When you’re feeling something negative (anger, fear, sadness), get curious about that. Doing so will give you profound wisdom and insights into your own mind. The answers to your curiosity questions will radically alter the way you understand how you operate in the world around you and how you interact with the people around you.
If you’re feeling sad
Ask yourself, “Is there something I should let go of?”.
Is there a belief, an idea, a dream, a hope, a vision that isn’t serving you anymore?
Perhaps you expected someone you know to “be better”. You expected that they would be “cooler” or “smarter” or “more fun” but then you got to know them. This might give you a feeling of sadness. Ask yourself, is that sadness serving you? What is the vision you should let go of? For example: “I thought Ellen Degeneres would be super fun but actually she’s pretty mean and I’m sad that someone I looked up to is actually a huge dissappointment. But this sadness isn’t serving me because now my whole day feels gloomy so I will choose to let go of the vision that Ellen is also a nice person.
“I felt sad when I went to the gym and saw how much muscle I’ve lost. The other guys at the squat rack were still muscular and I’m sad because I look bad compared to them. But this sadness isn’t serving me, in fact, it’s making me not want to work out and get those muscles back. I will choose to let go of the dream that I would have come out of quarantine still in prime shape.”
If you’re feeling angry
Ask yourself, “What is no longer of service to me and should be destroyed?”.
I like the “destroyed” language because when you’re angry, you crave destruction. ;)
Perhaps your manager took credit for your work in an important meeting and you’re angry at the injustice of her being recognized for what was 100% your labor. “I felt angry at Karen taking credit for my project. Recognition for this would have resulted in a promotion for me. I’m so angry that I don’t even want to answer the questions that the VP is asking and prove that I’m actually the one who did everything. But this anger is not of service to me. My goal is promo and my goal is for the VP to recognize how much I’ve done here. I am going to destroy the desire to sit and grumble for the next hour and instead get engaged and curious about how I can still turn this around.”
If you’re feeling afraid
Ask yourself, “What am I supposed to wake up to? To pay attention to? To learn from?”.
Perhaps you’re afriad that the younger, smarter, more attractive new hire is going to threaten your status as “the most insightful person on the team”. “This new hire asks way better and more insightful questions than me. My team is going to start going to him with interesting questions instead of me if I don’t prove myself right now that I can think of a better insight. I’m so afraid of losing this status that I feel like I want to sink into my chair and hide. My palms are sweaty and my chest is tight. All I’m thinking about is how he’s a threat and I can’t think of anything insightful to say! What can I learn from this fear? Woah, it’s that I am deeply afraid of losing status. I was unpopular in high school and I’m terrified of being irrelevant again. Wow, I feel better understanding this fear within myself and now I feel more relaxed.”