Transforming Negative Emotions into Positive Experiences
The power found within our emotions doesn’t age. This power can’t be taken away from you. This inner power is based on our relationship to our true self and our willingness to receive guidance, healing, and wisdom from our Soul and Spirit. Emotional empowerment is key to the success for guidance, healing and receiving wisdom from within.
A spiritually empowered adult has the capacity to take action based on character and principles. S/he is inspired and motivated by the future, feels passion and compassion in the present moment, and connects and communicates with others through intimacy and love.
A spiritually empowered adult knows they are valuable. They know what they do in life matters. They know they belong to all of life, the plant, animal, human, and spiritual kingdoms. The spiritually empowered adult enjoys living in the oneness of life.
Emotions are the foundation of genuine inner power and strength. Your ability to successfully relate to and communicate your feelings is the key to personal success and fulfillment. This article will help you view your emotions from a whole new perspective that can lead you toward greater empowerment and peace of mind.
Emotional empowerment is your ability to understand, gain clarity, and wisdom from within so you can ultimately experience personal peace, happiness, and joy in the living of your life. Emotional empowerment is the result of emotional intelligence.
Emotions temper your thinking and can lead you beyond knowledge into the realms of creativity, intuition, discernment, and wisdom. Early on we learned to define positive emotions as love, happiness, peace, gratitude, and joy (just to name a few). We’re taught that the negative emotions are anger, fear, guilt, shame, pain, and loneliness. The root of this category system is how these emotions feel and function. Emotions either expanding or contracting inside of us.
The expansive feelings are often referred too as “positive emotions.” They allow us to relax and feel greater freedom. Those labeled “negative” contract and pull inward. They feel tight and uncomfortable. They are often a signal that something is out of balance in life, like a warning light on your car’s dashboard telling you to slow down and check under the hood. This is a very good thing to have available.
Unfortunately, our immature ego tries to disconnect us from our warning signals and we are often sideswiped by an avalanche of negativity and crisis without the benefit of a warning. Being free of emotional repression can help guide us to prevent a crisis from occurring.
Moving Beyond Your Judgments of Good and Bad
The problem arises when we judge and label our emotions as positive (good), or negative (bad). There is no such thing as a “negative or bad” emotion. All emotion can become a positive resource to help guide and direct your life.
Your Soul uses emotions to send you direct messages and guidance. It began the moment you were born and continues through life. Unfortunately, we’ve been trained to judge, ignore, and repress our emotions. We see them as primitive (and they are) and so we try to replace our emotional intelligence with “positive” thinking. This ends up being a more sophisticated form of denial.
If your thoughts were to arm-wrestle with your emotions, your emotions would always win. Your emotions hold power. Emotions fuel your thinking nature and hold the magic of manifestation. Thinking without the benefit of feeling can be a very destructive force for the ego. Hitler comes to mind. How many educated highly thinking physicians, scientists, and nurses, devoid of their emotions participated in Hitler’s plan?
In order to create a positive relationship with your emotions you must also be conscious of how the negative relationship to them developed.
The way I define “negative emotions” is not in their categorization or label, but in the way, you relate to them. Your relationship to any emotion is either functional or dysfunctional. Any emotion (expansive or constrictive) that you ignore, refuse to feel, deny and repress, and harbor will create negativity and is dysfunctional.
Any emotion (love or fear) that you:
Ignore comes from the word ignorance. Not knowing the value of your emotions and only being taught to repress them is usually from the result of ignorance, of not knowing. We all lead busy lives and often run ours on automatic. Every action and motivation we have is fueled by emotions but we are often unconscious of them.
2. Refuse to Feel
Distracting, denial, discounting our feelings are all ways in which we maintain a warehouse of unexpressed negative energy within our minds. The key to empowering yourself is to expand your awareness and seek to become more conscious on all levels of being. Stop ignoring how you feel and learn to honor your feelings. Be willing to feel all of your emotions. This is how to reverse the destructive power of repression.
