3 Steps To Overcoming Negative Feelings

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Post written by Nicole Witt.

First off, I want to say that there are really no “negative” feelings.

Feelings are neither good or bad.  They just are.

So when I said “negative” feelings in the title – what did I mean?

I’m talking about those emotions that tend to lead to isolation, depression and other negative outcomes.

The feelings themselves aren’t bad.  We just need to learn how to use those feelings so that they lead us on a more positive path.

1. Awareness

The 1st step is to be aware of the feeling.

This may sound simple, but I want you to dig deep.  Get beyond the surface emotions and find out what is really driving them.

You may feel out of sorts, bitchy, like you continually wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  But why?  What is really driving that feeling?

Is it sadness, discouragement, resentment?

Then take it deeper still.

For example, “Ok, I’m feeling sad about my breakup. Why?  I’m sad that my dreams didn’t come true.  Why?  That might mean that I was wrong about everything and that makes me feel worthless and stupid.”

When you get to the end of the string of whys – then you have found your true feelings.

Becoming aware is an intense process.

You have to live with your feelings, invite them in, ask them questions – maybe wallow in them a little bit to get to the real cause.

This takes courage as most of us want a quick fix and/or to appear happy – so we stuff them down, don’t deal with these feelings, and then act surprised when they surface again down the road.

2. Acceptance

The 2nd step is acceptance.  Don’t judge your feelings or yourself for having them.

As I said before, there are no negative feelings.

Accept them – put down that 2×4 and stop beating yourself up for having them.

Accept how they are affecting your life.

If they are keeping you from forging new relationships – realize this and accept it.

Accept them FOR NOW.

Once you have accepted them, you will start hearing a little voice inside you or maybe more of a burning feeling deep in your gut telling you that it is time to change them and to take…

3. Action

Now that you are aware and have accepted your true feelings and what impact they are having on your life, it is time to take action.

So, what can you do?

It doesn’t need to be a big action – like moving to another country and getting rid of all your stuff (although if that is what you are called to do – the more power to you).

Start small.

If you are feeling resentment, start practicing forgiveness by praying for the person who did you wrong.

If you are feeling worthless and undeserving of the good things in life, start practicing gratitude by listing 5 things everyday that you currently are blessed to have in your life.

Focus on an action that addresses the true feeling, not the symptom of that feeling (that can come later).

For example, take action on your feeling of emptiness that you currently trying to fill with food instead of just going on a diet.

Or take action on your feelings of sadness that are leading you to isolate instead of just forcing yourself to go out and party.

Final Thoughts

So just like AAA (Automobile Association of America) can get you back on the road when you have a flat tire or lock your keys inside your car, the 3 AAAs of Awareness, Acceptance, and Action can get you back on the road to living the vibrant life you desire.

It’s up to you.  Take the trip to the root of your feelings and see where they lead you.

Nicole is a Mediator, Conflict Resolution Coach, and founder of SerenityAfterDivorce.com where she helps women deal with divorce.  To find out the biggest mistakes women make after a divorce, grab her free special report.

photo source:chatelaine.com

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