Last week, I wrote a blog post about how to beat the blues and feel happier fast. But sometimes what we’re feeling is more than just “the blues.” Sometimes it takes a little more to let go of the painful emotions and feel happy.
There is a common misconception about the Law of Attraction. Many people think it means you’re supposed to be “happy” and “positive” all of the time. They think it’s not okay to feel upset or down. They think they’re doing something “wrong” if they are upset about something. They think that means they’re not “practicing” the Law of Attraction “right.” And then they criticize themselves, which adds insult to injury.
Think about how you feel when you’ve had a bad day at work and meet a friend for dinner. You tell your friend about your day, and instead of some compassion and understanding, you get criticism: “Well at least you have a job. You should be grateful for the work and the money. So many people would love to trade places with you.” How would that make you feel? Pretty crummy, right?
That’s what we do to ourselves when we invalidate our feelings. Maybe we aren’t saying those exact words, but the feeling we are giving to ourselves is that what we are feeling isn’t okay and that we shouldn’t be feeling that way. Instead, we should be feeling happy, grateful, etc.
If only it were that simple. It would be great if we could just flip a switch and feel the way we want. But we don’t work that way. We have feelings for a reason, and they need to be acknowledged and dealt with, not invalidated and stuffed down.
When we judge our feelings and push them down, they don’t go away. They are still affecting us, just not on a conscious level. But they’re still there, and they’re still affecting our energy. So the idea is not to judge and invalidate and stuff down your negative feelings because in reality that doesn’t resolve anything, it just perpetuates it.
What do we do instead?
First, you need to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling – without judgment. Just let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling – good or bad. You may need to express your emotions by crying or screaming (where no one will hear you – your car is a good place for this!). Sometimes writing out how you feel in a journal helps to vent and get all that energy out of your body.
That is key. Emotions are energy. So whatever emotion you’re feeling means you have that energy in your body. And stuffing it down doesn’t eliminate it; it just pushes that energy deeper inside your body.
So the first thing you want to do is acknowledge your emotions and express them in an appropriate way. You may also feel better doing something physical, like working out or taking a walk or run. Because these emotions are energy in the body, physical activity will often help to release them.
You may find that some combination of these activities works best for you. Like maybe screaming in your car, journaling and then going for a walk.
Once you’ve acknowledged and expressed your feelings appropriately, you should find yourself feeling a sense of relief. Some people feel lighter after doing this, like a huge weight has been lifted off of them.
What if you’re doing these actions and still feel stuck?
Then it’s likely because you’re holding yourself back. If you’re not feeling a sense of relief, you probably need to do a little more venting. You may need to give yourself permission to feel and express what you’re feeling. You may be stuck in judgment that it’s not okay to feel this way, and it’s even worse to let yourself express those feelings.
If you’re feeling stuck, recognize that it is okay for you to feel your feelings. Feelings aren’t good or bad; they just are. (Yes, they do have a vibrational frequency, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. This is about releasing judgment on your emotions.)
I’m giving you permission to feel whatever you feel. Period.
Then also realize that the only way to really get rid of these unwanted emotions is to get them out of your body. Pretending they’re not there doesn’t work; they’re just hiding underneath your conscious mind. It’s only by expressing your emotions that you can actually get them out of your body.
And third, the ways I’m suggesting you express these emotions are all healthy and safe. So there is no good reason not to express your unwanted emotions by crying, screaming (in private), journaling, and moving your body.
Note: If you’re dealing with some deeper, previously buried painful emotions, it may take some time to unearth and fully express the depth of the emotions. Set aside some time every day to focus on healthy venting. It’s not unusual to feel tired afterwards, so nighttime is a good time to plan on doing this.
Once you’ve vented and are feeling lighter, you can turn your attention towards doing something positive. What would make you feel good? Fresh flowers? A hot bath? A cup of hot tea? Curling up with a good book? Think about things you can do to feel better.
Note that these are healthy actions. This isn’t the time to have French fries or a drink. Food and alcohol numb your emotions. If that’s your go-to, then you may want to do some more healthy venting, and also look at healthy, empowering ways you can nurture yourself. Here’s a blog post with 50 ways to nurture yourself!
Now that we have acknowledged our feelings and vented them in a healthy way, and taken some time to nurture ourselves, we are free to shift to the positive, high vibrational emotions. This should really happen naturally once the painful emotions have been released. But if you’re in the habit of stuffing down painful emotions, it may take you a while to get there. I would recommend taking some time every day to release painful emotions. If nothing is coming up for you, journaling is a good place to start. Also, get into the habit of nurturing yourself. Finally, take conscious, consistent action to make yourself happier. This blog post has 10 actions you can take that will move you out of feeling blue and into happiness.