Very recently, I had a moment of reflection that led to experiencing some feelings from events in my life, and with much of my own newfound knowledge with my studies in counseling, I reacted differently to them, leading me to writing this out.
There is a certain desire to avoid unpleasant emotions within all of us. When one feels anger or frustration, many people push that emotion aside and focus on more positive things – or alternatively focus on doing things to distract from the emotions. A moment to reflect: how many times have you felt or reflected on something only to immediately distract yourself with social media or something like that? Something to ponder.
This pertains not just to memories and thoughts, but also to daily events. Emotions such as anger, sadness, worry, pain, etc are emotions we often avoid because of their intense, unpleasant sensations. They are not at all comfortable, but contrary to their discomfort, it is very important to sit on them.
What do I mean by sitting on them? I mean letting yourself feel out the emotion in its entirety, and let the thoughts that follow it come through. It’s very important to recognize that these “negative” emotions are not “bad”; they just are, and they have a specific purpose.
There is no moral implication behind what you feel. When you feel angry, you feel angry for a reason, and that reason needs to be felt out. It is very common for one to think “I shouldn’t feel or think this about X” and cast a value judgement on it.
Ride the wave of emotion and sit on the unpleasant sensations you feel. Allow yourself to be completely present with the sensations, because they are yours, they are real and they won’t go away unless you sit on them.
This is part of what honesty is. It is experiencing, in full, everything in you. This includes unpleasant emotions, angry thoughts, reactions, etc.
What’s in your mind is not something that has any moral implication or judgement. It only becomes something within a moral sphere when it is explicitly acted upon in reality. But what they do provide is a compass to guide you through your own inner processes. You learn more about yourself and you learn to overcome obstacles that you may not have noticed previously.
Honesty means accepting reality for what it is. But it is also about accepting who you are, and that includes all the emotions, memories and thoughts you have. That is how one grows.