Updated: Aug 24, 2019
* This post is for those who feel trapped in one, main feeling. For decades, my central emotion was irritability/anger.
* If you feel more, and want to release the negative feelings, click here: Release Bitterness Forever
Much of this is my story (wrapped in flash fiction), but it took a lot longer than a few paragraphs to break though.
I watched my spaceship circling round and around, and then it disappeared. My mother found me crying, shirt soaked, hand deep in the toilet.
Pulling me into her arms, she murmured, “Don’t cry dear; it's alright. Stop crying now.”
That evening, I was calling my dog.
As I stepped off the back porch, my father said, “Hey Sport” and broke the news: my dog had bitten the mail carrier, and Animal Control had taken him away.
For a long time, my mother tried to console me, saying again and again, “It’s okay Dear. Stop crying now. It will be alright.”
Finally, my father yelled, “Stop that crying, or I will give you something to cry about! Stop it now!”
“And you did,” said the tall, bald psychologist, Dr. J (who my wife had forced me to see).
“Did what?” I asked, opening a clenched fist.
“Why did you want this session?” countered Dr J, who had an annoying habit of switching topics.
“You know, my, uh, wife left me.”
“She says that I do not share myself, that I am too distant.”
“And so you are,” he said. “At forty-two years old, you continue to obey your parent’s directive: ‘Don’t feel.’”
“But I feel!”
“What?” he challenged, “What do you feel?”
“I, uh, anger,” I said.
I realized my fist was closed again and casually opened it.
Dr. J leaned forward and said, “Anger is often an ‘instead of’ emotion, a defensive emotion. When was the last time you felt something else, like hurt for example?”
I sat thinking, searching my memory, reaching back. Dr. J finally motioned with his hands to hurry up. I blew out an exasperated breath, admitting defeat.
Dr. J smiled sadly and said, “Your wife just left you.”
He let that sink in and then added, “You stop yourself from feeling negative emotion. If you felt more, you could share more, with your wife and others.”
I heard the defeat in my voice, as I asked, “How am I supposed to do that?”
He countered, “A few years ago, when your mother died, how did you handle it?”
“I went right back to work,” I answered, with a touch of pride.
“And last week when your wife left?”
“I, uh, I have been working more.”
“Working more,” he repeated voice flat. “And when you are not working, what do you do?”
I shook my head, trying to keep up with him: “Uh, I like to read, watch movies or hang out with friends.”
I added, “Wait! I don't understand!”
“Come on,” said Dr. J. “At the first sign of a negative feeling, you distract yourself with work, a movie or people.”
“No!” I blurted. “I have been working more because I have the extra time.”
“Do you snack when you are not hungry?”
Reluctantly I admitted I did.
“So, there is yet another way that you avoid negative feelings. And there are many other ways: alcohol and/or drugs, gambling, food and sex to name a few.”
“Alright, okay,” I said, “just tell me what I have to do to bring my wife home.”
“You must be willing to feel uncomfortable.”
“Okay, I can do that,” I said. “I am willing to feel uncomfortable. Is that it?”
Dr. J laughed and said, “In that first moment, when you want to begin what might be a distraction stop. Take a moment to gently ask yourself what you are feeling.”
As I opened my mouth to reply, Dr. J added, “Also, when you feel irritable or angry, take a peek underneath and, again, ask yourself what is really there.”
He pushed himself out of the chair and began pacing, something I was not allowed to do.
He continued, “And whenever you catch even the hint of a feeling, voice it. Say, ‘I feel sad, hurt, afraid’ or whatever you even guess you might be feeling.”
He was now motioning with his hands and waving his arms.
“Say it aloud. Several times. Shout it from the rooftops!!!” he yelled.
I began to laugh and abruptly stopped.
I said, “Hurt. When my wife left, I felt hurt; angry too, very angry. And hurt.”
My eyes began to tear and I thought "Maybe this counseling stuff isn't such a good idea."
Release Negative Emotions (like bitterness) Forever
When I was eleven, my cousin stole my birthday money—all of it.
As a young man, the love of my life told me she was moving, out of state, in a few days! And nothing was said about staying in touch.
When I was older, a co-worker went on a campaign of backstabbing lies to the boss. And he got what he wanted. My position.
Have you noticed how easy it is to be bitter?
I hope not, but if so, you will know how hard it is to stop; and rightfully so, because being hurt gives us certain, undeniable rights.
We have the right to feel angry, resentful and even hateful, if that is what we are feeling; and we have the right to hold onto bitterness for as long as we want, decades even; we even have the right to make ourselves sick with it.
Yes, sick. Studies show that when I am sinking into bitterness, or any negative emotion, my body is tightening, breath shortening and blood pressure rising.
A long period of any negative emotion can cause permanent medical damage and even shorten life; and it does.
What makes it all worse, what makes it absolutely appalling, is that the target of my bitterness is out there living life; he or she is not feeling much if any of this; her or him is entirely unaware or completely ignoring me.
For those caught in this agonizing web of pain, for all of us who have at least thought of stopping, the question is How ?
1. Realize: Negative thoughts and feelings keep coming up because they are trying to release. But we (almost automatically) do not want to feel them, so we tighten body and breath.
2. Relax: Let them go by breathing out the body's tension, especially in the stomach, shoulders and neck. With each exhale, feel your arms and legs grow heavier. Let those negative feelings pass through you, on their way out.
3. Stop: for bitterness especially, ask yourself How long will I let those that hurt me keep holding me back, dimming the quality of my life and keeping me from the happiness I deserve?
Even if by a miracle the offenders did eventually give us the satisfaction of seeing them apologize/pay, it would still be up to us to move on—to push ourselves on, if necessary.
Yes push ourselves! Right out the door to pursue our interests and fulfill our dreams.
To choose life. And live it to the fullest.
1. What is not felt from an emotional moment is left behind.
2. That which is left behind continues to affect our lives -- negatively.
3. Feeling less negative emotion also means feeling less of the positive ones, like true surprise, delight and curiosity, to name a few.
4. Release the negative by casually/easily feeling whatever is there.
5. Facing what we do not want to face, feeling what we do not want to feel, makes us stronger bit by bit, everytime.
P.S. Imagine standing in middle of upset people and dropping back to calm, in less than 60 seconds -- with your eyes open.
This simple technique can bring you calm in the most hectic and disorganized situations.
Don’t spend another moment stressed by your surroundings.
Get this stress-reducing method,
Plus a powerful technique to immediately release negative emotion
& 6 Ways to Feel Better When You Are Feeling Badly
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For more about releasing the past, this link: Release Negative Emotions & Really Move On https://www.danielsperaw.com/blog/release-negative-emotions-like-bitterness-forever
For more ways to stop suppressing emotions:
Why Feeling Bad is Good
How to Feel Your Feelings
.....Negative emotions? How to accept THAT part of your body:https://www.danielsperaw.com/single-post/How-to-Accept-THAT-Part-of-Your-Body The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. At this link:https://www.danielsperaw.com/blog/the-essence-of-personal-improvement
The Anatomy of Guilt
The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. At this link: https://www.danielsperaw.com/blog/the-essence-of-personal-improvement