Upside of Negative Emotions

By Nicolas Gurley
As human beings we actively try to avoid painful or unpleasant experiences, even emotionally. In fact it has been shown that we spend more energy trying to avoid negative emotions rather than dealing with them head on and it often ends up doing us more harm than good. In the end we usually end up causing ourselves much more misery by putting up defenses against our negative emotions. Another negative side effect of attempting to not experience these feelings is that we often become so guarded that we could end up hurting others.
An alternative approach to dealing with negative emotions is to actually deal with the pain so we can find effective coping mechanisms and then move on. This allows us to be more adaptable emotionally which will enable us to better deal with emotionally challenging situations going forward. If we confront and deal with these emotions head on, we may also find ourselves feeling better and more refreshed rather than of staying stuck in the negative emotion. When we refuse to deal with our negative emotions, over time we may become increasingly depressed or anxious which could lead to unhealthy ways of coping.
The truth seems to be that we all try to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions, especially humiliation and shame. However, when our measures to avoid looking foolish become the center of our existence, we also may find we avoid taking any chances or adamantly going after things that we really want. If we can open ourselves up to the possibility of feeling humiliated, and understand we can change our thinking and beliefs about this, we may realize the very things we fear the most are not all that bad. If we could take the initiative to expose what humiliates us, we could eventually feel stronger and free of these self imposed constraints. If we could do this, and it’s not necessarily easy, we would no longer harbor the belief that if people knew this and that about us they would not like us and reject us. In other words, if we deal with our feelings of humiliation straight on it can make us more resilient, flexible and functional in our lives.
Of course, all this is always easier said than done. If you find that you often limit yourself in what you do because of such fears and would like to discuss and explore the possibilities of changing the way you think and behave, please feel free to contact me by email at or by phone at 917-525-2205 x9. You are also welcome to contact me or anyone of our therapist through the website

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