For most of my life, I ran from negative emotions. I wanted the shortcut from feeling bad to feeling good and didn't understand the process of getting there, nor the value of that process for a happier and healthier life. Though it can be challenging, I understand the protocol now, described below, and it has made a world of difference in my mental and emotional health this year when I've needed it most. I hope this helps.
All emotions are important. Some are pleasant, others are not. But they all matter because they contain information, a message. At the very core, they answer a simple question- am I in alignment or not?
Over the course of this year, remembering this has been at the forefront of my healing journey. As the experience of losing my fiancee was so intense and came with so much sadness and pain, I was forced to face more negative emotions than ever before over an extended period of time. I could no longer hide from, ignore, or talk myself out of these emotional experiences. It was too intense, too loud, to ignore. If I tried, it would display itself in my life in ways like emotional shutdown, apathy, or the inability to experience joy.
Over and over again, I try to remember to face these negative emotions through the lens of self-discovery.
If I feel good, I am in alignment. If I don’t, I am in contrast. Contrast is a state where your needs are not being met. Contrast emotions include anger, fear, anxiety, depression, and generally anything that feels unpleasant. These emotions are an important part of existence because they let you know where you are, what your needs are, and where you can go to get back into alignment.
For example, I experienced a lot of sadness due to the loss that I suffered this year. The sadness that I am feeling is due to my needs not being fulfilled. I have a need to feel loved. I have a need to share love. I have a need for companionship. I have a need for humor. I have a need for physical and emotional intimacy. I have a need for safety and comfort. Karina filled all of these needs for me, and now that she is gone, those needs are unmet, and I feel sadness.
What I’ve learned is that the only thing separating contrast and alignment is resistance to allowing my needs to be met by the only one who actually can do so- Spirit (or your Higher Self, the Universe, God, Source Energy, or whatever you want to call it). I realized that all needs could be fulfilled internally, and external experiences don’t have to have the same effect on your emotional well-being. Easier said than done, of course, and it is a process I work through daily.
It sounds simple, and it really is, but unfortunately, we have been programmed to look outside of ourselves to meet our needs since birth. As an infant, you cry when you are hungry until you are fed by someone. This is a necessary process for a child, but unnecessary for an adult. Unfortunately, most never overcome this desire for external need-fulfillment.
I do my best to keep reminding myself to embrace the negative emotions that arise as a message. Sadness, the most prevalent emotion for me this year, when it arrives, I ask myself- what need is not being met that makes me feel sad right now?
By picking apart my needs through journaling and meditation, I can address them. Ultimately, all of those needs can be fulfilled by Spirit. I can share love and feel loved without someone else. I can be my own companion. I can provide myself with whatever I need to feel good again through quieting the mind and allowing my connection with Spirit to strengthen.
Through this work, as my needs become met, the sadness is processed, and the emotion fades, being replaced with Love, peace, understanding, and gratitude. The emotion is not dismissed, pushed away, or ignored, but used for its purpose- to notify me that I am in a state of contrast (not in alignment) and have to fulfill some of my own needs to get back into alignment.
This is something I try to do every day. Some days I forget, get distracted, or fall into old patterns where I let my mind run wild and trick me into thinking that I am a victim. My last article on Self-Compassion was an important lesson learned on how to be okay with being imperfect in this process. Thankfully, Karina understood all of this years ago and left notes around my apartment and in my office that, to this day, still remind me of the truth and help me get back on track.
I know now that I don’t need anyone else to be happy. I don’t need anyone else to live a fulfilled life. I don’t need anyone other than myself and Spirit to live a rich and extraordinary life. But, there is nothing wrong with wanting someone else, and there is a big difference between wanting and needing.
I don’t need a partner, I want one. In alignment, I am feeling good and moving through life in a flow state and will attract people aligned with that higher vibration. I know that each person that comes into my life is for a purpose and is another opportunity to grow, as all relationships are, and in alignment, I will manifest what I truly want.
This is in contrast to needing a partner. Coming from a state of lack, we cannot fulfill our own needs, so we seek another to fill them for us. The people we attract in this state, though still opportunities to grow, will be aligned with this lower vibration and will result in a rather tumultuous relationship. Two needy people together is a recipe for co-dependency, stress, and frustration.
It’s helpful to check yourself every so often. Are you wanting or needing?
Daily, my intention when I wake up is to find a way to feel good that day. The process that I am working with currently is this: I sit down to meditate, and I ask myself, “who is showing up at this moment?” Is it a tired Stephen? An anxious Stephen? An angry Stephen? I ask, and then I feel. I do this until I have insight into who has shown up. If the emotion is negative, I ask, “what needs are not being met?” If I am tired, I intend to take it slow and rest that day. If I am anxious, I come back to the present moment and let go of expectations. If I am sad, I picture myself as a little child and comfort him as a parent would.
Inevitably, as I discern the message from these emotions and provide myself with what I am needing, I start to feel better. The more I do this, the better I feel, and the more I find myself in a flow state. In flow, life unfolds in amazing ways. In flow, we expand and manifest. In flow, we live happier, healthier lives.
If you received any value from this article, please consider donating to help Stephen continue this blog and other writing projects. Thank you!