Once we begin to identify our emotions, we are able to process them. In connection with processing the emotions, we need to be aware of a few of points:
- Identifying emotional triggers can help shift and even avoid negative emotions.
- Recognizing how emotions feed off of each other is key to not powering them up.
- Powerful emotions connected with patterns of thought can become beliefs and we need to challenge those in pursuit of the truth.
So first, we can look at our emotional triggers, which are events in the outside world and thoughts within us that cause emotions to well up. An example of a trigger is a song that makes us sad, or a certain person that makes us mad. Something about that person or situation triggers us. The truth is they do not make us feel anything. Again it goes back to our filter and how we perceive what is happening. Other people and situations are simply mirrors to reflect back to us what we need to heal within ourselves. If we are truly healed, circumstances and people outside of us will no longer be a trigger. We will simply become observers gaining insight and giving love and light.
The positive aspect of triggers is that there are some situations outside of us that can help shift us when needed. A happy song or the smile of a friend can help us move to positive emotions. That is a wonderful help, but not a permanent fix. Ideally happiness will come from within, independent of anything or anyone outside of us.
This begins by realizing we are in control. We can choose our thoughts, our emotions and our reactions to them. When negative emotions come up, we can process them, choose the positive emotion and consciously choose our reaction.
When we feel emotions, we also feel a reaction in our body that is ready to respond to those feelings. At this point, there is a choice. When we feel angry, we do not have to yell. When we feel sad, we still have a choice of how to deal with that emotion. Often those actions can intensify our emotions or create new emotions. In Dialectical Behavior Therapy, they like to say, “Emotions love themselves” (2003). Once an emotion is activated it organizes the person’s mind and body in such a way as to continue the emotion. So when an emotion is fired-up, that same emotion tends to re-fire again and again. By becoming aware of our emotions and the situations that trigger them and then choosing our response to that will give us our power back. Our emotions do not need to control us.
We must also be aware that powerful emotions experienced with thoughts can become beliefs. If we feel unloved, we can begin to believe that we are unlovable. This is an untruth. When we become aware of thoughts and emotions turning into beliefs, we can challenge those and look for the truth while dispelling the untruth.
We know that everything has its opposite. This is true in the healing process: For every negative emotion there is a positive emotion; for every harmful action there is a healthy action; and for every unhealthy belief there is a transforming belief. We can choose what is in our highest good. When we identify a negative emotion, a harmful reaction or an unhealthy belief, we can state with power, “I do not choose ______________ anymore. I choose__________________.” The power of choice is profound.
Listed below are the opposites of the emotions, actions and beliefs so that we can consciously choose through awareness. This is so worth the effort. Negative emotions and harmful actions and unhealthy beliefs affect our health, our relationships, and our overall happiness. Our divine blueprint was wired for the higher vibrational emotions and actions and beliefs; when we choose those we are more in line with our higher-self. (Note: Sometimes we can feel like we are trying to choose higher emotions, but keep getting stuck in the lower ones. we can then beat ourselves up because we feel like we are failing. Failing is a trick of the ego to keep us in shame–we are not failing. Remember that if an emotion is getting stuck, it may be because we have not learned what we needed to, or we are getting some payoff from being in that energy that we are unconscious of. As we raise our awareness and look in truth, we can help ourselves heal and let go of that negative emotion, where we will find the freedom to choose higher.)
The negative emotions: unforgiveness, a feeling of insignificance and resentment.
The positive emotions: forgiveness, significance, compassion and empathy.
The unhealthy beliefs are: I am unlovable. I am insignificant. I am flawed.
The transforming beliefs are: I am significant. I am whole.
The harmful action is: selfishness.
The healthy actions are: Loving myself and others, and being committed to truth.
The negative emotions are: sadness, depression, feeling inferior, worthless, and flawed.
The positive emotions are: happiness, excitement, exhilaration, confidence, strength, wholeness and self-worth.
The unhealthy beliefs are: I am hopeless. I am worthless. Life is hopeless.
