What do you do when you feel upset, angry or envious of someone? Do you ignore your emotions and hope they pass, do you press, squat and snatch your rage out with a heavy weights session, or do you crawl into bed with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s?
I don’t get upset easily, but something happened to me recently that really opened my eyes to how I deal with my own negative emotions. Here’s my story.
My first stop after my 3 month stint in New York was London. My original plan was to visit a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in 18 months. I was so excited for our reunion, and assumed we would hang out just like old times.
However, as my visit drew closer, it became clear that my friend no longer wanted to stay in close contact with me. My emails were ignored for months, and then I finally received a curt message confirming my fears: this person no longer wanted to be friends.
At first I was confused and upset. Was it something I had done? Does she hate me? Why would she hate me? Is there something wrong with her? Is she ok? I couldn’t understand this sudden rejection, and it bothered me so much it actually brought me to tears. (And believe me, I do NOT usually get very emotional!)
A chat with The Happiness Coach
I basically dealt with the situation by trying not to think about it. It was only when I was skyping my good friend Nat that I mentioned how I was feeling. Nat happens to be an amazing life coach, and she gently asked me: “Everything we do or feel is out of fear or love. What is it that you fear?”
Rejection, I suppose. Rejection by someone I care about, and whose friendship I highly value. “You can’t change your friend’s mindset, but you can change yours,” Nat said. “Instead of feeling angry towards her, turn it around to come from a place of love. If you really do care about your friend, then you should want her to be happy with whatever she chooses in life, whether that involves you or not.”
It was an enlightening way of looking at the situation. I realized: why should I waste my energy on someone who has an overall negative impact on me? I made a choice to accept my friend’s decision and to focus instead on the people who DO want to be a part of my life, and who have a positive impact. Sure, I may have lost one close friendship this year, but I have GAINED many other incredible friendships, for which I am so grateful.
The lessons learned
– If you’re feeling something negative towards someone else, whether it be anger, jealousy or resentment, know that it’s usually the result of fear. Next time you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself “What is it that I fear?”
– Remember that the way you feel has NOTHING to do with the other person. You can’t control how they think, act or feel, but you can control what YOU think, act and feel. Good to know, yes?
– Likewise, if someone projects a negative thought or action on to you – maybe through criticism or a hurtful comment – remember that it’s nothing to do with YOU, and everything to do with THEM. They are most likely experiencing some sort of FEAR. So instead of getting angry at them, ask: “Are you ok?”
How to deal with your negative emotions
It may sound counter intuitive, but sending a message of love to the person you’re feeling negative towards REALLY HELPS. Be genuine and sincere – tell them that you care, and that you’re happy for them. If you’re feeling envious: congratulate them, or tell them you’re inspired or impressed by what they’re doing. I’ve done it, and it’s amazing how liberating it feels.
I learned a valuable lesson from that one phone call with Nat. Not only did she help me deal with that particular situation, but now I know how to handle my mind the next time I feel upset, worried or angry. I’m on my way to becoming the ‘master of my own mind’, and I know that you can to!
I want to say a massive thank you to Natalia Dewiyani for your phenomenal help. You are amazing and I am so lucky to have you in my life. If you want to learn more about Nat and her incredible work, check out The Happiness Paradigm. (PS, Nat did NOT ask me to write this post, nor am I affiliated with her company. I just love her work and know that she can help you just as she helped me. Be sure to check out her stuff!)