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  • Allison Ramsey, Asheville Grief Counselor

Try Ignoring Your Emotions

Try Ignoring Your Emotions

A culture that values independence and productivity tends to deem emotions burdensome. When people are too busy feeling, they’re not working or being as productive as they could be. Not to mention it just plain sucks to feel bad. Of course we try to quickly get rid of painful emotions when we have them. And how do we get rid of painful emotions? We distract by watching television, getting in a fight with a spouse, drinking too much, throwing ourselves into our work. We’ll do anything to not have to feel those emotions. But when we do this long enough, the pain catches up to us.

So what if we were to consider painful emotions differently? What if we were to stop, notice them, and be curious about them? Emotions are information. We don’t have useless emotions. Emotions are a way for our brains to tell us something valuable about our experience. When we listen to the information our emotions are conveying, they can motivate us to act. If you realize public speaking makes you anxious, but your boss is telling you that you need to give more presentations at work in order to be successful, your anxiety may be the thing that motivates you to take a public speaking class or see a counselor about calming your stage fright. Attempting to ignore this anxiety may lead to you avoid public speaking and your career may suffer.

The thing about noticing and considering your emotions is that it’s probably going to require you do something about them if you want to feel differently. We cannot rely on how we feel in order to feel differently. If you’re feeling sad or anxious and try to change that feeling by doing the distracting things I listed above, you’re likely to still feel bad after all that effort. You need to act how you want to feel. If you want to feel hopeful or proud, then you have take an action that will instill that feeling in you. Sounds easy, right? Only if you bring along your willingness to feel whatever feelings come up in that process. If you want to be a confident public speaker, you’re going to have to endure the discomfort of taking a public speaking class, and yes, practicing public speaking so that soon, you will feel confident and proud of your public speaking abilities.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable if it puts you on a path to living the life you want to live?

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