Negative Emotions: The True Story

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Negative emotions are normal. A daily part of life, they warn and often protect us. But negative emotions can also be dangerous and destructive. The difference depends on how long we allow them to hang around. 

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: FRIEND OR FOE?    A negative emotion can warn a child to avoid a stranger. But if that child fails to understand his fear and begins to automatically fear anyone who is different, well, that’s another matter. Then fear is no longer a friend but an enemy. Failure to understand and let go of a negative emotion is the problem, not the emotion itself.

5 WAYS NEGATIVE EMOTIONS CAN HURT US     Negative emotions we hold onto hurt us in five major ways. First, they use up energy. Second, they lock in painful and distorted thoughts and mental pictures. Third, they can lead to unhelpful behaviors. Fourth, they keep us in conflict. Fifth, they can lower our immune system and our ability to fight off disease. As Woody Allen implied in a film, he didn't deal with his feelings, he stuffed them and grew a tumor instead.

WHAT TO DO?    What’s the answer? Simple enough. We must stay aware of our negative emotions, acknowledge them, and let go of them safely and appropriately. By "safely and appropriately" I mean without playing the victim or deliberately hurting others. This is a learned skill. We can train ourselves to do this.

I have been a counselor/therapist in private practice for twenty plus years, taught graduate students at George Washington University, and recently published my first book, Become the Person You Were Meant to Be - The Choice-Cube Method would love to share with you what I have learned about the skill of managing negative emotions. Visit my website

Trying Hard To Stay Cool, Calm And Collected

Trying hard to stay calm, cool and collected!    This recent status report on Facebook caught my attention. In our super busy world, this statement sums up what many of us are trying to do, much of the time.

BODY   We try to stay calm, cool and collected and control stress in our body (tense shoulders, teeth grinding, sweating, and shallow breathing). But often, we fail to manage our stress because we don't know how. Or we ignore and avoid what our body tells us.

EMOTIONS     We may try, but find it impossible to control, negative emotions such as fear, anger, shame, and feeling overwhelmed. "I shouldn't feel this way." Perhaps we try to avoid them by distracting ourselves. Or we may avoid them as we block or ignore them. Going numb is a symptom of avoidance. 

MIND  - WILL   We often do the same things with unacceptable thoughts and desires. We try to control them and figure them out. Or try to avoid them as we distract ourselves or go numb. 

THEY DON'T JUST DISAPPEAR   Whether we try to avoid or control these reactions, we don't take responsibility for them. And so we fail to deal with them constructively. Does that settle the matter? Oh no. Those messages from our bodies, emotions, or minds go underground—into our subconscious. And there they stay until they gather enough power to resurface, or until circumstances force them into our awareness. 

A LOSE-LOSE SITUATION   So we create a lose-lose conflict. It I let it all hang out, I lose. I hurt people or make a fool of myself. But if I mindlessly and automatically try to avoid or control my thoughts, feelings and desires, I also lose because I don’t really resolve them. What’s a person to do? 

Good question. You can’t fix something if you are not aware of it. So why not allow yourself to think what you think, feel what you feel, want what you want? Willingness to stay aware gets you off auto-pilot. Now, you can take responsibiity for your reactions and make healthy changes.

TRY THE CHOICE-CUBE METHOD   The simple Choice-Cube self-help method can help you manage your body, thoughts, emotions, and desires. Here's how.

First, the method gives you a mental framework to help you stay in touch with what you feel think, and want. Second, there are simple tools to help you do what’s best for you and for those you care for. Third, there are four key steps to guide your change, in a rliable, systematic way, from inappropriate defensiveness to healthy problem-solving.

Using this method, you learn to feel, think, and want without having to act on it. Instead, you learn to use the framework, tools, and steps to make important changes and take the best course of action. You become your own BFF—best friend forever--and relate in a healthy way to those you care for. 

The 8 Emotions You Would Do Well To Let Go Of Right Away

Yes indeed. The best things in life come in small packages! For example, the little package of 4 positive emotions--PACS (peace, acceptance, confidence, satisfaction)--can boost your life.

But thereare 8 negative emotions--PACS-FOGD-- that can sink it. These are the 8 negative PACS-FOGD emotions you would do well to let go of right away. PACS-FOGD emotions have many expressions that vary in intensity and can overwhelm the positive ones. Take a look.

1. Pride (negative) We compare ourselves to others to feel better or superior to them. This is the flip side of shame. We try to be superior to others to avoid feeling shame.  

