In this article, I will teach you how to let go of emotional pain by building doors, not walls for your unwanted emotions. I will also explain why building emotional walls around you is not helpful and will only trigger more painful feelings and experiences.
Moreover, I will show you how to understand, accept and manage your unwanted feelings. I will present the best 3 therapies and other practices that can help you achieve the life you have always wanted.
Understanding unwanted feelings
“Negative emotions are heavy baggage that slowly burns you down”- Tonmoy Acharjee
Over the years, we’ve learned to avoid things that cause us pain. When it comes to emotions, we are no different. Some emotions feel terrible so we’ve built walls around us in order to avoid these emotions.
We perceive our unwanted emotions as our enemies that try to conquer, enslave and ruin us. So we try to stop their impact on us by using disconnection, denial, numbness, distraction, avoidance or anger. However, these defense mechanisms are not effective as they trigger the opposite of the desired effect.
Why avoiding your unwanted emotions can help them take over you
“Negative emotions are like waves – they rise up to their peak and then fall and fade away. We avoid negative emotions because they feel so bad, but also because they can sometimes feel like they will stay forever. We can become afraid that that sadness and loneliness or fear represents “reality” and that once we give into it that is what our life will be like. The truth is, when you open up to your negative emotions, they will come and they will go.”- Unknown
They make you afraid. When you build emotional walls you give the unwanted emotions the power to surprise you. They become like monsters in the shadows and you will live your life trying to avoid them at all costs. This will stop you from taking the risks that will untimely contribute to the life you desire.
They make you feel guilty. Sometimes, no matter how much you try to defend yourself from the unwanted feelings, they will conquer and destroy your walls and find their way to you. As a result, you will not only experience the unwanted emotions, but also the emotions that arise from failing to defend yourself. Moreover, the inability to stop an emotion increases the amount of pain you experience.
You will re-live your painful emotions. Every time you try to avoid experiencing a painful emotion, you give it the power to control you. Your brain uses your past to predict the future. When you avoid at all costs emotions and feelings, you signal your brain to actively search for these emotions that trigger your pain. Paradoxically, you re-live the experience and the painful emotions in an attempt to avoid them.
They prevent you from feeling. When you suppress emotions, you give them the power to control you. They will grow around your walls and come in different and unexpected ways. Emotions that are not felt cannot be healed. Therapy and meditation are important tools you can use to become aware of hidden and unwanted emotions. The key is to learn how to live with the painful feelings, observe the negative impact they have in your life without identifying yourself with them and then let them go.
Open your door to unwanted feelings
”Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse
Building walls will prevent you from living the life you desire. It will keep you stuck, in fear and unable to take risks and uncover your full potential.
You learn to build walls since early age and most of the time, you are not even aware that they exist. You build your life around them and they become part of who you are and how you think about yourself.
When you accept that you cannot prevent emotions, you begin to develop feelings and behaviors that will help you cope with them instead of avoiding them. With time, practice and understanding of your emotions, you will learn how to let them in, but in your own terms. Learn more about how to master your emotions here.
How do you learn to break those walls and build doors to lead you towards the life you always wanted? There are different practices and therapies that will help you learn how to manage and control painful feelings.
There are 3 main therapies that can help you understand, accept and learn how to master your emotions:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common approach aiming to help you recognize your thoughts and how they influence your actions. It focuses on the present moment and it helps you let go of the past and concentrate on what you can change in the present.
The aim of CBT is to realize how much the issues affect you and your well-being and what steps you can take in order to change your thoughts and actions and create positive change. The thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions will be examined and the link between how your unwanted emotions influence your actions will be closely analyzed.
During CBT therapy, you will also be given the opportunity to look at the situation from another perspective. You will be presented with another choice to think and feel about the perceived problem. This will clarify your thoughts and you will gain a better understanding about how your thoughts and feelings influence your behavior.
CBT aims to stop a negative cycle that is created by your thoughts. By breaking the cycle and showing a new way to look at the situation in a more positive light, your mental health will improve and you will be able to challenge and replace negative thoughts and unwanted feelings.
2. Psychodynamic counseling aims to challenge your past in order to understand your present. It helps you gain insight on how your early childhood experiences affect your present days. The aim is to recognize ongoing relationship patterns, interpersonal struggles, personality and your stage of emotional development.
The goal of psychodynamic counseling is to bring self-awareness and self-empowerment in your life. By working towards gaining more understanding of your unwanted emotions, both in the past and present, you can heal past emotional wounds and shift unhealthy relationship patterns and behaviors.
Psychodynamic theory also argues that human behavior arises from both conscious and unconscious motives and that the act of talking about problems itself can help people find ways of understanding how their past influences their present behavior.
3. Humanistic counseling provides you with an opportunity to explore your personal growth and self-development. Humanistic counseling focuses on your understanding of who you are and what you feel.
During humanistic counseling, you will be prompted to acknowledge the variety of your choices and the possibility of creating personal choices. You will also gain self-awareness and self-realization.
This approach recognizes that humans have a tendency to block their full potential by hiding their true feelings and emotions. Humanistic approach aims to create a new opportunity to understand your unwanted emotions and learn how to overcome them.
Depending on personal needs and preferences, you can choose the therapy that will most benefit you. Some counselors use a combination of these approaches when trying to deal with unwanted feelings. Talk with your counselor about your preferred therapy and decide together what will best work for you.
Other ways to understand, accept and master your unwanted feelings and emotions
Change your thoughts. Focus on what you want, not what you fear. Your thoughts create your reality. By focusing on pleasant experiences, you will train your mind to look for more positive experiences. Read more about how to change your thoughts here.
Meditate. Meditation can help you understand your thoughts and feelings without getting carried away by them. Also, it allows you not only to notice the thoughts as they appear, but also to make a choice of how you respond to them.
Visualize. Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish reality from imaginary. By visualizing positive experiences and emotions, you condition your mind to produce more similar emotions. Create a safe place where you can go when you feel you have no control over your emotions. When you feel unwanted feelings are taking over you, close your eyes and visualize your safe place.
Use words that express self- confidence. Use words that express certainty and self-confidence to change the way you feel about yourself. Avoid using words like ‘I cannot, if, maybe, hope, wish, should, could’ and replace them with ‘I will, I can, certainly, when, definitely, sure’.
Use positive affirmation. Positive affirmations are an important tool that will help you deal with unwanted feelings and emotions. When you start your day with a positive attitude, you will experience the obstacles you face during the day as less significant, feeling more in control of your reaction.
I hope this article taught you how to replace the emotional walls you have built over the years with doors of opportunity. I wish you the best in your journey towards self-awareness, self-love and self-development.
“Being a positive person doesn’t mean you don’t feel negative emotions. It means you have faith in your ability to get through tough situations, hope for better days and the willingness to see beyond the drama.”- Leticia Rae
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more that happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
For counselling and coaching appointments scan the QR code or press here.