How much time do you devote to paying attention to your feelings? For years I kept myself busy, far too busy to slow down and feel anything. At night, I would collapse from exhaustion, then start the next day off and running; a race I could never win. I was running away from my feelings. It eventually caught up with me. When I finally discovered the value of emotional empowerment I realized I had spent years running away from my inner power and strength. Once I learned how to value my emotions, I began to embrace and honor them. I started developing genuine self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence and I created an inner foundation for trusting myself.
Out of a ‘knee-jerk’ habit, we unconsciously shove the energy of emotions deep into our subconscious mind. The more intense they are, the deeper we push them into our unconscious mind. Repressed emotions have a negative impact on our physical health, our emotional stability, our mental clarity, and our ability to experience the Divine connection to our Soul and Spirit. Learning how to express feelings responsibly will release the pressure building in the subconscious mind and defuse any potential time bombs that might explode in your future.
4. Harbor and Hold onto the Past
Traditional psychology tends to focus on the past. But your Soul is only concerned with the future. Your destiny or destination is to come Home. We enter therapy and often become locked in fixing our past while ignoring our future. But the past isn’t the cause of the problems. Problems arise from your relationship to the future. Forgive your past, let it go, learn from it. Then begin to focus on your future.
Example: Let’s say you’re an insecure person who is going out on a date tonight and you start feeling the fear of rejection. Where does this fear come from? Most would say, the past. The logical thinking is…"Because I was rejected back in high school, I am afraid of being rejected again tonight." Yes, you had an experience of rejection during high school.
However, the origin of this fear comes from your relationship to the future; anticipating that you will be rejected later tonight, not in the past. The past already happened, it's over. Fear is coming from your future and was triggered when you anticipated meeting this new person, on a date.
Don’t get me wrong understanding your past has value, but focusing on creating your future is where the power of your Soul comes from. Who you are becoming is more powerful than who you’ve been. The past can help you understand why you’ve become afraid but isn’t creating your fear in the present moment. The relationship to your future is creating your fear.
Let go of your past, forgive your past and begin to visualize and imagine the future of who you are becoming. Your future is limited only by your belief and imagination. The good news is you can change and expand both belief and imagination, thus expanding the possibilities of your future.
Understand that most of your problems are rooted in your emotional nature. This is the area of your mind that has been repressed. This part holds the missing key to your success and happiness. It is imperative that you learn a new way to relate to your emotional body to create a fulfilling life; a life worth living.
When you begin to honor and respect your feelings, both expansive and contracting, you can open an avenue of information that can guide you out of confusion and self-doubt and into the understanding, confidence, and deeper motivation. Simply put, you can connect with the inner power and wisdom of your Soul and Spirit.
The following formulae will provide an easy and effective way to help you handle your emotions and develop a positive relationship with all of your emotions.
Four Steps to Create a Positive Experience with Any Emotion
This is a way for you to be responsible for your emotions. Being responsible for your emotions isn’t a choice, it’s just a matter of time. Everyone will eventually be responsible for the way they manage their emotions. All repressed emotions will eventually surface in life. Depending on how long and how much emotion is repressed, determines how destructive it may become.
These four steps will improve and heal your emotional body, deepen your communication, and help you develop your empowered self. Let’s explore each step with greater detail.
Being honest means not hiding from the truth. To tell the truth about how you feel requires tremendous vulnerability. But doing so will lead you back to your inner strength and power. Another paradox... in order to be powerful, you must be willing to be vulnerable. The best way, to be honest, is to learn to self-reflect and pay attention to your emotional body. Make time to listen to how you feel about what’s happening in your life. Seek to understand your emotions and the way they make you feel.
Being honest also means letting go of judgment and preconditioned ideas from your past. Things like “girls should look pretty and not speak up” or “boys don’t cry.” These are so ingrained in us as appropriate behavior that we judge ourselves as bad and wrong if we break these out-dated childhood laws. These old beliefs become a shadow law that makes it difficult for us to be honest about how we feel.
