Don’t Suppress Negative Emotions- Let them Go

Don’t Suppress Negative Emotions- Let them Go

By Desmond Yeoh SC

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

Tal Ben-Sharar PhD teaches positive psychology or in layman terms, the science of happiness, at the Harvard University. He is the author of the international bestselling book, ‘Being Happy’. He shot to fame when his class on positive psychology became the most popular class in Harvard, surpassing the class on ‘Introduction to Economics’!

One of Tal’s key messages is to allow ourselves to be human. Most of us expect perfection from ourselves and from life. When we face difficulties, we try to suppress our negative emotions and this has the effect of strengthening those negative emotions. He said that by denying those negative emotions, we are also denying the positive emotions.

It is useful to know the difference between suppression and letting go. We suppress negative emotions by trying to avoid them and distract ourselves. It is similar to drowning out a sound with a louder sound. We see those bad feelings as something that should not be there or some sort of punishment that are unfairly imposed on us. So, we try to run away from whatever circumstance that we think is the cause of our predicament.

Distractions are at best temporary. When we fill our life with activities in order to avoid feeling bad, we leave ourselves drained of precious energy which could have been better used to solve the problem which brought those emotions. If we indulge in alcohol to suppress our emotions, our body and mind will be significantly weakened after the initial high, leaving us even more susceptible to those negative feelings.

We let go of our emotions by resisting the temptation to distract ourselves from those emotions. We do the exact opposite; we spend time alone with them! By doing so, we do not waste our energy but retain them within our body. That energy can then be used towards understanding ourselves. We start to see our emotions as a friend, gently prodding us when we do not see things clearly as they are. We can look at the thoughts which fuel those emotions to see if there is another perspective to the problem. Our original way of thinking may not be fruitful and may just add to our pain. When we see that, we naturally let go of those thoughts and we start to feel peaceful. At that point, a realisation will dawn upon us; all our emotions, good or bad, are our friends. They help us grow.

Alone time is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. We know that if we lift weights, our muscles will grow. But if we do it non-stop for hours at end without any breaks, we will injure ourselves. In order for our muscles to develop properly, time must be allocated for recovery. We need frequent breaks in between sessions in order for our muscles to recover and grow.

This same principle applies to our entire being. We need time alone; doing nothing at all. This provides the badly needed recovery time for our mind.  When we are alone, our mind can become calm and ‘natural concentration’ can arise. Our mind becomes more focused and we are able to look at life from another perspective; with more clarity and wisdom. Oftentimes, we already have the solutions to our problems within our subconscious mind and it is only when we relax and calm down, will those solutions arise in our conscious mind.

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