If you’re looking for a way to increase your personal happiness, one of the best ways is to be kinder to yourself when you’re unhappy. I used to think that it wasn’t okay for me to feel mad or frustrated. “Calm down. Breathe. Look at it from their perspective,” were all things I told myself. The truth is, it’s okay to be upset.
Regardless of the situation, you are always entitled to your own personal feelings. In fact, ignoring your feelings or invalidating them can be damaging to your self-esteem. Here’s how I allow myself to quickly process any negative emotions I might have.
It’s Okay to Be Upset
Anger, frustration, and sadness are all natural emotions. If you’re an adult, chances are you’ve felt all of these emotions before. If you’re a 3-year-old (or parent of a 3-year-old), you’ve probably felt all three of those emotions plus some others in a single day.
Still, even though these are natural feelings, we are sometimes encouraged to ignore or hide these emotions. Instead of acknowledging and dealing with our feelings, we might move into our preferred coping mode.
Maybe you tend to stuff the tough emotions down deep inside you like an item in your kitchen junk drawer. Or, you could go straight into denial that they ever existed in the first place. My previous preferred coping method was tell myself that I was wrong for feeling that way.
Honestly, though, it’s okay to be upset. If you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you might be able to better process the incident that caused you grief. Plus, once you process the incident, it can help you decide what you would do differently if the incident should arise in the future. Here’s how I process.
Give Yourself Time and Space
Now, instead of denying my emotions, I give myself 5 minutes in the privacy of my room to fully embrace them. If that means that you feel like you need to go all out and throw a tantrum, go for it. I can guarantee that you won’t be the only adult who has thrown a tantrum because I remember that I did about a year ago.
As you may remember, I broke my neck June 30, 2017. “A fracture,” they called it and, for some reason, I imagined some small yet visible line indicating that I had an issue of sorts. Although the doctor told me that most breaks would take 6 weeks to 3 months to heal, I somehow decided that I would be closer to the 6 week mark. Suffice to say, when my doctor told me 8 weeks after my accident that I’d need to keep wearing my cervical collar until my 3 months was up, I was pissed.
I had so many thoughts and feelings that it took everything in me to keep it together while my husband and I walked to the car. When we got home, I went right up to our room and threw the biggest temper tantrum I have ever thrown. I screamed and cried and hit the bed. I yelled things. Then, out of no where, I was really bored with what I was doing.
Seriously, I remember checking the clock and thinking, “Well, I have two more minutes left. Do I want to keep going? Do I have anything left?” The answer was no. I was done and ready to move on.
Once your 5 minutes are up, it’s time to move on. Truly, it’s as simple as that. The thing about emotions is that you choose what you give your time and attention to. Personally, although I want to acknowledge all my feelings and emotions, I just don’t have time to dwell on the ones that don’t add value to my life.
Instead, I give them their 5 minutes and send them on their way. This way, I’m not denying how I feel or avoiding dealing with difficult feelings. Like a salesman selling an unwanted product, I give them their time and politely send them on their way.
I know some creative folks paint or journal, but I prefer to let myself be hysterical for 5 minutes. What do you do to process your feelings? Let us know in the comments below.
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