There's no such thing as a bad feeling
I recently went to see the latest Disney Pixar film “Inside Out”. As the film progressed I found myself feeling more and more annoyed with the character “Joy” as she repeatedly didn’t find any use of another character called “Sadness.” Perhaps one reason why this annoyed me was because it mirrored something that I have seen happen personally and in other people’s lives.
There can often be both unspoken and spoken expectations that we just have to “look on the bright side” of things, “be positive” or “think positive thoughts.” Sadness (and other emotions such as anger) can be seen as unhelpful emotions that you need to just get over and conquer.
I loved the end of Inside Out when the character Joy realises that she needs Sadness to help solve the problems that are being faced. By the end of the film the main character has changed how she thinks. Instead of having a head full of nothing but “Joy”, we see the little girl starting to feel new mixtures of emotions - a blending of things like sadness and joy. Instead of destroying her it opens a whole new spectrum of feelings and experiences. This makes her life better - not worse.
In my own life, I have found that trying to drown out feelings of sadness or anger with positive thoughts or even a flurry of activity is ultimately a very dangerous approach. Counsellors will tend to encourage children and young people to let all their feelings have a voice and freedom within the therapy room. By allowing these feelings out and not condemning certain ones, children and young people learn to find a balance and freedom. I truly believe there are no bad emotions. Perhaps it is more dangerous to allow just one emotion dominate.
So, if you are finding yourself being told that it is wrong to feel certain things, find a good therapist (Counselling Directory is a good place to start!) who can help you express what you feel without any condemnation. It may well be that those “negative” feelings need to be listened to and acknowledged so that you can find new freedom and opportunities in your life.
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