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Ignoring negative emotions is like ignoring someone knocking on the door, a cat crying outside or a 4 year old tugging at your Shirt to take them to McDonald’s.

The more you ignore what you are feeling (negatively), to me and many people I know – the louder it becomes.

It’s a bit like, when say you are busy studying in a quiet library and someone taps a pen on the desk, or say busy in your office – and someone plays some song that drives you nuts (Brittany Spears does it for me).  In fact, when I hear her going off – my “Positive Thinking” goes out the window for sure! No amount of “Positivity” can get me over the pain!

You ignore it, ignore it, then eventually you start to go nuts! In fact, the more you “Try” to ignore it, it almost seems the more powerful it becomes.  Then eventually you end up moving, turning down the radio or asking them *nicely* to turn it down.

One thing I have realized in my own life, is that I have been a real “Bottler” of emotions.  If something let’s say not quite fairly is being done to me, I have a real tendency to “Ignore It” because:

– I need to be “More Flexible”.

– I need to be “Nicer”.

– I need to be “More Accommodating”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we run around like “Control Freaks” and dictate to everyone what we want.  That is the other extreme of what I am saying which isn’t any better.  In fact, “Control Freaks” can often be the type of people that contribute to the problems that this blog post is attempting to resolve!  What I am suggesting as I have found (not only for myself but many others), if you are the type of person that tends to “Take Stuff” to the extreme – it isn’t very good for you.  Quite often, the stress you end up taking on can really show it’s ugly face in a wide range of ways including:

– Passive Aggression,

– Fatigue & General Loss of Energy,

– Bottling up & Exploding,

– And in extreme circumstances – can lead to serious physical issues (i.e. Anxiety, Depression, Heart Attacks etc).

One thing that has really come clear to me in my life lately, is that my own act of “Ignoring” bad stuff around me is actually causing me harm.  That is, besides not “Feeling Right” it can really leave you on edge and run you down over a period of time.  What I have learnt is that it’s really critical to acknowledge your so called “Negative Emotions” and take action on them.  It may be changing something in your outside world or even changing the way you look at things.

This is where too much Positive Thinking can get you into trouble.  If you are “too Positive” it can cause you to ignore all the “Negative Stuff” which leads to the above problems.  Like many things in life – a healthy balance of things are required.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Ed,

    So aptly put:

    “The more you ignore what you are feeling (negatively)…– the louder it becomes.”

    Unfortunatley for a lot of us to feel negative in any way is drummed into us as a bad thing to experience thus we need to avoid at all costs! The most likely outcome are those issues you mentioned.

    If you do not acknowledge your emotions they have their ways to ensure they are being heard. I often teach people that emotions are fleeting, it is your actions that reinforce them and create the mood. If you acknowledge your emotion it soon wanes. I often use the saying “Short term pain for long term pain”. People often act in the opposite: “Short term gain for long term pain”.

    I also teach people that emotions have a purpose to motivate us to action. For example, driving a car is anxiety provoking thus we need to obey road rules and be mindful of other drivers and pedestrians. If you are too anxious to the point that you can’t get in a car then the anxiety is unhelpful (as you are coping by avoiding); as long as we meet our goals our emotions are helpful.

    I advise people that if they are experiencing a negative emotion there is obviously a problem at hand that requires solving. Don’t solve the problem then expect your initial pain to turn into suffering.

    Yes, negative emotions are painful but only for a short while if you acknowledge them; ignore them then expect a whole lot of hurt.


    P.S. There is some truth to the adage about getting wiser with age; 20-years ago you would have thought you knew everything like every other adolescent and twenty-something.

  2. Hey thanks Ed.
    Wonderfully put.
    I live with an EXTREMELY positive person and it can leave me feeling so empty inside as if he’s not hearing what I”m saying because everything has to have some kind of positive bent to it.
    I believe that too many people are getting on the band-wagon about trying to look at the positive all the time.
    I just found this article this morning and it was just such a blessing to me to know that I”m not crazy, that there is a point where being positive all the time can actually harmful!
    God bless

    • Hello Chris,

      Many kind thanks for the comment and I can promise you that you are not crazy. But, what I can tell you is that the “Positive Thinkers” will try and make you think that your crazy and by either paying them money (to go to their seminars) or learn to think how they think – you won’t be “Crazy” anymore.

      I don’t know who you are living with, but I bet you that they are actually not “that positive” and it’s just a put on to try and make themselves feel better.

      I know some really “Positive People” in the world and they aren’t like those crazies – they are geninely happy, posiitive people – my mother being a good example, suffered Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder from the Police Force and suffered from cancer. She is truly positive.

      The ones I always pick on are those who deep down aren’t really positive – but then attend a seminar or two and make out how happy they are (those are the “Crazy” ones!).

      Trust me I know the way you feel 🙂

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