When we are overwhelmed, stressed, sad, or generally just not feeling great, it is normal to also feel angry, regretful, or resentful about having the latter feelings. You may ask yourself “Why can’t I just get over this?” or “What is wrong with me that I get so upset in these situations?” Judgmental thoughts towards yourself for the reactions you are having are natural. However, past a certain point, judging yourself for your reactions to stressors is also unhelpful. What often winds up happening is that we are so caught up in judging ourselves for how we feel that we have no energy or brain space left for coping with the emotions or reactions we had in the first place. Or, sometimes worse, we exacerbate our initial reaction with this secondary judgement.
If you are sad, allow yourself to be sad without wishing you weren’t or criticizing yourself for not coping better. If you are angry, allow yourself to be angry without feeling guilty or having to apologize for accidentally snapping at your mother or friend. If you are anxious, allow yourself to be a little worried without feeling embarrassed or wishing you were a stronger person. Allowing yourself an initial period to feel your natural, normal, human reactions without judgment is healthy.
You certainly don’t want to be experiencing a negative emotional state too long and you do eventually want some of these reactions to subside or decrease in intensity. However, it is important to allow yourself the space to be a person with feelings. You aren’t a robot who has been programmed with how to effectively respond to every situation! If you can learn to practice this technique, you will eventually find that as the feelings get let out more space becomes available in your heart for more positivity and healthy changes.
Need letting go of judgmental thoughts towards yourself and how you care coping? Schedule an appointment for therapy or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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