Give yourself permission to feel all of your emotions and to express them at least to yourself. This isn’t about sharing your feelings with others. This has nothing to do with having others understand you. This is about being honest so you can understand who you have become. If you are angry at your boss or wife, telling yourself the truth is more healthy than repressing these feelings and eventually punishing and/or sabotaging your relationships.
Being honest is about confronting yourself rather than avoiding feelings. When you are honest, you are taking responsibility for how you feel and admitting the truth to yourself. You don’t have to let anyone else know “how they made you feel.” Only you need to know! When you are honest you can take action about the feelings lingering inside.
I love the analogy I learned from Wayne Dyer about our emotions. If someone takes an orange cut it in half and squeezes it, what comes out? Orange juice, right? Why? Because that’s what’s inside of oranges, juice. When someone pressures you (squeezes you) and anger comes out it’s because anger is inside of you.
Being honest means being aware and then taking responsibility for what is going on inside of you. This means not distracting yourself from what is true for you.
In my coaching sessions, I have worked with hundreds of people over the years and it is amazing how brainwashed we are when it comes to our emotions. I’ll educate a client for many months on how the emotions function, with constricting and expanding emotions and encourage them to let go of the judgments of good and bad.
Every so often, I’ll get an email that says, “I had a really bad day last Saturday.” I’ll ask what happened? “Nothing really happened. I just felt so sad all day.” Sad becomes bad. I tell them although feeling sad wasn’t the kind of day they had planned, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is “bad”. They felt and expressed some old sadness that surfaced from their subconscious mind. Their Subconscious and Soul decided they were ready to release some old sorrow. Rather than attracting a physical reality that forced them to feel sad, they allowed it to come into their conscious awareness to be healed. Remember, what you refuse to feel in your consciousness eventually becomes a physical reality that you have to deal with.
We quickly judge a constricting feeling as bad. The judgment probably prolonged the sad experience. In truth, if we were honest with ourselves we’d recognize that feeling and releasing the sadness made room for greater love and peace to come in. We all love to live in a wonderfully clean living space but most of us don’t want to do the cleaning.Honesty involves being truthful. It is an important key to establishing an empowered relationship with your mind. The paradox of positive thinking is that most people deny their genuine feelings and cover them over with affirmations or “positive thinking.” It’s like putting whipped cream on an onion. Don’t get me wrong, positive thinking and affirmations are an important part of a powerful mind, but not when they are used to avoid how you really feel.
Being honest emotionally is the first step toward creating a positive mindset that will create wonderful experiences in your life. How many people do you know who have repressed emotional baggage seething beneath the surface while they are trying to “be positive?” Instead of "being positive" they need to focus on being honest. Release the repressed garbage so that you can truly be positive.
Being emotionally aware of your feelings regardless if they are expanding or contracting is being honest about how you really feel. Simply being honest is the most positive way to improve the relationship you have with your thoughts and feelings. So drop the judgments of good and bad and just be honest. To fully respect yourself is to be honest with what you think and how you feel emotionally. Only then can you change.2. Be Willing to Feel All of Your Emotions
Self-respect is not having to apologize for how you honestly feel, it is a state of honoring your thoughts and feelings without feeling guilty. Your willingness to feel all of your emotions develops self-respect.
Every emotion is a natural feedback mechanism providing a greater understanding of how you're doing in your life. Emotions are meant to provide guidance on your journey through life. Denying emotions keeps them alive so they haunt you for years. When you think about an area of your life that isn't working the way you desire, you will naturally feel constricting emotions. Just as when you think about areas of your life that are working well, you’ll feel expansive feelings.
When you see the value of your emotions and honor yourself enough to feel them more fully, you’ll start to become more conscious of the emotions you have denied and repressed. As they surface, instead of judging them and pushing them back down, seek to understand them and begin to heal and release them. This will garner the power and wisdom contained within them. This also increases your own natural energy levels. It takes an enormous amount of energy to keep our emotions repressed 24/7.
