Of all our feelings, some are particularly dark and addictive, and therefore dangerous. Left to fester, they douse the fire we need to make a vibrant, creative, loving, healthy life. Put another way, stubborn and static feelings lead to the Hell of Frozen Emotion. I know it well, and I’ve found one way out. The threshold is not always easy to cross.
Here are five emotions that stand out as dark and addictive:
Doubt * Guilt * Shame * Loneliness * Urgency
To make a life rich with growth, love, and fulfilling experiences, each of these emotions is extremely important:
Doubt provides a moment to take a breath and examine a decision that needs proper reflection.
Guilt offers a doorway into your morality and the question, “Done I Someone Wrong?”
Shame is a signpost from your past that reads, “Hey, you left something back here!”
Loneliness illuminates an unfulfilled longing.
And Urgency is an ancient call to arms.
Yet for all their usefulness, these feelings are also seductive and addictive. They can easily take hold of our hearts and brains. As we cling to them, we invent stories to rationalize their presence and trap them in our psyches, and when they build their nests in us, they keep us from acting in our best interest. Anyone who has experienced unrelenting Doubt, Shame, or Guilt knows they can be particularly paralyzing. Loneliness eats away our ability to love. And because Urgency can feel very much like Purpose, we can justify building our entire lives around chasing it. Emotional paralysis. Absence of love. Urgency addiction. Hell.
That’s some heavy shit, and like I said, I’ve been there. I bet you’ve at least had a taste. It’s one thing to read the signs our emotions offer us. It’s another to be ruled by them. My own release happens through this simple prescription and its accompanying dire warning. I offer it to you:
Let emotion flow through your body like weather passes over your head. Read it with scientific detachment, consider its usefulness, and act accordingly. Let it shift. Encourage the change. Clinging to any feeling, especially Doubt, Guilt, Shame, Loneliness, or Urgency, will tie an anchor to your soul, and starve it, slowly and surely.
In other words: Pause and reflect. Take a breath. Act. Repeat. Now, for some coffee and a stroll. The sun outside won’t last forever.
What’s the weather like over there?