The transforming beliefs are: I am a person of worth regardless of any circumstances. I have unbounded hope for the future.
The harmful action is: self-abuse
The healthy actions are: Self-care. Believing in my power to start each day anew and heal. Trusting in my ability to feel joy.
The negative emotions are: anxiety, worry, and fear.
The positive emotions are: a sense of peace and restfulness; that indescribable feeling that everything is okay, just the way it should be.
The unhealthy beliefs are: Something bad is going to happen. The future will be like the past. I am not okay.
The transforming beliefs are: Wonderful things are in store for me. My future is not tied to the past. I am free. I am always okay.
The negative emotions are: impatience, anger, frustration, insecurity, desire for immediate love substitutes.
The positive emotions are: contentment, satisfaction, security.
The unhealthy belief is: Something has to change right now for me to be okay.
The transforming belief is: Even though I’m always growing and learning and getting better, I am satisfied and content right now.
The negative emotions are: rejection, hurt, fear (fear comes from hurt and rejection).
The positive emotions are: total and unconditional acceptance of myself and others.
The unhealthy beliefs are: People will take advantage of me (if you have been rejected). People are too sensitive (if you are the one who rejects others).
The transforming beliefs are: I love everyone. Everyone is different but we all have worth and value. I choose to honor the divinity in others.
The negative emotions are: fear and shame.
The positive emotions are: thankfulness and gratitude.
The unhealthy beliefs are: I am bad. I am not good enough. I am unforgivable.
The transforming beliefs are: I am good. I am enough. I am forgiven. I am.
The negative emotions are: distrust and being judgmental.
The positive emotions are: faith in the past, trust in the present and hope in the future.
The unhealthy beliefs are: People are out to get me. I must be in control. Life is not fair.
The transforming beliefs are: I will receive all good things by surrendering to love and truth. I can lay down control.
The harmful actions: Attempts to pull others down.
The healthy actions: Believing in truth and love without judgment.
The negative emotions are: guilt, shame, wrongful pride.
The positive emotions are: Belief in the true identity of myself and others.
The unhealthy beliefs are: People must think well of me for me to be okay. I am either better than or less than others.
The transforming beliefs are: I do not have to try to be someone I am not. I stand in my truth, the truth of who I am (my higher-self). We are all of worth and equal.
The negative emotions are: laziness, entitlement, and helplessness.
The positive emotions are: confidence in my true self and my abilities.
The unhealthy beliefs are: I can’t do it. I am not capable and others should do it for me.
The transforming beliefs are: I am capable. I can do it. I don’t have to get others to do it for me. I have a say over my life.
When you recognize a belief ask yourself: (1) Is it to my advantage to maintain this particular belief? (2) Is this belief really true and valid? (3) What specific steps can I take that will allow me to rid myself of attitudes that are self-defeating and unrealistic, and substitute others that are more objective and more self-enhancing?
Key 1: “It is only your thoughts and beliefs which have the power to elevate your spirits. Another person’s approval has no ability to affect your mood unless you believe what he or she says is valid. But if you believe the compliment is earned, it is your belief which makes you feel good. You must validate external approval before you experience mood elevation. This validation represents your personal self-approval” (Burns, 1980).
Key 2: Worth is an abstraction. Our worth just is. It is not determined based on what we do or do not do. Rather than grasping for worth we can aim for satisfaction, learning, growth and peace.
Key 3: “Perfection is man’s ultimate illusion. It simply doesn’t exist in the universe. It’s really the world’s greatest con game; it promises riches and delivers misery. The harder you strive for perfection, the worse your disappointment will become because it’s only an abstraction, a concept that doesn’t fit reality. Everything can be improved if you look at it closely and critically enough—every person, every idea, every work of art, every experience, everything” (Burns, 1980). Accepting what is, in gratitude, with an intent to move forward and progress a little at a time is a healthier place to function from.
Burns, D. (1980). Feeling Good. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Loyd, A. (2011). The Healing Code. Grand Central Life and Style.
Spradlin, S. (2003). Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life. How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control. California: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.