FOOD FOR THOUGHT
How often do you feel a strong emotion, and then immediately criticise yourself for feeling it? I do it ALL the time - I think most of us do.
We think 'oh I shouldn't feel this bad, there's someone worse off than me' or 'I don't deserve to be disappointed I didn't get something cause it's ungrateful for what I do have'. And whilst it may be true that someone is worse off than you or that you still have lots, you are allowed to feel these emotions. After all, an emotional reaction is not a choice. That's why it's called a reaction - because it's instinctive. You feel what you feel. You have a right to feel that emotion.
And this isn't exclusive to negative emotions. I think, particularly for females, there can be a lot of negativity around feeling proud of yourself or excited at an achievement. We are taught to make ourselves small, not to stand out. We are told that sharing achievements is showing off, and that apologising and self deprecation is more appropriate. But that is ridiculous - you deserve as much pride, glory and celebration as any other person.
So validate those emotions when they come. Listen to them, accept them and let them happen. BUT beware.....don't mistake validating your feelings for validating doubts & negative thoughts.
We've all heard them. Those annoying little guys that sit up in our head, spouting critical, doubting and nasty thoughts....and worst of all, they make us believe that it's all true! It's sort of like a radio channel of fake news in our heads, making us feel bad, guilty or ashamed. So obviously we DEFINITELY don't want to be validating these. If anything, we wanna throw them out the window or turn them off! Because FAKE NEWS is all they are - rephrase the thoughts into "my mind is telling me that......" because it helps remind us that it's just a thought, not the truth.
Okay but how do I know what things to validate and what not to???!!
MINDFULNESS! Spend time with yourself, listen to what's going on in your head, let your emotions out. Meditate, sit with calming music, go for a walk on your own or try journalling - different things will work for different people. Whatever helps you to be aware of what's going on in your head. If you catch yourself listening to and trusting those negative thoughts, remind yourself it's FAKE NEWS and you're not listening to it anymore. If you feel a strong emotion, allow yourself to feel it without judgement or shame.
Don't forget, we use our emotions to guide us through life. If people/situations/things make us feel happy, we pursue them. If they keep making us unhappy, we learn to remove them from our lives. This feedback is vital for us in navigating our way through life, so don't block emotions & feelings out - we need them!