Expressions of Pride (negative): arrogant, better-than, boastful, cold, condescending, contemptuous, critical, disdaining, judgmental, one-up, perfectionist, pitying, well-positioned, prejudiced, self righteous, self-satisfied, shameless, stiff-backed, superior, uncompromising, vain

2. Anger  Unless we acknowledge and manage it well, it can easily create a downward spiral from offended to hurt to resentful to a pervasive bitter angry judgment that keeps us desperately stuck in the shadows.

Expressions of Anger: annoyed, argumentative, bitter, bloodlust, cold, cruel, demanding, destructive, distempered, despising, frustrated, grudge-holding, hateful, ill-humored, impatient, judgmental, murderous, merciless, oppositional, outraged, persecuting, pouting, rageful, rebellious, resentful, resistant, shameful, spiteful, stubborn, sullen, vengeful, vicious, violent, willful

3. Craving/Lust   It is driven by our desire to have or control a person, thing, or process. It can produce behaviors that seem effective but are truly damaging.

Expressions of Craving/Lust: ambitious, busyness, compulsive, controlling, covetous, demanding, devious, devouring, envious, exploitative, fixated, grasping, greedy, if only I could, longing, lustful, miserly, never satisfied, obsessed, feeling pain, panting, perfectionist, position, power-hungry, possessive, predatory, pulled, ravenous, reckless, selfish, shameless, starved, urgent, vengeful, yearning

4. Shame  It is self-conscious embarrassment, and hurts. Some people prefer to endure terrible consequences--depression, abuse, self-loathing, suicide,-- instead of facing their shame.

Expressions of Shame: a mistake, crushed, defiled, deflated, defective, deformed, dirty, embarrassment, evil, flawed, flushed/hot, humiliated, inadequate, imperfect, looking cheap/foolish/silly, no-good, pain, put-down, pitiful, red-faced, ridiculous, self-conscious, small, tortured, unsuitable, unfit, unlovable, wrong, worthless

5. Fear  It feeds on uncertainty and unpredictability. We feel fear when we can’t solve a problem, or feel uncertainty and doubt. Fear is the only emotion that focuses on the future.

Expressions of Fear: afraid, anxious, avoiding, cautious, controlling, cowardly, distrustful, fleeing, frantic, guilty, hesitant, hiding, horror, hysterical, inhibited, insecure, mistrusting, nervous, out of control, panic, paralysis, paranoid, shy, suspicious, terror, tormented, threatened, trapped, uncertain, uneasy, unprotected, worried

6.Overwhelm   It has 2 expressions. One: we “split off” from all feelings and become numb. Two: we feel wired, agitated, panicky, or hysterical.

Expressions of Overwhelm: apathetic, bored, bewildered, chaos, collapsed, crazy, confused, defeated, depressed, detached, discouraged, disillusioned, doomed, double-minded, exhausted, failure, forgetfulness, give up, give in, helpless, hopeless, horror, hysterical, learned helplessness, impotent, isolated, indecisive, indifferent, invisible, lazy, leaden, lethargic, lifeless, loser, negative, no control, numb, overwhelmed, paralyzed, powerless, preoccupied, resigned, shocked, stunned, spacey, stuck, suicidal, tired, trapped, unfocused, useless, why try?, worthless

7. Grief   It is simply a part of life. We all sustain losses that bring us grief. It becomes a problem when we get stuck in it or are afraid to feel it for fear of drowning in it. We must release it well otherwise we strengthen it.

Expressions of Grief: abandoned, abused, agonizing, anguished, bereft, betrayed, brokenhearted, cheated, despairing, disappointed, feeling loss, forgotten, gloomy, guilty, heartsick, hurt, ignored, inadequate, irrelevant, left out, miserable, misunderstood, neglected, self-pitying, regretting, rejected, remorseful, sad, sorrowful, repentant, tearful, unimportant, unlucky, unloved, unwanted, wounded

8. Disgust  It is feeling turned off, repelled, or sickened by something.

Expressions: disgusted, distaste, foul, nasty, nauseated, offensive, putrid, repelled, repugnant, revulsion, sickened, vile, “yuck”

“But I’ve been drowning in these emotions for years and don’t know how to get out of them,” you say?

The positive news is that you can stop drowning! A new way of dealing with negative emotions is available for you.  Now!  Copyright Dr. Beth Blevins Cujé 2009

Negative Emotions: The True Story

Negative emotions are normal. A daily part of life, they warn and often protect us. But negative emotions can also be dangerous and destructive. The difference depends on how long we allow them to hang around.

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: FRIEND OR FOE?    A negative emotion can warn a child to avoid a stranger. But if that child fails to understand his fear and begins to automatically fear anyone who is different, well, that’s another matter. Then fear is no longer a friend but an enemy. Failure to understand and let go of a negative emotion is the problem, not the emotion itself.
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