It’s so easy for us as human beings to make the mistake of thinking of ourselves and our emotions as bad. Emotional responses are non-rational and often the ways that we act when we experience strong emotion are not the wisest. But, there is a “secret” to handling strong emotions: Don’t fight them. Let them go.
There is no shame in being human. There is nothing wrong with having strong emotions. There is nothing wrong with you.
The thing that really trips people up is not making the distinction between feeling and behavior. Your feelings are fine. They are normal and natural. They exist for a reason. They are there to help you. They are there to support you and to enrich your life.
Your feelings are fine and you are fine.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the course of action suggested by strong emotion may not be advisable. Our instincts don’t always bring up contextually appropriate responses. There is an important difference between accepting your emotions and indulging them.
There is a Law of the Mind that we rely on a lot in meditation and hypnosis: “Where attention goes, energy flows.” What you pay attention to, you tend to reinforce. What you’re focused on tends to grow stronger. What you observe, you create. Were you feeling relaxed before I asked you to find the place in your body that’s already feeling the most relaxed or does the act of you looking for it create it? Do we create feelings with hypnosis or reinforce them? Is there a difference?
Because emotions are non-rational, and because the desires that come along with them are often counter-productive, it’s easy to judge them and judge ourselves harshly. But, this is a mistake. There is another Law of the Mind that relatively few people know: “What you resist, will persist.” (We like rhymes. They’re simple and easy to digest and remember.)
Resisting an emotional state is giving it attention. It feeds the emotion. It empowers it.
Often, the act of resisting an unwanted emotion reinforces it. Our attention and the way that we look at them holds our problems in place. Our resistance keeps us stuck.
This is a big part of why so many people have problems that they can’t seem to solve themselves. Paradoxically, the answer is often that they’re trying too hard.
You can choose to stop fighting your emotions and just let them go.
Have you ever had an emotional state last forever? It just doesn’t happen. We always calm down eventually. You will, inevitably, calm down. Returning from a state of heightened emotion to a state of calm is a process. Let it be a process. Let it take time. Let the emotion pass in time. Remember that calm is coming. It always does. Calm can’t not come. The idea that calm won’t come is ridiculous. Embrace it’s ridiculousness. Laugh at the idea that you are stuck, and you won’t be.
Laugh at the idea that you shouldn’t feel what you feel. It’s ridiculous. Laugh at it and set yourself free.
When there’s a thunder storm, does being upset by it change it? Of course not. Can wanting the storm pass make it pass? Can you really and truly fight it? Of course not. Storms pass when they pass. We are at peace with the storms when we stop fighting them and just allow them to be and allow them to pass. The storm doesn’t need your permission to pass, it just is; but, if you give it your permission, you’ll feel better. It will pass in time regardless of your permission, regardless of your attitude, regardless of your feelings. Why hold on to attitudes which aren’t helping you? Why give your time, attention and mental energy to attitudes which don’t improve your situation?
And, with emotions, denying yourself the permission to be human, to feel emotion is giving yourself more pain; more pain which adds fuel to the emotional fires that we’d rather putting it out.
Remember that peace is coming. Let yourself anticipate that. That anticipation is like pouring water on the fire, rather than adding more fuel. Place your attention on the inevitably coming calm and it will come all the faster. Place your attention on the solution, instead of on the problem.
Here’s a great affirmation you can use: “I am aware of my feeling (name the feeling); but, even as I watch it, I know that it will pass. It is in the process of passing. I am allowing it to pass. It’s passing now. I know that simply observing and allowing is a great way to return to a state of calmness. Calmness always returns in time. I am in the process of returning to a state of calmness. I am becoming calm. Calmness is returning and I can simply allow calmness to return. I always, inevitably, return to a state of calm and I know that this is happening now.”
You can memorize this and repeat it any time you’re feeling a strong, unwanted emotion to remind yourself that the emotion is temporary and that calm and peace are returning.
Any time your unwanted emotion surges, simply repeat this affirmation to remind yourself that calm is already in the process of returning. A surge in emotion doesn’t mean that peace and calm aren’t coming; in exactly the same way that a surge in a storm doesn’t mean that it will last forever. Calm and peace can’t not come. No emotional state lasts forever.
(Note: The intention and reminder here is more important than the words. Feel free to modify and personalize the words so that they resonate more strongly with you. But, use the same words each time. Create a mental association with your affirmation and returning to a state of peace and calm. The stronger this association becomes, the faster it will work.)
Place your attention on the inevitability of peace, anticipate peace and you will find that peace comes all the more quickly.
Do NOT at any time lie to yourself when working with affirmations. You are remembering and reaffirming Truth, not lying to yourself. If strong emotion is surging, do NOT say: “I am feeling more peaceful.” You’ll know that you are lying. Say instead: “The emotion is surging, but I know that that means that my mind is processing things. Sometimes storms surge before they pass, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t passing. The surge I’m feeling doesn’t mean that the emotion isn’t passing. The emotion is passing. Strong emotions always pass in time. Peace is returning, as it always does in time. Peace is coming. Peace is inevitable.”
You can practice this (and I highly recommend that you do) to deepen the association and train your mind to pass unpleasant, unwanted and unproductive emotional states all the more quickly. Simply find an unpleasant emotion that brings up a strong emotion and, once you’re feeling that emotion, begin repeating the affirmation and allow the emotion to pass. You will get better, faster results by practicing and be much more likely to remember to use your affirmation when strong, unpredictable emotions come.
Just spend a little bit of time each day bringing up emotions and letting them pass. Recognize that you do have the ability to control them; but, like any ability, it requires practice to master. As you get better at this, you can spend a bit more time bringing the emotion to a higher level before you choose to pass it. This will deepen your self control and leave you able to easily pass whatever comes up.
If you’d prefer you can simplify this and just say something like: “I know that calm and peace are returning.” But, I’d start with the longer version at first. It’s more complete and harder to dismiss as “lying to yourself.” Once you get consistent results with that one (and you will get consistent results, because strong emotion always passes in time), then switch to the shorter version.
In time, this attitude becomes so ingrained that you just notice emotions instead of being disturbed by them. The act of noticing the emotion arise becomes the trigger for passing it and when that starts to happen, it’s amazing. If you practice this regularly, you will reach this place. It’s inevitable. It’s a process and it happens step by step, bit by bit; but, if you choose to commit yourself to the process, the results become inevitable.
Let yourself anticipate this. Let yourself become excited by this. That excitement will propel you forward through your practice and keep you motivated. There is a difference between wanting peace and and choosing to focus on peace and wanting “not anger” or “not sadness.”
It’s a very important difference. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Focus on the peace, not the unwanted emotional states.
You can’t make life perfect. You can’t always avoid pain and unpleasantness; but, you can accept these things and remember that they will pass. Everything does.
You can spare yourself unnecessary suffering.
You can cultivate calm and peace of mind.
You may not be able to control the world; but, with practice, you can gain more control over yourself and your emotional state and, when you do, the problems that life brings become much more manageable. When you learn greater control of your mind and your emotions, you will find that you have much more control over the direction that your life goes.
There is no need to fear strong emotion. There is no need to fear their power. Their power is your power. It’s your mind. You are the one in control; you just have to recognize this and exercise the control you do have in order to make it stronger.
There is no shame in strong emotion.
There is no shame in feeling.
There is no shame in being human.
Allow your emotions to come and to go. Allow them to pass.
Allow yourself to be human and give yourself the gift of freedom and peace.
Thank you for reading!
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