Learn how negative emotions manifest and what motivates procrastination.
Learn how negative emotions manifest and what motivates procrastination.
Post by Vancouver Life Coach, Terry Sidhu.
I recently came back from a trip that made me realise the unspoken struggles we face alone, beneath the surface of the identities we present. Having reconnected with loved ones after many years and establishing brand new connections, I came back from this trip more aware of the emotional experiences we’re all striving for in life. Experiences that many of us will fail to achieve, if we continue to overrule what we’re truly feeling with rationalisation. The experiences I’m talking about, have to do with Love.
Love is an emotion that has baffled great minds for millennia, and I’m learning that the only way to understand what love is and the purpose it serves, is to first accept and embrace it. To realize that it exists and that it sits at the very core of all human emotion.
Sometimes I feel my work simply involves reconnecting individuals with love. Albeit helping individuals accept and embrace who they are and develop a love of themselves, through to helping individuals uncover a path that feels genuine and purposeful. Then there’s the relationship aspect of my work, where I help people reconnect with the feeling of love, rather than merely presenting the idea of it.
Although I began my career with a subjective understanding of love, my work has helped me develop objectivity on the matter. I’m understanding that love is an authentic connection to an honest energy, where one feels completely accepted by and accepting of said energy. Love is the most liberating of all emotions, which is why I feel we should navigate our lives by it. Learning about the impact of love and how it can influence even the most stubborn of minds, I finally feel I can write from the heart and of the heart, about this alluring topic.
I feel human consciousness or the gateway to human consciousness, has a lot to do with the awakening of our emotions. I think to when a baby is born, the very first thing a child experiences in life is raw and uninterrupted emotion. I feel my understanding of emotion is that they’re our awareness of existence. I feel our emotions are the true senses of our consciousness, and it’s trusting and relying on these senses that will guide us to the best conscious experience possible. Perhaps then our traditional, physical senses, are the gatekeepers that help us manage and construct our conscious experience.
I imagine human consciousness as a vast garden where seeds of emotion are planted. I think these seeds sprout at birth and from then on, the way we live our lives shape the way this garden grows. For example, a lot of negative life experiences will probably result in an unappealing garden full of negative emotions. Weeds that overshadow or restrict the potential of an appealing garden from blossoming; a garden full of flowers of positive emotion. If we can imagine our emotions in this way, like plants that need to be nurtured, then we can appreciate the value in nurturing positive emotion. Understand the effort it takes to maintain positivity and how easy it is to neglect and let negativity take rule over time. Therefore, to nurture and grow positive emotion, we must make the effort in our everyday lives for positive life experiences.
I use this analogy in order to help my clients understand the work it may take to revive their identities, and manage their lives into the fulfilment they seek. It’s a matter of managing and maintaining our “gardens” so to speak. It also helps us understand that all our emotions exist and are present within us, and just like the plants that grow in our gardens, we need to nurture the right ones. We must work to grow a garden worth presenting; to live a life worth living, and where relationships are concerned, we must develop a garden worth visiting; a life we’re confident sharing.
I’ve always noticed, or rather envied how children seem to have an innate ability to embrace love so easily. It makes me think that love is the emotion that grows in the centre of our conscious gardens. A tree that branches into emotions like passion, hope, enjoyment, confidence, excitement, happiness, liberation and so on. I think naturally we’re supposed to, and are allowed to, live our lives this way and I suppose that’s why it’s said that happiness is a choice.
I think our negative experiences in life and the mass, repetitive messages we’re surrounded by impact our emotions so much so, that we lose sight of our positive emotions. Our positive emotions become defined for us and reinforced by messages that tell us how we have to look and behave. Our gatekeepers, our traditional senses, are so overwhelmed by these messages that we’re convinced that love and happiness is something we must strive to earn, even though they already exist within.
As an example, think about the last time you’ve really wanted to settle a curiosity, or wanted to be spontaneous in life and just live, but you’ve stopped yourself because of a fear of what others may think?
If we continue to limit these potentially positive experiences in life, we nurture and grow negative emotions like insecurity, isolation, hopelessness, sadness, fear and so on, until they take over that tree and transform it into hate. If we can realise that we are in control of our lives, that we are the caretakers of our own gardens, we can actively take charge of how we feel. We can consciously choose to grow love.
Emotions have always been key to our survival and well-being and as the world has evolved, I fear we’ve learned to rationalize or turn a blind eye to what we’re truly feeling. Think about it, how many times have you had to convince yourself that “everything’s fine”, because from the outlook you should have nothing to worry about? You may have built a life that looks good, but how many of you reading this can honestly say you’re living a life that feels good?