As you free up your emotions you will automatically increase your natural energy levels. We live in a world that is increasingly addicted to “fake” energy called caffeine. It is a drug that stimulates the body chemistry to create the experience of having “extra energy.” It is interesting to see how the need for caffeine has increased after the “antidepressant drug epidemic.” When we repress our emotions, we repress our energy.
Our society has suffered too long from the “instant” gratification mode of living. “Are you not feeling well? Here, take this pill you’ll feel better (feel nothing).” Feeling nothing robs you of your inherent fuel supply (energy). Feeling low energy inspires the need for caffeinated drinks to give us artificial energy. Artificial energy isn’t enough, but it is a favorite substitute for our ego that enables us to continue to avoid our emotions.
Your ability to feel your emotions offers you energy and aliveness. When you numb out you are denying your power, purpose, and aliveness. The goal of life isn’t numbness, it is to be fully alive and overflowing with enthusiasm, joy, and freedom. The goal is to love your life and everyone in it. Antidepressant drugs can help some people cope with a severe crisis. But I’d be willing to bet that the majority of the people taking these pills don’t really need them and doing so is disconnecting them from their inner power. These medications were never meant to be an answer, just a temporary solution to help people get through a crisis, not to become dependent upon a drug. The drug manufacturers don’t mind, but your Soul does.
Think about the word “depression,” what am I doing? Depressing my feelings; depressing the energy that is within my emotions. E-motion, to put into motion, to take action, requires energy. Emotions are the source of energy. What gets you out of bed in the morning to get to work? For most people, it’s fear and guilt that drives them to hit the alarm clock and crawl out of bed. Wouldn’t it be grand if it was excitement and enthusiasm that got you going in the morning? Remember how you felt like a kid on summer vacation? You couldn’t wait to get out of bed each morning. Emotions are a vital source of our life force energy. When we ignore and deny them we become depressed.3. Express Your Feelings Responsibly
We live in a world were we impact and influence each other on a daily basis. We can choose to hurt or heal others and we’ve done both in our lives. In order for the Soul to experience love in the duality of the physical world, we must be able to influence and affect each other. In order to experience love, we must be willing to experience pain (the absence of love). It is set up this way so that we can help each other more easily grow, learn and evolve on our spiritual journey coming Home.From my students, I often hear, “Nobody has an impact on me... I’m creating my own reality!” This implies that they are creating everything they experience. While this is true, it leads us to another paradox of growth. You do create your day to day experience through causing or allowing. Allowing is the energy of attraction. Repressed anger and fear attract people and circumstances that bring these feelings to the surface for you to deal with and heal. You are creating the circumstances even though others do have an impact on you at the same time. We’ve come here to learn to love ourselves and then others. Until we fully love ourselves, we will have a negative impact on our own lives and the lives of others. This isn’t bad or wrong, it is just the feedback about how we are growing.
As you understand the value of being emotionally awake and alive you will see the benefits of learning to manage emotions in the most responsible and self-empowering ways.
The key to achieving this is in the word “responsibly.” To express your feelings responsibly is to recognize that when someone does pressure you and anger comes out, that energy is in part caused by their negative impact on you, but is also a result of your repressed anger that hasn’t been dealt with. They triggered it from within you. Owning your emotions and recognizing that others have an impact allows you to build a solid foundation for expressing your feelings responsibly.
When we refuse to express our feelings to others who have a negative impact on us, we rob the person of the feedback they need to grow and evolve. Anger is often a message that says, “this person (or situation in my life) that is provoking my anger needs to change.” Anger is a demand for change. Anger is a signal that this doesn’t work for me and I demand change.People assume that their emotions operate the same as their thoughts. They don’t! When love is your foundation it becomes the emotion that allows all other emotions to be expressed responsibly. I can come from love and be angry at the same time. While our minds can only think one thought at a time, we can feel several emotions all at the same time. Parents know this, they can get angry at their children, but they don’t stop loving them. All of us can feel and experience many different emotions at the same time. But we can only express one emotion at a time.
