Many of us are feeling negative emotion, but misunderstanding what it’s telling us.
So let’s start there. Here are four things negative emotion is telling you.
1. When you experience negative emotion, it means you are thinking about what you don’t want or don’t like.
“Every negative emotion, no matter how strong or mild it is, means you are pointed in the opposite direction of what you are wanting.” —Abraham
If your attention and focus is on what you don’t want and don’t like, it makes sense that you’re not going to feel positive emotion. For instance, if you’re thinking about a situation at work you don’t like, you’ll feel negative emotion.
Or perhaps you’re focused on the absence of what you want. Again, you’re going to feel negative emotion. So if you’re thinking about the raise you want, but worry you won’t get it, that will cause you to feel negative emotion.
2. When you experience negative emotion, your thoughts do not agree with how your Inner Being sees you and the situation.
When you’re feeling negative emotion it means there’s a gap between how you are perceiving something and how your Inner Being sees it. In fact, that gap is what’s causing the negative emotion.
For instance, recently I was sick for a few weeks and unable to stay on schedule for recording my podcast. I always have a few episodes recorded in advance, but those had dwindled to the point my last recorded episode had been released. So I no longer had any episodes in reserve.
I was feeling worried about being able to get an episode recorded by Monday when it was scheduled to be released. I was feeling disappointed in having depleted my reserves. And I felt overwhelmed at the thought of building back up a reserve of episodes to give me some much-desired margin.
Well, my negative emotions of worry and disappointment and overwhelm were all signs to me that my Inner Being did not see the situation in the same way.
It was only by reaching for better-feeling thoughts that I was able to start feeling more positive emotion, which meant I was in agreement with my Inner Being.
3. When you feel negative emotion, it means you are mis-creating.
“No matter how justified you are in your negative emotion, you are still messing up your future.” —Abraham
Wow, that’s black and white, isn’t it? Negative emotion means you’re mis-creating. And mis-creating means you’re messing up your future.
That’s because the negative emotion you are feeling becomes your point of attraction. And then you attract more into your life to feel whatever negative emotion you were experiencing.
So if you’re feeling really hurt and disappointed, that attracts more into your life to be hurt and disappointed about.
Another way to think of this: When you experience negative emotion, you are never creating anything you want.
4. When you experience negative emotion, it’s a sign of contrast.
Contrast is not good or bad, it simply clarifies wanted vs. unwanted. And contrast is always a chance to pivot your attention and your thoughts to what is wanted.
“When you understand the value of contrast, then you don’t leave your Inner Being who always understands the value of contrast. So then contrast doesn’t feel like negative emotion. It doesn’t feel like defeat, it feels like opportunity. It doesn’t feel like confusion, it feels like clarity. It doesn’t feel like something’s gone wrong, it feels like everything is going right.” —Abraham
Think about what Abraham is saying. When you feel negative emotion because of the contrast of life, it’s not that anything has gone wrong. Instead, it’s a clarifying moment pointing you in the direction of what is wanted.
So let me recap: Negative emotion is letting you know you’re focused on something you don’t want, your Inner Being doesn’t feel the same about whatever has your attention, you are mis-creating, and you are experiencing contrast.
That is all very good news, even if it doesn’t seem so.
Because I want you to start noticing how negative emotion is simply telling you something important.
It’s clarifying what is wanted versus what is unwanted. It’s alerting you to the need for changing the direction of your focus.
In that sense, negative emotion is not a bad thing.
Now, doesn’t that seem to kind of contradict what I’ve been saying? No, not at all.
Here’s the distinction I want to make.
Having a negative emotion is not a bad thing. Indulging in negative emotion is.
“It is not wrong or bad to have negative emotion any more than it’s wrong to have senses in your hands that tell you the stove is hot.” —Abraham
Just think about how wise that is!
Your ability to feel negative emotion is letting you know you’re off track. You don’t want to lose that ability to know. But you do want to heed what your negative emotion is telling you. You don’t want to just keep your hand on the hot stove, so to speak.
“Are you under the misimpression that negative emotion is a bad thing? Negative emotion is not a bad thing. Negative emotion is guidance to help you redirect and refocus. It’s all part of the dance.” —Abraham
Negative emotion is an invitation, an opening, an opportunity for you to pivot.
