Q: I know that positivity is vital to staying in alignment and creating my reality but I sometimes just find myself down, angry, depressed, listless, or frustrated. I don’t even know how I got there. Why does this happen, and how can I prevent it?
Hi Alysha, great question.
Positivity, or perhaps more appropriately, neutrality, is important for staying in alignment, this is true. However, we cannot deny that even though we put our best effort forward we find ourselves in a dirty housecoat eating (non gluten-free) macaroni and cheese from a box, thinking about all the crappy things our parents did to us, or how we are never going to become who we feel we should. Maybe that’s just me, but I agree that this emotional downward spiral is a real phenomenon, and we need to talk about it.
First of all let it be known from the highest mountaintops: it is ok to feel that you feel. Period!
We need to accept that it is ok to feel what we feel. We are meant to feel things, dark things even. In fact, our emotions are the indicators that help us understand where we are in relation to our soul. Conversely, our emotions show us how close we are to accepting and living our true form. Feelings that are low on the emotional scale indicate we are running on belief systems that are not representative of who we truly are. Feelings that are higher on the emotional scale indicate that we are in a state of realization with regard to who we are and our potential. Blocking our emotions stops us from understanding and working with what our emotions are trying to tell us. It paralyzes us. Blocking emotions can set you up for downward spirals.
Now that we understand that our emotions are our friends, why do they sneak up on us like that?
If you are alive and breathing, you have triggers. We have these soft spots where if we hear something, think something, or feel something associated with that trigger we are pulled into our shadow. They are the spiritual equivalent to that area behind your knees that buckles when someone hits it. Or that terrifying broken board in the floor on cartoons that leaves the character sliding down into the dungeon. Yeah, these buckling areas are actually where we are challenged to work on in our lives. The moment we experience something associated with them we are triggered into our shadow. These are the areas in which we do not have integrated understanding (strength). They are our blind spots, so often times we don’t even really remember how we got so low.
Keep in mind that this is not a bad thing. Experiencing our triggers and darkness allows us to better understand ourselves and grow. It only starts to feel yucky when we don’t understand what is going on or we fight the experience.
What can we do?
It helps to pay close attention when you become down emotionally. Practice presence and awareness to allow yourself to become conscious of how you are unconsciously responding. When you notice you are spiraling downward, pay close attention to: what you were doing, who you were with, how you felt, everything about the beginning of the trapdoor coming out from beneath your feet. You may notice that within that story there will be a trigger. It may be a friend that flaunts her stupid, amazing new car. It may be a flash of jealousy because someone is doing what you would like to be doing. It may be passing your ex on the street, or an argument with a coworker. Put your feelers out for what is sticking. Be honest with yourself, and don’t hide here. This can be a humbling experience; our shadow isn’t always gentle but it will leave you more open and aware after you dance with it.
Once you have the “Aha!” moment as to what triggered you, much of the work is done. You have made the connection between conscious and unconscious and there is no going back. Spend the next few days grounding what you have discovered, this means physically processing the information. You are transforming the kernel that brought you to your knees into awareness. For you that may mean journaling/writing, it may be moving your body and allowing that story to run though you, it could be drawing, talking it out with a friend, whatever works for you. Do all of this with the intention of bringing, light, understanding and healing to this part of you. Be wide open and surrender to however that healing may come. When you have done this little focus ritual, simply let go. You may not get much clarity through grounding it, and that is not really the point. The point is to acknowledge your trigger and in a way, celebrate it through the alchemy of your art. It is the process of being reborn without the trigger. After that, time is your healer, and it will strengthen you little by little until you forget that you ever buckled under that type of experience to begin with.