This is the Part Where You Embrace the Suck
We are often faced with the question: how do I deal with negative emotions? When things are hard, you are experiencing negative emotions, and changing your thoughts is not enough, two tools that will help you are:
1. Embrace the suck and
2. Remind yourself that “this is the part where…”
Disclaimer: This is part of being human!
The reality is, we are all part of the same human experience, and that experience involves both negative and positive emotions. I know some of us (myself included) hope that one day we will have the job/money/time/body etc. we want and then we will always feel amazing and never experience negative emotions.
But let’s get real.
That is just not true. And deep down we all know that.
We are all living the human experience and honestly, it’s about 50/50 – We have negative and positive emotions about half the time. Am I right?
What if we could just embrace that knowledge? What if we could just recognize that being human means feeling both negative and positive emotions? That having negative emotions do not mean something has gone wrong? That is doesn’t mean we have failed? Wouldn’t that make you feel lighter? Breathe a bit easier even?
That is what I am talking about today; accepting the fact that being human means feeling negative emotions, thus, embracing the suck, and reminding ourselves that “this is the part where…”
Embrace the Suck:
First, you have to be willing to have a negative emotion before you can change the emotion. When you resist negative emotions you often make them stronger. Embracing the reality that whatever thought or feeling you are experiencing right now is a bad one is okay. It will not harm you. It will most likely allow you to move past the negative emotion more quickly than avoiding it.
Try moving through a negative experience not by trying to immediately change the experience or emotion, but by embracing it. By realizing that it is normal and part of life, and then look at it as a possibility to learn.
Just embrace the suck. Don’t resist it. Don’t change it. Just embrace it. Then:
This is the part where…
When you watch a movie or read a story you expect there to be ups and downs. A story about someone being happy forever, the end. That would be boring, right? You know when engaging in a movie that the characters will experience both bad and good emotions and you can just look at it and think “Oh right, this is the part where the main character gets dumped. And this is the part where she meets the love of her life.” You know that it will not be permanent, any of it, the good or the bad.
So, what if you tried this with your own life?
“Oh right, this is the part where I feel terrible.”
“This is the part where I get dumped”
“This is the part where I feel guilty for not getting enough done.”
“This is the part where I beat myself up for not accomplishing my goals.”
“This is the part where I feel depressed and hopeless.”
This is just part of the story. This is the 50% where it feels bad. Nothing has gone wrong, this is just part of the human experience. And know that there will be another part too. The other 50%, where you learn from this lesson, where you pick yourself up and accomplish that goal; find love, stop berating yourself, experience joy again etc.
“This is the part where…”
It is such a powerful way to engage your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for analytical reason. By engaging your prefrontal cortex, you get yourself out of the primitive emotional brain which is in reactionary survival mode, and allow yourself to see that:
“Oh right, this is the part where I am going to learn a lesson.”
For more on your brain and how it effects your willpower and motivation check this out
A Final Note:
How we show up for ourselves and how we handle the negative emotions, the sucky times, that is what makes us who we are. Think about the most significant and formative things that have happened to you in your life. Chances are they were pretty sucky and negative, am I right? But chances also are that they led to your growth. They showed you your strength and resilience. Those experiences made you who you are.
How we show up during the sucky times is who we truly are. So, embrace the suck and remember, emotions can’t hurt you! Just remind yourself:
“This is just the part where I grow into an even better version of myself!”