I struggle with the fear of being sad and unhappy, and with experiencing unpleasant emotions, in general. Why am I afraid of my feelings? More importantly, how do I overcome this fear of my own feelings?
If you’re afraid of your own feelings, it’s because you’re treating your emotions as threats in some way. Not only is this a self-destructive thing to do, but it also doesn’t make much sense to do, the more you think about it.
Indeed, if you want to become a happier person and stay happy consistently, it’s important that you:
- Stop treating unpleasant emotions as threats (stop feeling afraid and threatened by the possibility of feeling bad in any way; for example, stop treating ‘negative’ emotions like sadness or unhappiness as big enemies that you have to watch out for)
- Start treating unpleasant emotions as signals of opportunity (start being motivated and energized by unpleasant feelings to find ways to improve your life to feel better; for example, whenever you’re unhappy, identify how you might improve your thinking, to be a happier, stronger person)
Here’s why it’s important for you to improve the way you think about your own emotions, if you want to become happier faster and easier, stay happy on a regular basis, and always enjoy greater peace of mind.
Why are people afraid of their feelings?
For me, emotions such as anger and guilt are bad emotions. So, I naturally have the fear of feeling guilty, and I’m afraid of my own feelings when I get angry. How do I stop being afraid of these things?
Unfortunately, it’s common to treat unpleasant emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, unhappiness, and so on, as if they’re big, dangerous monsters that you have to battle and defeat if you want to feel happy.
Indeed, people use loaded terms like fight anxiety, beat depression, and conquer fear, when talking about such emotional states, as if you have to prepare for war and survive a struggle with an evil villain, if you want to enjoy peace and happiness.
This approach to ‘negative’ emotions makes it seem like a battle between David and Goliath, where you are a poor, helpless, little person, up against a big, bad, powerful enemy to fight.
Unfortunately, if you buy into this self-destructive idea of unpleasant emotions being dark, looming, dangerous threats that you have to fight, you will find yourself consistently struggling with ‘negative feelings’, and consistently feeling drained of energy and exhausted as a result.
How can unpleasant emotions be useful to you?
Rather than seeing unpleasant feelings like sadness or unhappiness as threats, you can see them as being signals of opportunity that alert you to possibilities for improvement in your life. In this way, you can appreciate the service that unpleasant emotions provide, even if you want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
To understand this, think about either a fire alarm going off in your house, or the pain you experience when you put your hand on a hot stove.
You might not enjoy the sound of the fire alarm going off, or the pain you feel when you touch a hot stove, but you can be thankful that you have such signals to alert you to improvements you can make in your life.
For example, the fire alarm alerts you to either put out the fire or get out of the house, and the pain in your hand alerts you to take your hand off the stove, so that you stop harming yourself.
Unpleasant emotions provide the exact same service to you. They alert you that there are things that you could be doing to improve your life (like improving your thoughts, actions, or environment) and better yourself immediately.
So are unpleasant emotions actually good or are they bad?
If bad feelings like anxiety, unhappiness, sadness, and fear are actually useful for me in some way, how can emotions be classified as good or bad, or categorized as positive or negative? And does this mean that it’s good to feel bad? I’m confused…
To be clear: unpleasant emotions can be useful in the sense they alert you to areas for improvement (like a fire alarm alerting you to a fire), but they are not inherently good, wonderful things that you want to experience more and more of in your life.
For example, you wouldn’t want that fire alarm to keep ringing over and over, would you? That shrill ringing would keep you up at night, continously distract you and make you nervous, and just shatter your peace of mind in general.
Indeed, you would want to take care of whatever has triggered that fire alarm, and get that fire alarm to stop ringing as soon as possible.
It is the same thing with unpleasant feelings, or what we sometimes call ‘negative’ or ‘bad’ emotions.
You can be thankful that the alert system exists (that you have unpleasant emotions that alert you to issues for you to address), but at the same time, it is in your best interest to take care of what triggered that negative emotion, and improve your life in some way, so that you stop feeling bad as quickly as possible.
Improve your life immediately
Right now, complete this achievement by taking steps that will help you rewire your mind to stop being afraid of unpleasant emotions and feeling bad, in general. This will naturally help you feel stronger, more confident, and more secure; this, in turn, will help you become happier faster and easier and help you stay happier on a regular basis.