The Yin & Yang of Feelings

As a society, we prefer to focus on negative elements instead of the positive. This is especially true in the realm of personal feelings. We focus so much on negative feelings that we lose sight of how to learn and grow from them.

Each feeling has a positive and a negative aspect and usually results from an action either we or someone close to us made. How we perceive these feelings is entirely up to us, whether to focus on the positive or the negative. None of us want to waste time or energy on destructive feelings but instead use that energy to effortlessly change ourselves for the better. Rarely do we realize this, instead just passively “going with the flow.”

Realizing when negative feelings arise whenever something happens is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Usually when we are experiencing negative feelings, we are at our weakest. Negative feelings arise whenever we blame ourselves for the inherent effects from a choice that we made. None of us go out with the intent to hurt others, but life and people are complex things which no one is perfectly able to predict. We only wish to do right by ourselves but unfortunately our individual paths may contradict another’s. Instead of seeing a mistake for what it is, we focus that blame into a form of self-hate, further fueling the negative feelings.

Whenever a negative feeling arises, give it a name: “I feel guilty because I made someone else regret a decision that they made after offering my opinions on it.” By naming these feelings, we can associate the positive aspect to the same feeling in order for it to become constructive: “I must let people make their own decisions and only offer my opinions when asked. When I offer my opinions, I must caveat that I realize what would be best for me may not be the best for them. We are all different.”

Depending on the situation in which the negative feelings arise, this can either be a quick fix or a long-term dilemma that we have to resolve. For more difficult situations and the longer we spend on them, the more susceptible we are to revert back to negative feelings. Pause, take a step back, breathe… Nothing is ever so critical that it needs to be resolved right this moment. We are more than our emotions and if we take a short break from them we can refocus our efforts with a clearer mind.

There is always a positive aspect to the situations and feelings we encounter and lessons and growth to be had from them. For our feelings, we can choose how we let ourselves be affected by them. Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life…

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Who Are You?

If I were to ask who are you, what would your response be? “I am an American” or “I am a manager” or “I am a Christian” etc… All these examples are only monikers of what you are, but never who you are. To identify by these simple labels excludes everything else, restricting further depth and meaning.

There are terms that we identify by more easily than others. Yes, these make for a succinct and quick identifier in order to convey and relate understanding to someone else but rarely are they ever completely accurate or entirely true. The problem that grows from this is that we eventually start identifying ourselves by these same terms, losing or never really discovering our own sense of self because of it.

We see everything in terms of what they are like instead of what they are. Today’s day and age appears obsessed with being able to relate to something else instead of simply being. We try to be Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, a manager, a worker, a leader, instead of just being ourselves. These terms and titles don’t identify us, but we try and let them to anyways. Never do we stop to figure out what makes us who we really are as we are a culmination of our experiences.

So let me ask again: Who are you?