How To Avoid The #1 Sneakiest, Most Counterintuitive Block To Loving Yourself

Exactly where you are

by Kris Ward

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love yourself

{I touched on this a little bit in my last blog post, but decided to dive deeper into this one aspect of it (what gets in the way of loving ourselves and trusting that we’re right where we need to be) when my friend Kathryn Budig asked me to send her a meditation or exercise she could use in an upcoming Yoga workshop on the same topic.}

The Sneaky/Counterintuitive Block: Stuffing or ignoring a negative emotion.

Let’s be honest.  We all have negative thoughts, judgments and emotions –– especially when we get triggered by something or someone (including challenging Yoga poses that provoke our egos).

We aren’t conscious of the negative emotions OR our tendency to stuff them half the time, and in truth… they’re not even OURS.  They came to pass.  They’re part of the human experience –– the one big mind thinking itself.  We run into them or pick them up along our journey.  It’s when we believe that we’re the author of them and that they “mean” something about our character that we get into trouble.  We feel shame or fear and try to stuff it all down –– try to “act better” or  “think positively”.

While looking for the silver lining and focusing on the positive can be a good thing, it actually backfires and creates more harm than good if, in the process, we deny, stuff, or ignore a very REAL negative emotion.

What to do instead:

Give your emotions their right to live.

All emotions have a right to life, and they’ll fester and grow if they aren’t given that right.  (What we resist persists and grows stronger, whereas what we look at and accept exactly as it is tends to complete itself.)

In order for the good feeling emotions to come in, the bad feeling emotions have to move out.  And in order to move out, they simply must be acknowledged, accepted and released.

Just look at any toddler in the midst of a temper tantrum and you’ll see evidence of this (I see this in my two year old every day).  If the parent is compassionate and shows genuine interest in the child’s emotions, aiming to help the child productively express vs. alter the emotions (even if indeed they are negative and strongly frowned upon by our society/community), the child will almost always respond favorably and begin to work WITH the parent to find resolution and amend behavior where needed.

Why?

Because he’ll feel met, seen, understood and accepted –– and isn’t that what we ALL want?  The look on the child’s face will reveal that he feels trusted and respected, and in a matter of minutes, he’ll offer the parent the same in return –– all because there’s a feeling of “same team” vs. WAR.

Offer yourself this same compassion, patience and genuine interest the next time you notice the presence of a strong negative emotion.  Remain on your same team vs. going to war with yourself, and witness how quickly the charge diminishes.

Make it 100% OKAY to feel what you’re currently feeling.  Breathe to feel your current feeling more and just STAY, without censoring or reaching for a different feeling.

*Note: If you try to force a feeling of acceptance –– or worse, gratitude –– when you’re REALLY feeling like you want to PUNCH something (or someone), the resistance will only grow stronger, you won’t feel like you’re honoring yourself, and you won’t like the choices you make from that place.

So the first step (and probably the HARDEST) is to just take a moment and feel whatever is there.  Then the “energy in motion” (e-motion) can naturally work its way out.

If the timing is right and it feels accessible and relieving, you can try one of the following to help move the energy out:

  • a good cry
  • a fierce sprint around the block
  • sighing with sound over and over again from deep inside your gut
  • screaming into a pillow
  • shadow boxing or dancing your face off to loud music

If none of the above outlets make sense in the moment (like if you’re in a public place and you don’t want to freak people out or make them call the crazy people police to come and lock you up), just try vividly imagining yourself taking the venting action.

The biggest piece in all of this is that you have to meet yourself where you are –– be authentic about your temporary inauthenticity.  Recognize that you are resisting, then be your own best “vent buddy” and (even if you do it silently, to yourself, or journal it out on paper) let yourself feel… don’t edit.

Be like that Godsend of a friend who’s always willing to hear you vent HONESTLY –– f-bombs, finger pointing and all.

Give yourself full permission to feel exactly what you feel in this moment.  Don’t try to be happier or more aware.  That’s too big of a jump right now and it will just feel fake.  (Then you’d be more like that irritating friend who always tries to coach you and tell you how to be more positive, rather than just loving you as you are and giving you room to have whatever experience you’re having in the now).

Again, whatever outlet you choose for acknowledging and being with the upset, whether it’s internal or external, let the judgments or emotion flow freely and don’t make yourself wrong for it.

Realize that when you get honest like this, it’s as though your sweet, innocent inner child (your primal, innermost emotional core) is courageously reporting her raw, unedited experience to her wiser adult self, and all she really needs to know is that, despite her negative emotions, she is still worthy of love and belonging… she is perfectly imperfect and right where she needs to be.

It helps if “adult self you” can stay nothing in reply to the venting other than:

“Thank you… and I love you.”

Stay very connected to the fact that nothing needs to change –– neither you NOR the situation that triggered your upset need to be “fixed”.

This is nothing more than an opportunity to practice radical self-acceptance and learn true kindness –– the kind of kindness that will ripple out to affect every human being whose path you’ll cross.

The emotion just needs to be felt and have its right to life so it can be free to go back to where it came from.

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Kris Ward
Kris Ward is a Lifestyle Design Coach™ Trainer and the president and founder of AbundantYogi.com. She has helped to educate and inspire over 100,000 people worldwide out of painful conflict around money, self-sabotage, and inhibited self-expression into having the freedom and abundance to do what they love every day, and ...read more

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Read 2 comments

  1. Paula
    says

    Thank you for the quote attributed to the Buddha and for this: “Stay very connected to the fact that nothing needs to change”. I am often so outer-focused that I forget I am part of the universe too – no more, no less – and need to love myself accordingly. The references to children working through emotions are also helpful. If I can help a child learn to notice, feel and let go of (eventually) what she is feeling, I can practice doing that for myself as well. The compassion we naturally demonstrate toward children is just as important in our relationships with ourselves. And you’re right – as we exercise that compassion, we need to stay with the current emotion and let go of the need for something else to occur. Feeling in that moment might be excruciating, but turning away means having to feel it again some other day, some other way. I need to remember and trust that the feeling will pass.

    1. KrisWard
      says

      Nice call. And you’re so welcome Paula.