This is a two-part series. This first part describes the positive impact of negative emotions. The second part will go more deeply into how to trace negative emotions to the beliefs that foster them.
We're more used to seeing negative emotions as our worst enemies, the kind we should escape. In part, this seems natural, because it doesn't feel good to be depressed, lonely, or resentful. (More on this later.)
In terms of learned behavior, though, most of us were taught to "Wipe that look off your face" because "no one likes a grouch," and "if you cry you'll just feel worse." It's hard to blame the average mother or father for not wanting to look at the grumpy face of a child. It's not a pretty sight; it makes them think they did something wrong; and they learned the same lessons we did.
Many children also learned from their parents that they should never show anger (especially to parents) and that they should never let anyone know that they felt hurt. Because the easiest way not to show anger or hurt is to not feel these emotions, one learns to suppress all negative emotions.
We often get an advanced version of this philosophy from many New Agers. I remember a book called You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought. This and similar works create the impression that having a negative thought or emotion is like swallowing a bottle of poison.
Emotions and the Law of Attraction
On the surface, the Law of Attraction seems to confirm that negative thoughts and emotions should be avoided. In brief, this law says that whatever you think about most will come to you, because thoughts and emotions have energy that attract like energy.
Energy doesn't understand "don't want." It gathers around what you think about most often, whether you want it or not. "So if you think, "I don't want to go broke" or "I don't want to get sick," it hears "broke" and "sick."
That sounds as if you really can't afford the luxury of a negative thought or emotion. Think it, and it's going to bury you like an avalanche.
However, this isn't exactly true. The Law of Attraction doesn't produce instant manifestation. In terms of negative manifestations, it's like the skunk who gives a few warnings before letting loose. If you are aware that you might be gathering some negative energy (a good clue is: you wake up, a few unpleasant things happen, and you say "This is going to be a terrible day") you have a chance to shift your focus.
You'll never get this chance if you don't have negative thoughts to direct you. That would be like kicking a big rock over and over again without feeling any pain in your foot or toe. Sooner or later, though, you won't be able to walk, and you might break a bone. Like pain, negative emotions tell us we're doing something harmful to ourselves.
Negative emotion plays an equally important role in the process of Law of Attraction in helping us to define our preferences. You'll never know what you want unless you narrow down the possibilities by knowing what you don't want.
One way to become more relaxed about negative emotions is to better understand emotions in general.
So What Are Emotions?
In the early 1980s I was introduced to the Seth Material, channeled by the late Jane Roberts. The channeled information most popular today, especially the Abraham material, channeled by Esther Hicks, rests on the foundation of Seth's teachings.
He has a lot to say about emotions in The Nature of Personal Reality, a book I highly recommend.
"Emotions simply are. They are elements of the power of consciousness, filled with energy. They merge into a powerful sea of being when left alone. You cannot affirm one emotion and deny another without setting up barriers. You try to hide what you think of as negative emotions in the closet of your mind, as in the past they closeted insane relatives. All of this because you do not trust the aspects of your individuality in flesh." p. 468
"The fear of your own emotions can do far more damage than their expression, because the apprehension builds up a charge that intensifies the energy behind them." p. 236
"The free flow of your emotions will always lead you back to your conscious beliefs if you do not impede them." p. 232
To summarize, if we leave our emotions to be, they will spontaneously transform until we reach our natural state of calm/peacefulness/joy. Our problem is getting stuck in negative emotions, and the stickiness is usually caused by a persistent belief.
If, for example, you have a habit of being nervous before you have to go to the dentist, your beliefs are telling you, "You should be nervous. It's natural to be nervous. If you aren't prepared by being nervous, you'll go there and get bad and expensive news, and it's going to be the shock of your life. You don't want a terrible shock to your system, do you?"
The irony about this kind of thinking is that according to Law of Attraction, such persistent negativity can create the feared events.
Negativity is a Text Message, Not a Book
We can get more relaxed about a negative state if we recognize it as a prompt, not a permanent residence. That means that once we get the message, we erase it by learning to deliberately shift our emotions.
You might be feeling depressed without knowing why. You focus and say, "Oh, I hate the house I live in." Now you've established dissatisfaction with an aspect of your life. The most common mistake is to elaborate. "The windows stick. It's expensive to heat. Too many stairs. That room is so dark in the morning."
Catch yourself before you go there. Think instead about the house you would like. It has big windows and lots of sun. It's fuel-efficient. It has exactly the right number of rooms, and it's easy to clean." Every time you catch yourself in a complaint about the current dwelling, switch gears and imagine the dream house. Before too long the positive imagining will have more power than the negative rumblings.
With practice, you can learn to become neutral about negative emotions. With more practice, you may surprise yourself by welcoming them as guides to help you in releasing energy blocks and opening the way for true happiness.