Turn Toward the Enemy – Mastering negative emotions

Heather Edwards Psychotherapy Coaching EmotionsYou feel stuck. Trapped. Immobilized. When in the therapy and coaching room, conversations about fear, regret, disappointment, and frustration arise and take center stage. 

It’s easy to fall prey, be guided and controlled by negative emotions, even feel consumed by them. It’s an uncomfortable place. It’s dark, heavy, constricting. It can hold you hostage. And it can intensify before it dissipates.

Recognize negative emotions not as your enemy but as your informant. Acknowledge them. Accept them. Be open to them. Question them. Break them down. Look those unsavories in the eye. Release their grip.

Identify the building blocks of negativity. Uncover the hidden messages. Initiate a plan designed for empowerment.

When you turn toward your anger, fear, and sadness you validate the experience of the pain. You soothe and comfort, rather than avoid or deny the screaming, stomping, crying, demanding, desperate attempts of that negativity to grasp your attention. Now you are responding instead of reacting.

In turning toward those negative emotions you accept them as real. In that paradoxical open space, you relieve them of their power and control, and master them. You define them, rather than allowing them to define you.

Heather Edwards Oasis CoachingBreak them down into tangible parts. Clarify. Question. Seek answers. What is this fear about? Where is this anger stemming from? What does this sadness represent? From an open, enlightened place you can develop a plan for addressing what’s underlying those feelings.

That big amorphous blob of negative emotions is overwhelming, and stifling.  Make it tangible, definable, understandable, conquerable. Get professional support, if needed.

Dig deep. Do you need more knowledge, tools, information, time, or help? Do you need to let go of tired messages? Get to the root of it. How might your life change if you break through this? Identify what you need for success and move toward it.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapy Emotions CoachingStand up to the challenge. Embrace your unique strengths and power. Know that fear, anger, resentment, regret, sadness, disappointment and anxiety will at times be your companion. But they need not stifle you.

“Yield and you need not break:

Bent you can straighten,

Emptied you can hold,

Torn you can mend”. – Lao Tzu 300 B.C.


Grow. Evolve. Achieve. You are not stuck.  Feelings are your allies illuminating less obvious truths. Notice them, understand them, and respond proactively. From this point, real change can begin.


Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages, nenetus.

Got Jealousy?  How to stop the downward spiral.

jealousy pictureWhen in the presence of someone taller, richer, smarter, thinner, younger, prettier, or anything else-er… jealousy has the opportunity to rear its ugly head.  Let’s face it, we can’t be all things all the time.  That would be downright boring anyway.  But what about those feelings of insecurity, self doubt, and low self worth that emerge when our defenses are low?  Let’s break them down into their composite parts and root causes.  As a Therapist and Coach, it helps to dissect emotion, its triggers, and resulting behaviors. So let’s begin with a few related outcomes…


When we listen too closely to our inner critic, we naturally feel insecure and unsure of ourselves. It’s uncomfortable and can stifle us from taking risks, stepping outside our comfort zone, and stretching toward new levels of achievement.  What to do?  Challenge it!  It’s healthy to check yourself, but if you’re obsessing about mistakes made or are fearful of acting on the wrong decision, it’s time to consider other possible explanations and ideas about yourself and the task at hand.  Acknowledge your negative self talk and substitute that critical gremlin’s loud mouth with statements of encouragement and wisdom. Open your mind to best case scenario and successful endings to the story.

“The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.” – Erich Fromm


When we compare ourselves to others, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.  It’s a mean trick our brains play on us.  Typically we notice the strengths of others while honing in on our own shortcomings.  When you compare the two – someone’s strengths against your blind spots and challenges – you naturally end up with unfair comparisons and a recipe for discouragement.   An example of this is, “Her hair is so pretty, I bet all the guys like her.  I’m overweight and miserable in my job.”  Say ‘hello’ to the metaphorical apples and oranges argument!  Stop and question the assumptions you make.  Catch the unfair comparisons in action.  You never really know the details of someone else’s life story and therefore, comparing it to yours is fruitless (pun intended!).

Remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Self Worth:

When insecurity and unfair comparisons combine, the result is low self worth.   This can be disastrous to your mental health, relationships, and personal growth.  Take a step back.  Get off the couch.  Realize your potential and the possibilities.  If you’re feeling lonely, expand your friend group.  If you’re feeling incompetent, expand your skills and expertise. If you’re feeling unfulfilled, choose an activity or interest to explore.  Identify one goal you can and will accomplish this week to get one step closer self improvement. Take a class or join a meet-up group.  It will improve your quality of life – and your self worth.  Don’t capitulate to the unwanted negative feelings.  They will loose their strength and influence when you take your power back.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

Take-Home Message:  peaceful yoga girl

You are in control of your thoughts and feelings.  Jealousy is a product of the way you think about the events of life.  When you feel the pang of insecurity, low self worth, or jealousy, pause and practice gratitude.  Switch your attention to three things you are thankful for right now, in this moment.  I’ll share mine for today – the warm weather, my family, and my cats.  Now what are yours?

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

“1st Image courtesy of anankkml/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

“2nd Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.