It happens to all of us. We’re having a great day and then … we get in a fight with a loved one, someone says something hurtful to us, we run into an ex. Good, bad, or wish-that-never-happened, emotions occur. After all, we are all just energy, and so are our emotions: e-motions = energy in motion. So rather than getting caught up in negative emotions, I encourage you to learn to let them be energy in motion.
Easier said than done sometimes, though huh?
So how do you deal with these hurtful circumstances or negative emotions? I’ve developed a 5-step process that I use. Caveat: when you first start using this process, it does take some time. However, it gets easier and faster the more often you do it.
1) Write down (or tell a trusted friend) what happened – the key here is to focus on the facts. Don’t add your interpretation of events or assume you know what the other person was thinking or feeling. It should be something like, “He said this and I said that.” Don’t add in your emotions yet – that’s coming in the next step. Don’t skip this step either. It’s important to get it down from almost a third-party point of view so you can gain more clarity about what actually happened.
2) Write down how you feel and why – this is where you get to feel those emotions. All that hurt, anger, sadness – get it out. Then dive into the why. Why did what he said to you upset you so much? Dive deep here – yes, our emotions are reactions to what happened in the moment; but on top of that, they are often also reactions to things that have happened in the past. This “double reaction” serves to intensify the emotional experience for us and sometimes may feel like it’s been blown up bigger than it would have been otherwise.
3) Figure out what needs to be done and why (realize the answer may be “nothing”) – from a third party perspective (this is why doing this process with a trusted friend can be helpful), figure out if there is anything that actually needs to be done here. For example, if you received a rude email or text from someone, do you need to respond? Today’s video goes more in depth on this step.
4) What do you want to do and why – this is where you get to say all of the things that you really want to do (even if you think it’s not appropriate to do). If you want to say something nasty to that person, this is where you get to write it down (note: you are not acting yet, you are just writing down what you really want to do). Then dive into your why. Why do want to do that or say that? Is it because you’re feeling vindictive? Is it because you’re hurting and you want them to know how much they hurt you? Are you trying to “right” a perceived “wrong?” Get it all out.
5) Decide what to do – this is where you look back at everything you wrote and decide what action step will be for your highest good (or in alignment with your Soul). We may want to say something nasty to someone that hurt us, but that likely is not in alignment with our highest good/Soul’s purpose. I like to think of Byron Katie’s advice here. She encourages us to ask ourselves 3 questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind (to us and to the other person – note that kind is not the same as nice – I talk more about this distinction in today’s video), and 3) Is it necessary?
I hope this series of steps helps you gain clarity on how to process your negative emotions. Let me know how it worked for you in the comments!