To choose a new thought. To turn your attention in a different direction. To heed what the negative emotion is telling you without indulging in it.
That’s the dance Abraham is talking about.
But the fact is many of us are way too willing to think thoughts that don’t feel good. We do indulge in negative emotions.
And often we do this because we’re focused on “reality”, on what-is. Well, you can’t look at something you don’t like and feel good. It really is that simple. So take your attention off what-is.
You won’t ever be able to create a new reality—one you like better—if your attention, thoughts, and feelings are on a reality you don’t like. You’ll just create more of the same, more of what-is.
“In every case, negative emotion means you’re turned away from what you want. It doesn’t meant something bad is going to happen and you’re being warned. It means you’re turned away from what you want. It doesn’t mean you are unworthy and aren’t going to get what you want. It means you’re turned away from what you want. It doesn’t mean you should have done something earlier in this life in a different way or in a past life. It doesn’t mean you needed a blessing from someone outside of you. It means you’re turned away from what you want.” —Abraham
I love that. Abraham so wants us to understand the meaning of negative emotion.
Here’s the bottom line: You deserve to feel good.
Which means you have to stop giving your attention to what makes you feel bad. You have to stop indulging in negative emotion.
Now, any shift from feeling negative emotion to feeling positive emotion is going to involve choosing thoughts that provide relief and moving up the emotional scale.
You know, maybe you want a different way. Perhaps you want to focus on changing or getting rid of the circumstance that’s “causing” your negative emotion. The bad boss, the extra pounds, the stack of bills, the marital problems.
Well, not so fast.
Because circumstances don’t cause your feelings. Which means how you feel is not dependent on external circumstances.
It is your thoughts about circumstances that cause your feelings.
Here’s the thing: Many of us have been raised to believe and act otherwise. You’ve been told to do X, Y, and Z and get things in your external world the way you want them. The way you need them to be in order to feel good.
That’s how many of us believe life works. We try so hard to get external things in order so we can feel a certain way inside.
But that’s not actually how the Universe works.
Your inner world creates your outer world. And how you feel—about anything and everything—is an inside job. Because only you think your thoughts and feel your feelings.
I know this is a paradigm shift for many of us. It was for me.
So here’s your choice: You can either believe circumstances cause your feelings or you can believe your thoughts about circumstances cause your feelings.
I want you to choose the latter: Your thoughts about circumstances cause your feelings.
When you embrace this belief, a whole world of possibility opens up to you.
You take charge of your inner world of thoughts and feelings. And by taking charge of your inner world, you create the outer world of circumstances you really want. It’s win-win.
Negative emotion is often because you are looking at something you don’t like or you are resisting and reacting to some external situation. And then indulging in the negative emotion you’ve created with your unmanaged mind. Instead of deliberately creating, you resist and react.
But this way of living denies you your amazing ability to be a deliberate creator.
You really only have two choices: You can either be a deliberate creator or you can spend your life in one continuous reaction—feeling good about the good things that cross your path and feeling bad about the bad things.
- A deliberate creator believes thoughts cause feelings and therefore chooses her thoughts intentionally.
- A reactor believes circumstances cause feelings and simply responds to whatever situation, circumstance, event, person, or thing crosses her path.
Now, if you’re skeptical that your thoughts cause your feelings, consider this.
Two people can have a totally different response to the same circumstance. That’s because it’s not the circumstance causing the response—it’s thoughts and feelings about the circumstance.
Let’s say two people are waiting to board a flight for a business meeting in another state. There’s an announcement: The flight has been cancelled.
Person A is angry and upset. Person B is relieved and appreciative.
How can that be? They’re both ticketed on the same flight that’s been cancelled. The circumstance is the same for both.
- Upon hearing the flight is cancelled, Person A thinks: I’m barely going to make it to my meeting in time, be stressed, and probably lose the account. Airlines are so unreliable. I hate having to travel for work. Nothing is ever smooth.
- Person B, upon learning the flight is cancelled, thinks: Great! Now I have more time to prepare for my meeting. My presentation will be stronger than ever. This extra time is really going to help me secure the account. What a stroke of luck!
