1. Accept the Negative Feelings; 2. Think Opposite; 3 Act Opposite
- Breathe will teach you how to relax and regain self-control in just 4 seconds.
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” —Proverbs 16:32
INEFFECTIVE STYLES FOR DEALING WITH FEELINGS
4 Kinds: Control, Act-Out, Suppress, Feed
You cannot control a feeling, because a feeling is a reaction to a sensation that you did not prevent. Therefore, whenever you try to control a feeling, all that you really accomplish is to give that feeling time, attention, and energy.
Control includes attempts to make the feeling: become different, change, develop into something else, improve, or modify itself. Control is really resistance because control does not accept “what is.”
- The Rule Is: • The feelings you resist persist.
You often become frustrated with trying to control negative feelings because that only increases then. In order to get some relief from the excess energy of a negative feeling—you choose to act out that negative feeling.
Even though you do get some immediate relief, because the feeling is dissipated (released) from your acting it out–you have only reinforced that feeling. That is, the more you act out a feeling, the more you encourage it to return. This is why the ventilation, expression, or the release of feelings is not a solution, but only a short-term fix that leads to long-term problems. It is common knowledge that what you practice gets stronger, not weaker.
- The Rule Is: • What you act on you reinforce.
You often avoid the experience of a feeling by suppressing it. Suppression and repression are just modern names for putting something into darkness. Repression means that you put it further into darkness than if you had only suppressed it. Darkness itself has also been renamed. Now we call the darkness within unconsciousness, preconsciousness, and semiconsciousness.
The results of suppressing or repressing a feeling are only that you are no longer aware of its impact on you. The suppressed feeling remains active and a driving force in your life that can resurface at any time.
- The Rule Is: • What you suppress lives on in darkness.
When you think thoughts and execute behaviors that are similar in nature to your feelings, you feed your feelings. Therefore, do not think anxious thoughts when you are anxious. Therefore, do not think angry thoughts when you are angry.
Flee whining like the plague that it is. Flee worry like the pestilence that it is.
- The Rule Is: • The feelings you feed grow.
AN EFFECTIVE WAY FOR DEALING WITH NEGATIVE FEELINGS
3 Principles: (1) Accept the Feeling; (2) Think Opposite; (3) Act Opposite
The only time to control a feeling is before it ever exists by choosing different sensations. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action with an existing feeling is to accept it. The more unconditional or complete your acceptance is–the better.
Let the negative feeling (anger, anxiety) dissipate (run out of energy) on its own. Let it go, be, flow, or float. Detach from it. Above all, disengage your identity from it: stop making it about you, who you are, or your being.
- The Rule Is: • The feelings you refuse to identify with will naturally pass.
Choose to think thoughts that are opposite in nature to your negative feelings of anger or anxiety. Always remember, you never have to think or act the way that you feel.
By thinking the opposite of your negative feeling, you are creating sensations that will eventually lead to your feeling the opposite of your negative feeling. For example, when you are feeling angry or anxious, then your thinking calmly and rationally will eventually lead you to feeling calm and in control.
- The Rule Is: • Think against, not for your negative feelings.
Choose to act the opposite of your negative feeling. Always remember, you never have to act or think the way that you feel.
By acting the opposite of your negative feeling, you are creating sensations that will eventually lead to your feeling the opposite of your negative feeling. For example, when feeling angry or anxious, your acting calmly will eventually lead you to feeling calm and in control.
- The Rule Is: • Act against your negative feelings.
“What reinforcements, then, is it possible to find with which to oppose habit? Why, the contrary habit.”–Epictetus, Discourses
Quotations from Various Sources
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” —Proverbs 25:28
“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.” —Sophocles
“Our most important thoughts are those which contradict our emotions.” —Paul Valery, 1871-1945
“Be the change you seek.” —Mahatma Gandhi
“The only thing of consequence is what we do.” —John Ruskin
“Your luck is how you treat people.” —Bridget O’Donnell
“Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
“The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.” —Napoleon
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A man has no more character than he can command in a time of crisis.” —Ralph W. Sockman
“Trusting anger gets you into the problem and trusting pride keeps you in it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“I do not have to have feelings about my feelings.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“I do not have the same kind of feeling as the feeling I am choosing to feel about.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“I do not have to act the way I feel.” —Anonymous
“Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.” —Baruch Spinoza
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” —Mark Twain
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.” —Buddha
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” —Confucius
“To disagree, one doesn’t have to be disagreeable.” —Barry Goldwater
“He who angers you conquers you.” —Elizabeth Kenny
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will avoid one hundred days of sorrow.” —Chinese proverb
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” —Robert Frost
“Be careful of anger–it’s just one letter away from danger.” —Anonymous
“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” —James Thurber