Negative Emotions are Designed to Heal not to Harm

Negative Emotions are Designed to Heal not to Harm

In life, unwanted and unhelpful events happen. 

They always have and they always will. 

Setbacks, challenges, adversity, disappointments – however you want to describe them, they are an inevitable part of life.

How we deal with them is what defines us as people. 

We can’t develop and be successful unless we acknowledge, embrace and work through difficult situations. 

An important part of overcoming adversity is dealing with emotions. 

The first thing to remember is that; when something bad happens, it’s okay to feel bad. 

In fact it’s important to feel bad when something bad happens. It’s our body’s way of telling us that something important has happened and that in order to process the event, we need to make appropriate decisions and take appropriate action. 

Note the word ‘appropriate’. Appropriate negative emotions like sadness or annoyance or disappointment, keep things in perspective. However their inappropriate counterparts depression, anger and hurt don’t. 

Let’s consider an extreme example. 

An important person in our life dies. We will never see or interact with them again. 

At such a time, it is appropriate to feel sad. Feeling sad helps us process the event healthily, in our own way, in our own time. We prepare ourselves for a period of grief and mourning and then we work through it, knowing that these feelings won’t last for ever and that eventually, when we’re ready, we will return to a sense of normality.

Our body is telling us that it may take time, but we will get through this and emerge stronger and wiser. 

But what happens if we don’t acknowledge the event and embrace the feeling of sadness?

If we try to block our natural feelings we make things much, much worse. Instead of being sad, we become depressed. The event never gets processed, mentally or physically and we never move on. We remain stuck in that moment, constantly focused on it. 

Bad things happen and when they do it’s normal and healthy to feel appropriately bad. Talk about them, think about them and give yourself time and space to process them.