We become afraid when we erroneously think if someone is angry at us they have stopped loving us. That isn’t necessarily the case. Love is what allows us to feel safe enough to honestly express anger responsibly. Once the anger is cleared, we can get back to feeling and expressing the love we feel. But if the anger remains repressed it will quickly pollute our quality of love and your ability to express it.
The more we process through our feelings and clean up the residue of repressed emotions the easier it will be to express our emotions responsibly. Doing this takes the pressure off past experiences so we are able to express appropriate levels of whatever emotions we feel.
When the repressed emotions from the past are cleared out there is more energy and we start to feel lighter. Confusion and self-doubt will subside and we gain a deeper connection and communion with our Soul.4. Release and get Back into the Flow.
Too often it is believed that expressing emotions is the final step. It isn’t. You know many people who although they can artfully express their emotions, don’t let them go. It’s like a fishing rod, they cast out their anger to the people at work and then reel it in. Then they go home and cast out their anger to their family and reel it back in. They never let it go. They hold onto their emotions and use them to manipulate and control others. The final step is to release emotions, to let go and get back into the flow of your life.
The final step to build a positive relationship with your emotional body is to let go and release the experience. Forgiveness is the best way to achieve this. The ego in us doesn’t know how to forgive. Forgiveness is a Soul quality. Eighty percent of what Jesus spoke was forgiveness. Every master and genuine spiritual teacher speaks of the power and miracles of forgiveness. Forgiveness engages your Soul.
In another article, I explored the power of forgiveness, you can review that if you’d like. The miracle of forgiveness and the power it has to transform your life is part of letting go of repressed emotions. But for now, let’s explore some life-changing techniques for successfully expressing and releasing your emotions.
Emotional Empowerment: Four Techniques to Set Yourself Free
2. Forgive Yourself: Close your eyes and relax. Mentally repeat, “I forgive myself for allowing myself to be hurt/disappointed or__________ by my experience with _____________(person's name).”
3. Express Your Emotions Meditatively: While you are still meditating express your thoughts and feelings to the person you are forgiving. Let them know how much you were hurt and how upset you are by their actions. If you are so angry you want to hit them, then do it (IMAGINATIVELY). Use your imagination to help you express your pent up emotions. Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what you imagine or what really happens.
NOTE: Your intention is to release the feelings about this person and to forgive them. That is where the energy will flow. You will not be “sending” this person 'negative energy' unless that is your intention.
4. Forgive Them With your eyes still closed sense light coming down from above you. Make it a warm healing light that surrounds you and creates a safe environment for forgiveness. Visualize the person you wish to forgive and bring them inside the light. Mentally tell them, “I forgive you for hurting/disappointing me in this way.” Reaffirm what you are forgiving them for. Then release them into the light.
When you take full responsibility for every facet of your life and your relationships with others you will understand that you can generate the healing of forgiveness by choice. When you stop looking for love, security, and peace outside yourself and discover it is within, you are finally set free and the magic of forgiveness has worked its spell.
Writing Technique to Express Your Emotions Responsibly:1. Find a Quiet Place Where You Won’t be Disturbed.
Turn off your phone and any distractions like email or television. Find a pen and some paper and get into a comfortable writing position. Close your eyes for a few minutes and take in a few deep breaths to begin focusing on your inner world of emotion. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling?”2. Honestly Admit to Yourself, “This is the way I feel right now”.
Take responsibility for how you feel in order to avoid blaming others. Blame keeps you stuck. Remember the orange analogy and be willing to explore what you feel inside.3. Write with the Intention to Explore Your Feelings.
