Negative Feelings? Own It. Process It. Release It.

It is impossible to be happy, positive, inspired, and fully productive for every moment of every day. Even the most positive people on the planet have their moments of disappointment, discouragement, or emotional response to a challenge.

For a significant portion of my life, I secretly had this warped thought that if I felt sad, discouraged, faint, fearful, anxious, or insecure that I was not a positive, motivated, and confident person. Somehow I believed that possessing those feelings for more than a “moment” meant something was wrong with me. So, I tried (unsuccessfully) to hide those feelings from other people behind smiles, laughs, and conversation.

One day I found my freedom as I randomly watched behind-the-scenes footage of a famous singer’s documentary. She acknowledged her struggles and said that she allows herself time and permission to be sad when she feels disappointed, hurt, or is experiencing other complex emotions. After that time, she tells herself “it’s time to move on.”

I am not telling you that every feeling deserves time to be “processed.” Some feelings you just need to immediately let go. However, for mental health purposes, there is a time and place to embrace your honest emotions. For one reason or another, many of us are not taught how to deal with these emotions. Or worse, we are taught that having them is a sign of weakness or a lack of emotional, mental, or spiritual maturity. Life has taught me the exact opposite. The ability to acknowledge your emotions is a sign of maturity.

Today I grant you the freedom to be openly realistic about your feelings. They may not always be the “right” feelings to have, but the truth is, you have them and they are real to you. So, in those moments…

Own It. Be honest with yourself and the people around you. “Yes, I feel this way right now.”

Process It. Determine a time and space to “feel” whatever you feel. Then, take some time, in your own way, to work through those emotions. Take a bath, listen to sad music, exercise, watch a movie, write in a journal, cry, turn off your phone, go to bed early, or just stare at the wall. Whatever it is, think through the emotions and always let positive logic prevail.

Release It. After you’ve taken your time to process, it’s time to move forward.

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