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Negative Emotions

The gurus are right that there aren't any "negative" emotions, but I would argue that there are some emotions that feel pretty bad when they're happening, and can cause setbacks and delays in our goals.

There is a list on my phone that I keep ready to go in case I feel any negative emotions, and it has the solution to each one. Even just building the habit of taking the list out in the midst of experiencing a negative emotion is helpful in breaking my patterns.

Before I get to the list, I should first define what a negative emotion is, as there are many spiritual teachings that claim there is no such thing.

That's a scroll, not a double-ended...

My definition of a negative emotion is an emotion that hinders my progress towards my stated goals. For example, "Anger" can be a very powerful tool, and can be useful for moving me out of inaction - however, more often than not if I'm feeling angry with a family member, that isn't going to move me towards my goal of being a loving husband and a father.

"Fear" is useful for keeping me from running out on the street, but it doesn't serve me during public speaking.

The trick that I've found is to treat my emotions as triggers to take action - but to recognize that when I'm having those emotions it may not be instinctive to treat them as such, and to use these prompts to do so.

This is my list of questions to ask and things to do with each unempowering emotion I may feel:


  • Rules have been violated.

  • Are the rules true/fair?

  • Could you have communicated those rules more effectively?


  • Prepare.

  • Take action.


  • Change.


  • Which of your standards have you violated?

  • Evaluate standards.

  • Take actions congruent with your standards.


  • What expectations are unmet?

  • What do you really want?

  • Could you communicate that better?

This list treats all of the above emotions as signals. It's my hope that you'll carry a similar list around with you, and that it will propel you towards your goals.

Speaking of goals, what are yours? Click below for a sneak peek into my master plan...



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