One day I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across this one post that really stood out to me:
“The elimination diet: remove anger, regret, worry, resentment, guilt, and blame. Then watch your health and life improve.
I immediately doubled-tapped the post and followed up with my comment; This post is amazing! This is a difficult thing to do but with hard work it’s possible.” A couple minutes later, someone replied to my comment: “ How can you eliminate these feelings? I’m finding it difficult to do just that. Do you have any suggestions?” I reread the woman’s comment twice and took a deeper look at the post. I thought to myself; what suggestions could I possibly provide to eliminate these feelings? It wasn’t until I interchanged my perspective and saw this post through the eyes of a Therapist that I realize how deep the elimination process might be and the long-term effect that it may have. I want you to take a second and really think about the word eliminate; what does eliminate truly mean? It means to completely remove, get rid of. Is it possible to completely remove feelings such as anger, regret, worry, resentment, guilt, and blame to improve your life? Emotions can occur in flashes; have you ever felt quickly annoyed but shortly after the annoyance, you were over it. You just experienced a flash of emotions. However, some emotions may last longer. For example, feeling sad over the loss of a relationship or someone you love. What would happen if you tried to suppress long lasting intense negative emotions as if they never existed?
Intense Feelings Can Be Hard to Manage
I’m going to be honest with you, some feelings feel better than others; intense feelings may be overwhelming to deal with, which in turn, may make us want to get rid of them as if they never existed to keep from feeling that way ever again. At the time, it may seem like a good idea; life would be so much easier if we can eliminate those uncomfortable feelings once and for all. No one would ever hurt you again, and you would no longer have the ability to emotionally hurt yourself. Have you ever held your anger in so long that you explode over something ridiculously small and unrelated? This is only an example; avoiding the feeling doesn’t make it go away, it makes it stronger. Basically, the very feelings we are attempting to avoid will show up in other ways within our lives. Have you ever heard of suppression? Suppression is one of many ego defense mechanisms created by Sigmund Freud. Defense mechanisms operate at an unconscious level and can help ward off unpleasant feelings; such as anger, worry, resentment, guilt, and blame. They can also make good things feel better for the individual. Defense mechanisms are natural and normal. When they get out of proportion (i.e., used with frequency), neuroses develop, such as anxiety states, phobias, obsessions, or hysteria.
Life Without Feelings
What would your life look like without feelings? How could you truly be yourself without feelings? Feelings make you who you are; how could your personality appear if you have no way of expressing joy, fun, or what makes you unhappy. Your personality is filled with various dimensions of feelings and depth that separate you from other people. Simply put, your emotions are your natural reactions to the world around you. Prolonged suppression of emotions may possibly lead to lasting damage such as nervous disorders, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and many other conditions.
Feel the Feels
Accept those intense negative emotions! Its ok to feel anger, regret, worry, resentment, guilt, and blame. Its ok not to be ok. By avoiding thoughts or situations that lead to intense negative emotions, the person minimizes their discomfort; however, those intense feelings are still held in the subconscious creating a sense of wearying and underlying unease. Your feelings are what makes you who you are. We all have emotions; what differentiate us from each other is how we express our emotions. What is the key to understanding when negative emotions are negatively impacting your life? When negative emotions are impacting your relationships with others, your ability to work, and you find yourself expressing these negative emotions in a way that is detrimental to your overall well-being; that is when it becomes a serious problem. To recognize the problem, you need to know the negative emotions that you are feeling. The only way to know what you are feeling is to address them and not suppress them. I informed the woman my opinion on how to cope with these feelings; the fist step is awareness. I’m a strong advocate for therapy which was another thing I suggested to her. However, you can also take inventory, and work on yourself. If you find that you need additional support, therapy is always a good option.