Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life;
they're big, flashing signs that something needs to change.
I had a very interesting conversation recently with a fellow coach about positive and negative emotions which any human being encounters on a regular basis. We were both slightly at odds with articles which tell you to strive for happiness and never give house room to negative emotions.
Now, I have written on this blog many a time about keeping a positive mindset, so you might think that I am being contradictory here, so let me be clear.
What I think is important is to cultivate a positive mindset as a ‘default’ as much as you can. I believe it is also important to be able to identify what your emotions are at any given point so that you can, if you need to, change them or, crucially, use them.
For me, the key is to realise that your emotions are things which you can use for your own benefit, even (and perhaps even especially), the negative ones. When you have a perceived negative emotion - anger, fear, sadness, disappointment - sometimes you just need to go through it in order to get to the next thing. I have written before about getting really upset about a job I thought I hadn’t got but then using that upset to spur me into action. Only last month, I wrote about how having to get around panic attacks (a type of fear) made me inventive and more productive. Perhaps one of the best examples comes from Dame Judi Dench who uses stage fright (and at one point in her life, grief) as “petrol”, to create energy. In all these cases, the emotion has become a tool to help.
The point is, we will all have things which happen in our lives which cause us grief, fear, sadness, anger... Don’t let the negative emotion take over and leave you powerless. Always remember, you have the emotion - the emotion doesn’t have you.
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.