“We all feel bad,” a teacher once told me. “The trick is to not feel too bad over the mere fact that you’re going to feel bad sometimes.”
In my book, Freedom Without Permission, I proposed the following take on feelings:
Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.
Do you see your feelings as demons to be exorcised?
Do you treat every instance of feeling sad, or feeling jealous, or feeling upset as if something is fundamentally wrong with you?
People often use “positive thinking” as just another excuse for beating up on themselves. They read a self-help book and decide that they’re going to completely transform their “negative mindset” overnight. Then after getting angry about traffic the next day, they condemn themselves as a hopeless case.
If that sounds like a familiar experience to you, here’s an idea I’d like you to consider:
Your feelings are not the enemy. Your feelings are allies that can help you identify important insights about who you are, what makes you tick, what your comparative advantages are, and what strategies you need to adopt in order to create a freer life.
Feelings, especially the ones we don’t like, are a valuable source of self-knowledge.
Your Emotions Are Your Friends
When you feel angry, frustrated, irritated, or resentful, these feelings are like the friends who are inconveniently shining a light on the areas of your life that need constructive attention.