Negative Feelings and Self-Kindness

The key to healing is the radical acceptance of all our emotions.”

It can be hard to sit with our negative emotions, and to simply say in a non-judgmental voice:

This is exactly how I feel.”

Adopting that approach is often very difficult, and especially for those who’ve been deeply traumatized.

But, really, we don’t have to do anything at all.

We needn’t act upon them. We needn’t bury them.

We needn’t exorcise them, or make them disappear.

And we don’t have to change them into positive emotions.

Instead, the best thing we can do is to become curious, and to sit with our emotions, and observe what’s happening in us.

And as we do this, we’ll find that they usually pass through us, that they slowly dissipate, and they start to fade way …

Then we return to a place of equilibrium again.

What Does This Teach Us About Handling Tough Emotions?

This means we don’t have to squash them.

And we don’t have to numb them.

And we don’t have to reject them

Or to feel ashamed of them.

In fact, the worst thing we can do is to harshly sit in judgment, and to experience contempt towards these painful, raw emotions. 

What Else Does This Tell Us?

It means there’s no place in our life for self-rejecting comments like:

What on earth is wrong with you?”

Or: “You shouldn’t have these feelings.”

Or: “Why can’t you just be normal.”

Or: “You must put this behind you.”

Or:“You’re acting like you’re crazy.”

Or: “You really must move on.”

The Role of Self-Kindness

Self kindness is a mindset that allows us to “just be”.

There are no “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. It’s devoid of harsh demands.

And it frees us from despair – for now there are no measuring sticks. All feelings are accepted, and acceptable, to us.

And, ironically, this mindset will help to set us free.

For self-kindness is the ointment that heals, eventually. 

 Something to Remember

Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through.” – Kristin Neff

13 thoughts on “Negative Feelings and Self-Kindness

  1. I have been going through something that I have not been able to get past. I love the woman who hurt me terribly and I have no clue why but it doesn’t matter and I am just a perfect emotional intellectual spiritual and physical place that I have a hope she feels me and she is not forgotten about me already

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  2. And we don’t have to change them into positive emotions.
    Thank you! I love this for so many reasons.

    Lately, I’ve been playing a little visual game—watching the movie play in my mind’s eye. An old horror scene will pop up and I hear the inner director say, “CUT” and I just simply cut that scene out—beginning to end. It falls away and the movie resumes…dark comedy. 😊💚

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  3. Wonderful.. her book really helped me.. We hurt ourselves so much my resisting the so called negative.. That said often these are not the voices of truth as we know only painful messages we hear and here I am not talking about a valid response to hurt or trauma but to those voices that try to diminish the full power of who we really are when we know ourselves to be loved.

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  4. So well said. Yes, we need to be able to speak out our truths and feel all the emotions. But the underlying negative messages are not the truth of who we are. What we need towards believing in our hearts is that we are valuable, absolutely worthy of love, kindness, valuing and cherishing … But it is definitely a journey. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  5. Kristen Neff was the first “personal growth” book that truly changed how I view myself and others. Through a lot of therapy I have learned the old platitude “feel your feelings” is absolutely paramount to living a genuine, engaged life. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you found the post helpful.
      Kristen Neff’s books and podcasts are so helpful! and you are absolutely right: we do need to feel our feelings. Truly, that is the only way to freedom and healing. Have a great weekend 🙂

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