It’s really simple actually, because we can easily distinguish what feels good from what feels bad and more importantly, we can distinguish what leaves us feeling good and what leaves us feeling bad. We just need to start listening to our emotions in order to guide our lives in a positive direction. We must learn to neglect and move away from all things bad, and educate and strengthen our gatekeepers to focus on all things good.
My apologies if this post sounds more spiritual than usual, but the happiest people I’ve come across lead their lives with love. I see that they’re surrounded by an abundance of love because they’ve let this emotion take reign over their lives. They love what they do, they love who they are, they love others easily and most importantly, they’re easily loved. How many of us can say we feel this way everyday?
Today we can to stop contributing our own misery, by facing the truth that is rooted in our emotions.
I have very cool parents. A father with the ability to dream big, despite life’s knock backs, the man still has some big aspirations. His encouragement is limitless and he has every confidence that, no matter what I do, I’ll be okay.
My mother on the other hand, she lives by one philosophy which she insists on passing down through generations. A guru in her own right, my mother never ever gave a “damn sh*t!” We, we being myself and my siblings, all used to laugh at her funny sayings, this one in particular.
My parents grew up in a generation surrounded by very strict Indian traditions and extremely outdated cultural practices. Also, one of the first generations to genuinely experience the struggles of integrating into a western society, from racial prejudice through to raising children that adopted very different values to those she and my father were raised with.
An avid reader, my mum grew up reading books on philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. She generally read anything that allowed her mind to explore, to escape the realities she was forced to surrender to. All our lives, during the troubles that came with financial turmoil, crooked family politics and the bullsh*t that came with living an arranged life, she never let her spirit die.
We all grew up hearing “I don’t give a damn Sh*t!” around the house, as she belted it out during stressful moments. In her charming in-glish accent (an Indian accent with an English undertone), followed by a delightful laugh that made any unfortunate situation seem small and insignificant. It’s only during the last few years, having figured out my own path in life, I connected with what mum actually meant by the words she uttered.
My mum has practised mindfulness her entire life, before the world began trending it, mum was living it. In every difficult situation, she would never let negativity infiltrate her mind. It was like this mantra shielded her from turning into a bitter old lady; resenting the world and everyone in it.
I always thought she held onto a hope that things would get better one day, as many do in unfortunate circumstances. I thought that was where she drew her strength. In actuality, that one-day was always her present day, the here and now was the time to laugh off her troubles and focus on whatever bliss currently existed, however big or small. Be it the fact that we had a day with a full healthy meal on our plates or, at the very least, love and closeness in our family.
Today, at 64, mum continues to share lessons of mindfulness to any person she meets. It makes complete sense why people warm up to her very quickly. She lives life as if life is literally the only thing she owns, and so long as she maintains control over her own mind, the force that drives her life, she’s the most fortunate person she knows.
So no matter what situation you’re faced with, no matter what your current circumstances are, practise having full control over your mind and be aware of your thoughts. That’s what mindfulness is. Mum taught us to focus on everyday bliss, however big or small, it exists, we just have to start paying attention to it.
Negativity can only affect us if we allow it to and what mum actually means by ‘not giving a sh*t’, isn’t that she doesn’t care, it’s that she’ll continue to fight for the one thing that can’t ever be taken from her; she will never surrender her mind to negativity, no matter how hard life tries.
The beauty of life, is that we have the opportunity to live it. So long as we maintain awareness within present moments, life can be experienced fully.
We can spend hours delving into non-existent pockets of time that satisfy our fears and suppress our truest desires. But if we do allow our minds to wander throughout time, we run the risk of losing touch with ourselves and end up losing touch with present moments we want to live.
I’d notice that my thoughts would often turn negative and I would feel as if my life would lose its value, whenever I allowed my present to be affected by the insecurities of my past and/or any uncertainties of my future. And in these moments, I’d be overcome by an overwhelming desire to escape my present completely, resulting in avoidance and halting any progression towards the life I wanted to be living.
I feel now, with my priorities in complete order and my consciousness focused on being very present and aware, I’ve been able to maintain more control over my own mindset. Every time I feel my mind wanders off in time, I wake up and snap back into productivity. I do what I have to do to satisfy the actual moment, instead of feeding any negative perception.
If for whatever reason I’m not happy or am feeling as if life is running away from me, I take it as a sign that I need to wake up. I’ve become increasingly mindful of how I had let non-existent moments in time affect my present life:
To maintain control over my mindset, I ask myself if this is what I truly want; “Am I completely fulfilled in this moment?” Or “Am I letting the burden of time affect me from experiencing and accepting this moment fully?”
Failing to “Stay awake” caused me to drift away into moments of negativity, resulting in self-doubt and complacency. It’s important to rigorously maintain self-awareness o understand that the past is no longer in existence, and the future can only be determined if the present is truly nurtured. Practicing this has now made my life much simpler, and I spend less time thinking and more time doing.