Do you Pen It?

Why it is important to write down negative feelings?…on a piece of paper. And then to throw that piece of paper away.

No matter how much of a positive person we may be and how much effort we make to stay positive, the reality is that we come across some people in our life who generate negative emotions in us. The tragedy of it is that these are generally people who are close to us and from whom we wish for love and not dislike.

The silver lining on these strong negative feelings is that a dislike indicates that we have feelings for that person. Which is different than indifference which indicates no feelings at all for that person. (Hmmm, as I write this I question myself whether if it came to that, I would rather someone dislike me or that person be indifferent to me. Now that’s a topic for another blog post…)

So, coming back to harboring negative feelings, when we feel negativity for someone, among other ways, it could erupt as talking badly about that person to someone else, talking badly about that person to that person itself, letting the negativity permeate our mind and body and getting sick from it, going to a therapist to talk about it, and writing our negative feelings down.

So, let us address each of these options one by one.

Speaking badly about that person behind their back is not a good thing. When you badmouth, you are conveying a bad image of yourself and of the person close to you, to outsiders. Even though venting may be considered a way to feel better, in my opinion, all it does is make you feel worse after an initial high of feeling powerful. It also emboldens you to drag on your animosity to potentially an unpleasant conclusion.

Talking badly about that person to that person itself may not always be possible. You may be bound by cultural limitations, your personal morals, your temperament where you are unable to sustain the verbal banter or simply your tendency to avoid conflict. Even without these reasons, there is a possibility that with confrontation, the conflict and negative feelings may escalate into a worse and an undesirable situation.

Letting the negativity permeate your mind and body and getting sick from it is perhaps the most lethal thing you can do to yourself. It’s as if you are willingly taking poison from someone else. Nobody, I repeat, nobody in this world is worth getting sick over. Here I am not talking about people who die of grief from the loss of a loved one, even though I wish that not to be the case. This situation is where your encounters with a certain person over time have resulted in an acrimonious relationship.

Going to a therapist to talk it out, simply put, is too expensive. And unless it threatens changes in your life, do you really need to go to a therapist?

Write it down. That’s what you need to do. You can write anything and everything about that person, all the complaints you have of them, all the times they have disappointed you, all the times they have not met your expectations or stood by you, all the uncalled for accusations they have hurled on you. Your writing can be completely uncensored. As you start writing your feelings down, soon enough you will start feeling something therapeutic happening within you. You may realize that maybe that person is not that bad after all and maybe they had reasons for the way they had behaved. Maybe things were not as personal as you had thought they were. You may also realize that you really don’t want things to be bad between you and, contrarily, wish they were better. You may be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoe and develop a birds-eye view of what is going on rather than a worm’s eye view. You may even come up with a way to approach the person that will result in a positive outcome. The possibilities are endless.

All in all, writing it down is the optimal solution that will make you feel better about yourself and the other person. It will move you towards cordiality, in the least. And as you find yourself swimming in these peaceful feelings, do not forget to shred that written piece of paper right away. The shredding needs to be in the do-now list, for the consequences of it being read by others are dire, and could result in a situation that is irreconcilable.

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