Transforming any negative emotion might sound like a difficult job, but when it’s important, we can change our emotional focus in a heartbeat. Example: you open up a credit card statement and discover that your spouse has been charging again. Yelling, name-calling, accusations fill the air. Just then the doorbell rings, and one of your young neighbors calls out, “your daughter had a fall on her bike.” Instantly, your and your spouse are out the door to help your daughter – the negative reactions of anger, worry, and resentment evaporate as all attention is focused on your daughter’s well-being.
The emotional transformation I described above happened subconsciously – no conscious intent was made for the change to occur. The transformation actually occurred because of another external event – a bike accident. Therefore, it’s likely that the entire pattern will repeat itself when the next credit card statement comes next month. Unless you decide to wake yourself up from the trance of worry, anger, and resentment and practice mindfulness, which is awareness of the present state of things, without additional emotional reactivity. Life is hard enough – and that includes unexpected credit card charges – without making it worse by reacting with negative energy.
Mindfulness lets you consciously acknowledge and feel the discomfort of the situation within a mental space that is not condemning, fearful, depressed, or in any way judging of the situation at hand. It is OK to be uncomfortable – life is like that. But when you put the emotional blinders on and react immediately with anger, sadness, worry, etc., you are limiting your options for optimum resolution of the situation.
The basic steps to transforming any negative emotion are as follows:
- Become aware of when the emotion is present within you.
- Practice self-hypnosis for instant access to a safe, non-reactive mental space.
- Allow yourself to “be present” with the situation – not judging, analyzing, or in any way attempting to “control”, but simply allowing deeper wisdom to surface.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit that we are responsible for how we react in any situation. The reality is that no one else’s behavior dictates a certain reaction from you, no matter what they did – “right” or “wrong”. By not immediately condemning another’s behavior, mindfulness allows you to “see” more, and perhaps understand more about the entire situation in greater depth and clarity.
So it’s up to all of us and what we want out of life – more anger, condemnation, self-pity, resentment, etc. – or options for transforming and healing our current situation using the resources we already have. What will it be for you?
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