dark long enough and it will probably behave badly.
Turn on the lights, slowly but surely.
Your simple presence is enough.
Let your heart soften.
Breathe a little more deeply, bringing what you call your negativity closer to you, opening at a fitting pace.
Let it shift, however slowly, from a distant foreign object to a reclaimed part of your being.
Let its pain and longing break your heart.
Your ambition to transcend your negativity is now all but gone, as you realize right to your core that your true work is to reclaim and reembody it.
You are with yourself more deeply, your initial aversion all but gone.
And now hold what you previously termed your negativity in the way that loving parents hold their distressed child, bringing it into your heart, feeling a rising desire and power to protect that little one.
No negativity now.
Just love, ease, recognition, presence, effortless wholeness.
This is life in the raw, too real to be reduced to positive and negative, too alive to be shut down.
Source: Spiritual Bypassing by Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.