Scaling Up Emotionally
Reach for the next best thing.
It’s easy to say “stay positive” or to “choose love”. When stuck in negative emotional spiraling, reaching for positive feelings may be really hard. Forcing a happy feeling actually makes things worse creating resistance.
Abraham Hicks has talked about the emotional guidance scale from the worst, most dense and negative feelings to the best, most fulfilling, positive ones. What they explain is that we cannot leap from very low to very high, but only experience smaller advancements. So, instead of always trying to instantly feel all the positivity, reaching for the next best feeling — even if that still is not a positive one — is more than enough. That’s what’s possible and effective.
This should clear things out in terms of self-judgment as well. For example, turning jealousy into anger is actually a step up. Feeling worried and doubtful is another step up. Pessimism and boredom are even better feeling stances. This is not to find excuses for residing on our negativity, nor to feel entitled to experience these feelings. This is to give yourself a break from accusing and blaming you for not being able to embody all the blissful state you are so longing for yourself, forcefully, just because you demanded so.
Reaching for the next best feeling is no easy task either. It takes a strong stomach to identify a negative feeling without the self-criticism. It takes guts to actually settle and be happy with just replacing it with another one, possibly negative as well. Try to feel the relief into this natural process though. Know that calling out the negative feelings and thoughts are the hardest thing and congratulate yourself every single time you achieve that. It is extremely hard, however, way better that pretending that everything is fine, numbing yourself out on bad habits or totally distract yourself pretending there is no problem to deal with.
This process may seem like a constant battle. The awareness that will give you, however, is of massive value. Once you get the hang of it, it actually comes naturally to you to simply step up without forcing yourself into false positivity which will only make you drop down the emotional scale like a free fall. In time, it will feel like protecting yourself from bad habits or avoiding the reality, resulting in higher confidence and sense of self-value. You detach yourself from codependent coping mechanisms as you no longer need to look outside of you for reasons to feel better, filling you up with emotions of self-fulfillment and independency.
Feelings are the results of the thoughts we have. It is the interpretation of the thought that results in the experienced feeling; it’s just that the interpretation most of the time happens so fast that we don’t even realize it. For this, awareness is fundamental. Choose the stories you tell yourself wisely. Check for limiting beliefs, check for self-blame or for blaming others. Be more conscious and deliberate of the thoughts you have and try to see the feelings that each one pairs up with.
A thought cannot be stopped; it can only be replaced by another one. When we think of a better-feeling thought — even still negative — we leave no room for the previous more negative one. Momentum is built on every train of thought we have. This is why we see a bad day getting worse, not being able to get a grip, forcing ourselves to feel positive and creating even more pressure and frustration. Breathe! Try for the next best feeling thought and let the momentum build on that.
The best way to reach for the better thought and feeling is to forgive. We have in mind that we are supposed to forgive the ones that have hurt us in the past or mistreat us in the present. We forget to forgive ourselves; for experiencing all the negative feelings, for having needs we cannot meet, for trusting and counting on others and get disappointed, for making mistakes, sometimes repeatedly, for holding on to situations and people that clearly do not serve us right or for us being the ones mistreating others, being greedy, unappreciative, competitive, narcissistic. Before we forgive others, let’s forgive ourselves. That alone will take us up the emotional scale and start building on a positive momentum.
Another way to step up the emotional guidance scale is to be of service. The moment we take a small break of our problems and try to be helpful we switch to a better feeling condition. Think of a family member or a friend that you know you could help or even just cheer up. The moment you choose to be sincerely caring and giving you step out of the negative rabbit whole and you immediately soothe the heavy and dense emotions you embody.
Along with forgiveness goes appreciation. It is simply the wisest choice to find the good in everything. Our troubles and triggers are our greatest guides for clarity and opportunity. Making it a habit to see the lesson learned in every stumble will result in satisfaction and calmness, regardless of the negativity that the actual trouble will bring. When we set our mind to think that we always gain something, even at our hardest experiences, we feel empowered and in charge. We see potential everywhere as opposed to feel that life is dragging us, feeling helpless.
Respect yourself and respect your feelings. They exist to protect you, so, allow yourself to have them. The last thing you want to be is competitive against and shaming your own self. Take it easy on you and do not force any fabricated emotions of happiness. Be strong enough to call out the negativity you feel and reach for the next best feeling to build the positive momentum. And then the genuine joy has to rise in you.