top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrian Lissak

That 'Negative' Emotion Is Actually Your Friend

While “don’t worry, be happy” has a nice ring to it as a song lyric, it’s not such practical advice. The fact is, we are human, and to be human means to have conflicting emotions. Life ain’t always peaches, and that’s okay. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, the more I think about it, I’m not even sure what “bad” means when it comes to our emotions.

We live today in a world where hyper-positivity is the new motif. In many ways that’s good, as we’re starting to realize the power we have in choosing our perspective. But within this framework, what am I supposed to do when I have a so-called “negative” emotion? Am I just supposed to decide to stop having that feeling? Well, that doesn’t really work. So how do these “negative” emotions fit into a “positive” mindset?

What if we started viewing that “negative” emotion as a friend? As a messenger, come to tell us something very important. As an intrinsic part of us, of being human. I think if you ask any actually happy human, they’ll tell you that being happy does not mean that you never feel anything but happiness. That sounds terrifying to me, actually, like narrowing down my box of crayons to just one color.

Anxiety, stress, anger, sadness, are all part of being human. When they appear, I know it is for a reason. Something isn’t balanced, and that tripped my warning signals. Ignoring them does not make them go away. Quite the contrary. They’re like a little kid who runs up to you and really wants to tell you something. If you ignore him, he is not going to mope away quietly. He’s going to get louder and louder, throwing a tantrum if necessary, until you pay him attention. And so it is with emotions. Ignoring them only fuels them.

Next time an emotion pops up that you’re less comfortable with (I can stop calling them negative now), instead of running from it, face it. Look it square in the face as you would a friend and say “Hi, what's up? What have you got to tell me right now?” I literally have this conversation out loud to myself. (Pro tip: if in public, hold your phone up to your ear while talking to yourself, and you won’t look so crazy). The most wonderful part is that I receive an answer! In my own voice, I get an answer.

Being in constant conversation with yourself is vital to living a life that is true to you. Without that inner dialogue, it’s way too easy to fall into a flat routine that feels like you are just a hamster on its wheel. That’s where anxiety, stress, anger, all the red flags pop up to say “Whoa! What the heck are you doing?” Exactly as a good friend would. Otherwise, you’re going to end up somewhere you don’t want to be, and you won’t be so sure how you got there.

No, it’s not always so easy. Life takes effort. A lot of effort. Yes, there are techniques. Do I still sometimes get overtaken by stress? Yes. Does it happen less now that I can view it as a friend instead of my mortal enemy? Definitely. So, start talking to yourself! The human is a miraculously designed being, part and parcel of the universe which intuitively trends towards balance, stability, and healing. That “negative” emotion is one of the best friends you’ll ever have.

45 views0 comments


bottom of page