Same circumstance. But different thoughts. Producing different feelings.
What reality do you think Person A is creating? What about Person B?
And that’s only a single example. Now imagine a lifetime made up of deliberately choosing your thoughts versus being an unending reaction to what happens in life.
Because you have that choice.
You can manage your mind by being intentional in your thinking and reaching for thoughts that bring relief, thoughts that feel good. The alternative is to live life like a crapshoot and wait to see what shows up and then react.
An unmanaged mind will experience way more negative emotion.
Think about it. The unmanaged mind believes circumstances cause feelings. Which means you just have to hope good things show up. But then when something you don’t want and don’t like does show up, you experience the knee-jerk reaction of negative emotion.
And since we live in a vibrational Universe, feeling that negative emotion then attracts more into your life to feel negative about.
Your feelings follow your thoughts.
Living with an unmanaged mind means you’ll routinely experience emotions in the middle and on the low end of the emotional scale. Emotions like discouragement and fear, frustration and worry.
I invite you to manage your mind.
- Manage your mind and feel better.
- Manage your mind and embrace your thoughts cause your feelings.
- Manage your mind and be a deliberate creator of your reality.
Next time you feel negative emotion, here’s what I suggest. First, simply notice. Bring awareness to the negative feeling. Hey, I’m feeling disappointed.
And then ask yourself:
- What thought was I thinking that produced this feeling?
- What am I thinking and giving my attention to that’s causing me to feel disappointed?
Create a space between the circumstance and the feeling, and bring awareness to the role you are playing in the feeling of disappointment. Because remember: It’s the thoughts you are thinking, not the circumstance, that’s really causing the feeling of disappointment.
Again, this is a paradigm shift for most of us because we’re so used to blaming circumstances, people, events, situations, and things for how we feel.
No, you had a thought about the circumstance, person, event, situation, or thing that caused a feeling.
Which means you have all the power to change how you feel. To reach for a feeling of relief with a new thought or different focus of your attention.
Here are four strategies you can use to deal with negative emotion.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you feel negative emotion.
“We encourage you, very strongly, not to beat up on yourself when you recognize that you are feeling negative emotion. But as soon as you can, stop and say, ‘I’m feeling some negative emotion. Which means that I’m in the process of attracting what I don’t want. What is it that I do want?’” —Abraham
When you feel negative emotion, there’s nothing to be gained by piling on by feeling bad for feeling bad. Heed what the negative emotion is telling you and reach for a better-feeling thought.
2. Stop justifying your negative emotions.
“As you try to explain why you are feeling negative emotion, you are adding power to it. Release the negative emotion, the negative feeling, and the negative attraction—by taking your attention from it.” —Abraham
Many of us add momentum to negative emotion by justifying why we have a right to feel the way we do. We point to some situation in our lives and say, Look, that’s why I don’t feel good. See, see. I have a right to feel bad because of that.
Stop justifying your right to feel bad and start reaching for better-feeling thoughts.
3. Stop indulging in negative emotions.
“How do you feel about those things that you are giving most of your attention to? If there is something in your life that gives you negative emotion almost every time you think about it, we would do anything that we could do to get that negative thing out of our awareness.” —Abraham
Stop the loop of thoughts that are causing you to feel bad.
Negative emotions can be an addiction. If you’re in a rut of thinking thoughts that make you feel bad, it’s time to start being intentional and deliberate about reaching for the relief of better-feeling thoughts.
4. Go general.
“When you find yourself feeling negative emotion of any kind, no matter how negative it is, say to yourself…Go general, go general, GO GENERAL! Because the more general you are, the less resistant you will be. You can say things like: ‘This too shall pass.’ ‘All in all things are going pretty well for me.’ ‘All is well for me.’ ‘Everything will work out.’” —Abraham
If you’re feeling negative emotion about something going on in your current reality, instead of obsessing and ruminating about whatever it is that is “causing” you to feel negative emotion, take your attention from it, release your resistance, and go general with better-feeling thoughts.
“Negative emotion is your best friend because it’s telling you in the moment that you’re heading in opposition to what you want, that you are creating your reality by default.” —Abraham