A feeling is something you feel in response to something happening to you. The answer to your question, “can feelings be negative?” Is a resounding “NO!” Something happens and evokes a feeling within you. Subconsciously you create stories and thoughts associated with that feeling.
This starts a cycle that leads you to act in certain ways that are either positive or negative.
STOP seeing feelings as either negative / positive or good /bad. They aren’t inherently either.
I used to use all my power to avoid so-called negative feelings instead of identifying them. Once you can identify the feeling and feel it you can start to pay attention to the thoughts and stories you create in response to it.
Ask yourself “are my thoughts compelling me to act in positive or negative ways?”
When you build an awareness of the feelings you are actually encountering day to day you gain power.
This power puts you back in the driver’s seat! When you are driving a car you have control over where you take it. Choosing and creating powerful thoughts helps navigate your feelings.
This is important
The thoughts and stories you have about feelings are heavily influenced by
- Personal experience
- Individual tendencies
- Social norms
When you can see that no feeling is better or worse than another it truly frees you.
Frontiers in Psychology did a study in April 2017 called â€œThe two sides of emotion exploring positivity and negativity in six basic emotions across cultures.â€ The results support the fact that feelings arenâ€™t inherently positive or negative.
Happiness is most commonly defined as positive, good and absolutely desirable and yet if it is pursued above all else there can be negative consequences as the research suggests in the following quote –
â€œHappiness is considered a positive and desirable emotion research has revealed a darker side to happiness (according to gerber in 2011) a pursuit of happiness is not always positive and experiencing happiness is not always a good thing people who pursue happiness strongly tend to be more depressed miserable and unhappy.â€Frontiers In Psychology
That was happening to me! After having my second son I started to experience depression but avoided it at all costs. I was so obsessed with seeking after those positive emotions and happiness that I ignored and suppressed feelings that were very real.
I experienced feeling more depression, loneliness, insecurities and overall worthlessness.
All in the pursuit of only happiness.
The research also shared how a desirable or subconsciously categorized negative feeling such as anger can lead to a positive result.
A boxer may desire to feel anger, a negative emotion, in order to motivate himself to beat his opponent. So although he may be feeling a negative emotion (affective component), he thinks about it in a positive light (cognitive component).Frontiers In Psychology
That anger is going to help him win the boxing match!
Perhaps you have been told or have believed that anger is negative and will always result in negativity but it is simply not true. Negative are a result of the thoughts and stories you create around that anger.
Let’s look at guilt!
Imagine you said something super rude to someone and you feel guilt. That guilt could lead you to feel remorse, humility and then have a desire to be repentant and make things right again.
Making things right will bring joy. Dale G Renlund said â€œwhen we repent we immediately invite the savior into our lives and feel more joy.â€
The feeling of guilt can led you and I to feel joy if the thoughts and stories we create lead us there.
Are you on board with me?
Have I convinced you that feelings are not inherently positive or negative?
I thought being depressed meant I was weak and lazy. I thought I should hide it because it was unholy, bad, and ultimately would make me negative. These thoughts and stories I created lead me to withdraw from others. I would pretend I was fine, try and just figure it out on my own, compare myselfâ€¦
None of these actions took me in a positive direction. Not one of them.
Be open to all the feelings.
Feelings happen. When you feel them, identify them and then pay attention to your thoughts. If you need a little guidance on how to identify them and create thoughts check out Jessica Stories episodes 136 Feel your feelings and 138 Identify your feelings.
Answer these questions-
What feelings have you categorized as negative?
What are the thoughts you have created about those so-called negative feelings?
Pinpoint a moment you felt that feeling and then map out the thoughts you had in response and the action it led you to take.
If the thoughts were negative and led you to act negatively then create new thoughts that could lead to a different destination.