Open your eyes and begin to write down your feelings. Don’t use a fancy expensive journal. This exercise is to dump your emotional garbage, not to reminisce or set goals about your future. I recommend a cheap, yellow legal pad. They are easy to find, inexpensive, and the yellow color resonates with the third chakra.4. Start Writing Freestyle.
Begin writing at the top of the page what you need to express emotionally. For instance, “Me and my Anger” or “Me and my Fear, “Me and my Disappointment” or if you don’t know, write, “Me and my Confusion,” etc.
Don’t edit or worry about spelling or punctuation. Simply express how you feel by writing it down. You can pretend to write a letter to the person you feel these constricting emotions toward. Write down everything you wish you could say to their face. This letter will not be mailed or delivered to them. It’s only a tool for you to dump out your negativity. If you don’t know what to write then simply write that down, “I don’t know what to write.” Then ask yourself, “how does that make me feel that I don’t know what to write?” If it makes you feel stupid or inadequate or like you’re doing something wrong start writing about those past experiences that made you feel stupid or wrong, etc. Write!5. Focus your Thoughts on your Feelings.
If you feel tightness in your stomach start writing about how that feels, i.e., “like someone has punched me in the stomach.” As you create the space to begin writing your subconscious mind will begin to open up the storehouse of all the repressed emotion around your topic. Your subconscious mind won’t flood too much emotion that you can’t handle it. This is a fear many people hold. They think, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been repressing emotions for 50 years and if I let it come up it will overwhelm me and I’ll lose control.” Not true.
Remember, your Soul and subconscious mind will protect you and won’t bring up any more emotion than you can handle at this time. If you weren’t emotionally stable enough to do this exercise, you wouldn’t attract this advice into your life. Rest assured that you are safe and since you were the one who stuffed the emotions down in you, you must be the one to set the emotions free.
If you prefer to work with a therapist be sure they also understand the importance of emotional intelligence. A degree doesn’t necessarily mean wisdom. Interview your therapist to be sure you’re on the same page. At first, your repressed emotions will trickle out. Then they’ll come out in a steady stream that will outflow from your subconscious mind.6. Monitor Yourself.
Don’t judge or hold yourself back. Give yourself full permission to express your feelings freely. As you dump the garbage of your past you will feel a flow of energy moving through you.7. Let all Parts of Yourself Express How they Feel.
This step can help clear the debris quickly. If you feel anger bubbling up inside of you seek out the part of you that is angry. Is it the child in you? Is it the adolescent? Or the teenager? What younger version of you is pissed off?
Close your eyes and imagine the angry part of you and let that part express the pent up feelings. Perhaps visualize the home you grew up in to find the teenager you once were. Talk to them in your mind. Let them know that you are their future and you’ve come back to help heal them. Let them know you understand how they feel because you were once them.
This is also an excellent way of releasing anger at someone who has died. If an uncle hurt you and he is no longer around visualize him and express how he made you feel. Vent your feelings to get the poison out of you.Soul-utions Challenge:
Music is a universal emotional healer. Music is a wonderful way to get in touch with your emotional nature. Make several playlists on iTunes creating categories of emotions. Pick favorite songs to populate your playlist, that help you feel more deeply. For instance, you can have a playlist of anger songs, sadness songs, loneliness songs, happy-joyful songs, and sensual-sexy songs.
Whenever you are feeling stuck emotionally go to your playlist and listen to the songs to help express the emotions you are feeling. Sing the songs out loud to help express your feelings more intensely. This can help you get back into balance with your emotional energy. You can add these songs to your iPod and listen as needed.
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(See “Release Fear, Doubt and Worry” guided meditation technique)
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Michaiel Patrick Bovenes is a wellness coach, teacher, hypnotherapist, and metaphysician. Since 1994, he helps people quickly transform their stress into strength and their struggle into greater freedom, confidence and positive change. Soul-utions Wellness will activate your inner-power to create the changes you desire by aligning with your purpose, power, inner-wisdom, and empowered destiny.