Embracing The Negative Fifty
One of the most significant “theories” that changed my view and experience of life is that life is 50/50. Half the time we are going to experience positive emotions and the other half, we are going to experience negative emotions.
In one of my previous posts, I briefly explained this theory and how we can make sense of it. I also mentioned that most of us unconsciously believe that life should be one hundred percent positive or, at a minimum, eighty percent.
Believing in the 50/50 has been very freeing for me. One of the benefits has been that I’ve been able to cut down on buffering activities.
Accepting that negative emotions are present in half of my life has also helped me cut down on the number of shoulds I had imposed on myself, others, and the world.
For example, it makes no sense for me to think that there should not be a pandemic, we should let the virus take its natural course, and we should not have to do homeschooling. All of these shoulds only cause me to feel frustrated and judge all those involved in the situation. These shoulds end up creating amplified negativity in my life. When I turn inwards instead and take notice that the circumstances in the world are neutral and how I’m interpreting them is my choice, I can then take ownership of the negative emotions that I have created with my mind.
It’s not humanly possible to have positive thoughts one hundred percent of the time. Maybe if you are a Buddhist monk who spends a large part of your time meditating, and can achieve high levels of enlightenment. As much as I would love to spend an entire week or month in a Buddhist monastery, I’m not even close to tapping into complete awareness every second of my life.
I accept that I have negative emotions half the time, and they originate in my thinking. This last week was a perfect example for me. I just moved to a new home and the process of moving provided my brain with plenty of opportunities to think thoughts that are not pretty. The ones that caused me to be stressed, upset, and let’s not forget frustrated (with a sprinkle of anger.)
I can clearly see the movie playing in my mind. If I had to put it under a Netflix category, I’d say it’d fall under the drama or horror section. It’s interesting to hit replay now and be aware, but when I was in it, I was swimming in a pool of negative emotions. And that’s okay.
I did not run from my feelings. I noticed them. I welcomed them because I knew that I had invited them with my thoughts. At times my awareness was so clear, I laughed at myself. And as much as I would prefer not to experience them, I did not argue with it.
When I say it was okay, it was not because I tried to find the silver lining in them so I could feel better. I mean that it was okay to feel mad and frustrated. I had already created the negative sentences in my brain, and there was no going back. But what always lied ahead was my choice to avoid, resist, or react. Before I discovered life coaching, I would have reacted or resisted all of them.
Instead, I was able to practice allowing many of these emotions to be with me. Many of them I was able to coach myself on. Shortly after, the natural flow of other negative emotions took their place. And through every single step in this process, I learned, I grew and became more resilient.
I have several moves under my belt, and there may be many more ahead of me. I don’t expect any of them to get any easier, and they will surely have the same or new set of negatives. I’m not excited about the process of moving. Sure, I can be thrilled about the places I’ll move to, but I don’t expect to be excited about the actual move itself. That’s the part that is okay—accepting that I would not want certain parts of my life to be positive. I can embrace the bad the same way I embrace the good.
When I do this, the negative half is not as dark as it may seem to be. It turns into lighter shades of gray. These are the greys needed for the entire canvas of my life to have the right composition and balance of colors.
PS: Wondering how to grow into allowing the half of your life that is negative without resisting or reacting? I’m happy to help. Just send me a request for a complimentary consultation so we can get started.
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