Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
Many people believe negative emotion to be man’s worst enemy. So long as you condemn negative emotion (in yourself and others) you keep yourself apart from the power it contains. When you make negative emotion your ally, you stop being it’s slave and you become the master. And then, negative emotion won’t be your worst enemy. You will be it’s greatest master.
It’s easy to be a slave to joy – ain’t nobody I know complaining that joy causes suffering,whether it’s self induced joy or spontaneous. No one I know sais they wish joy didn’t come around when it does. No one feels that they are slave to “feel good” emotions. But how often do we feel that we are slaves to negative emotion? Not knowing what to do first to avoid, or run away from the pain and suffering caused my negative emotion. Never really seeking to befriend it.
How to make it your ally? Easy, get intimate with it, do as you would do with any good friend, listen to it, approach it with an open and receptive attitude, and simply be with it, before you do anything to change it. Seek first to understand. As you approach it this way, a wealth of information may be revealed to you about who you are, what you want and why this “negative” emotion is showing up. You may find that it actually has a greater purpose. You may also find that just by simply being with it without any resistance, it may dissipate.
Every negative emotion has the power to move you up towards joy if you look beyond the feeling of the emotion and seek it’s purpose or what it is telling you (about yourself or yourself vs a situation). Every emotion serves a purpose but we can better come to understand it’s purpose when we are open to it rather that fighting to keep it at bay. Once you make it your ally, when you experience it, you may recognize it’s purpose and be more resourceful in dealing with it. You may find that you experience sadness or depression when you are disconnected from you you really are. Because when you are feeling authentic, you may feel joyful, peaceful, or strong or powerful and confident. You may find that you experience anger when you have felt disempowered and want to feel empowered again. But until you become better acquainted with these emotions, you remain a slave to them, at the mercy of them and grasping at straws to feel better when they “come around”. Not knowing that they merely indicators and not knowing how to use them strategically. Worse, when you misunderstand them , you may condemn them in others and what good is that? But when you understand how serving they are, then you can recognize this in others and see beyond what we label negative emotion. You can see what is really going on below the surface of the emotion. You find it easier to be compassionate. You may find it easier to communicate. Instead of pushing against the emotion in others, you have more resources at your disposal in relating. Now you have not only empowered yourself but you are empowering others as well.
From this perspective, there is much to be gained within yourself and with others by getting better acquainted with these monsters. Maybe it’s worth taking a deeper peek at what’s hiding under the bed or in the closet. Maybe…. there are no monsters after all.