Have you ever noticed that sometimes you have a hard time letting go of a negative emotion that feels really painful, an emotion you wish you could make disappear? In today’s post I’ll explain why that happens and also give you a few techniques to lessen the intensity of those unpleasant feelings.  (I provided one such technique in an earlier post, http://www.mortylefkoe.com/upset-today-upset/#.)

Why we resist letting go of painful feelings

When a man says: “I am a man, or a woman says: “I am a woman”, they are describing who they experience themselves to be.  They are describing part of their identity. Our gender is so much a part of us that if you weren’t the gender you are, you would no longer feel like “you.”

The same is frequently true for our intense emotions.  When you feel upset you experience: I am upset—with an emphasis both on the “I” and the “am.”  It feels like who you are is upset and that you are almost defined by that feeling.  Thus, when you feel upset, if the upset disappeared, it seems like the “you” that remained would not really be you, because the upset you are is no longer present.  If an emotion that seems like an inherent part of you—like part of who you are—disappears, it feels like you have been wiped out of existence

There’s another reason it can be hard to let go of a negative feeling.  If you try to dissolve the meaning (the occurring) that gave rise to the feeling, some part of you doesn’t want to let go of the meaning because it validates and justifies the feeling.  For example, imagine someone says or does something and you feel angry.  Assume you had given what the person said or did the meaning: If he really cared about me, he wouldn’t have done it.  The meaning you gave to the event justifies and validates your feeling of anger, which feels like a part of who you are.  If you dissolved the meaning and realized the event had no inherent meaning, you could no longer justify the anger.  So some part of you wants to hold on to the meaning.

How to lessen the intensity of your negative feelings

In the blog post in which I describe my recent upset I offered you one technique for lessening the intensity of your emotions.  (http://www.mortylefkoe.com/upset-today-upset/#.)  Here are three techniques that I’ve used personally.

1.  Get into the creator state using the Who Am I Really? Process.  In that state the negative emotion will disappear.

http://d3n3f57qjh51zc.cloudfront.net/who-am-i-really-new.mp3

2.  Get into the creator space using the following technique.

  • Realize that the emotion I am having now is being caused by the meaning I gave a reality that has no inherent meaning.
  • If I created the meaning that caused the feelings and thoughts, what does that make me?
  • Is it real now that I’m the consciousness that creates meanings that ultimately determine how I experience my life?
  • Check and see if you are in the creator space. The way to be certain is to ask yourself what’s possible (answer: anything) and ask yourself if you have any limitations (answer: no).

3.  “Step outside yourself” and observe yourself having feelings.  Say to yourself: “I have feelings; I am not my feelings.  They have nothing to do with reality.  They are not caused by reality.  My feelings are the result of automatic, unconscious occurrings that are not true.”  To the extent you can make this real you will be able to detach somewhat from your feelings.

This week’s exercise

The next time you experience an upset or any other negative feeling, notice that some part of you seems to be holding on to it.  See if my explanation accurately describes your experience.

Then, use any of the three techniques I described in this post to reduce the intensity of the feeling.

Please comment on this post and write your results from the exercise.

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