We all deal with negative emotions. But that doesn’t mean we need to be mastered by them. Fear, anger, disappointment, guilt, depression and inadequacy are the primary negative emotions we all experience. We usually struggle with these emotions because of past hurts that need resolution.When working towards change, it’s important that we learn to become the master of our fear and anger and negativity so that we can be hopeful for our future.
- Avoid overreacting. The first thing you need to do in dealing with negative emotions is to avoid overreacting. when negative emotions come into our lives, we tend to magnify them instead of seeing them for what they are. When a challenge occurs, or someone criticizes us, we tend to overreact. We attach the wrong meaning to what’s happening. Say you’re driving, and someone pulls out in front of you. You honk at them, feeling justified because they’re breaking the rules. But later you find out that the driver was a concerned father rushing his small child to the hospital. Well now you feel guilty for honking in anger! The occurrence was the same, but now you have a different meaning attached to it. You can choose to respond well. You can say, “I’m not going to honk. I’m not going to overreact. I refuse to attach negative meaning to this situation.” That’s empowering.
- Look at your situation and size it up. Always size your situations up realistically and rationally (as much as possible anyway). Ask yourself the right questions to do this. Ask yourself things like, “What will it matter 200 years from now?” and “Is this really the way it is? Or am I blowing it out of proportion?” Try your best to become detached from the emotion itself to see it objectively. And most importantly, let God speak to you about the situation! He will put things in perspective for you better than anyone else. Just know that there may be things you’re not seeing realistically or judging rationally.
- Do not deny negative emotions. When you deny a situation, you stick your head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that the situation does not exist or that it does not bother you. Some people try to deny their negative emotions. They don’t want anyone to know what they’re feeling, so they refuse to admit it, even to themselves. So while you shouldn’t magnify your emotions, you shouldn’t deny them either. If you have a troubled teenager or are going through a financial crisis or experiencing marital problems, you experience true fear. This fear can cause you to shut down emotionally. You may deny that the situation is happening. But because you’re denying it, you don’t take any positive action to change it.
- Develop a pattern of responding correctly. Emotions were given to you by God. One of the reasons God gave you emotions is to make you who you are. Emotions make you unique. Emotions that are used correctly enable you, but emotions used incorrectly disable you. They can empower or paralyze you. You need to develop a pattern of responding correctly to negative emotions. Identify the emotions with which you struggle and develop a strategy to overcome them. People continue to allow these hurts of the past to speak into their present and their future by continually opening the negative memory file in their minds. Everywhere they go, they spew hurt. If you are close to a person who struggles with negative emotions or if you are that person, take action! You must say to them and yourself: “I love you and care for you, but you can’t remain a victim.” If you pat their back and try to comfort them, you are doing nothing to help them. Help them change their life by changing their mind!
What negative emotion do you struggle with the most? Let me know in the comments!
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