Transforming unwanted emotions

Woman wearing Sunglasses walks confidently in the opposite direction to the Arrows

A time of change can often bring unwanted emotions: anger, frustration, fear, and sadness.

Often we work hard to make these emotions go away. But with a different attitude, and the right tools, we can learn to transform these emotions into useful allies.

When we centre and ground, make clear sense of the situation, find more options to move forward, and turn the best of them into something that inspires us to move forward, then we can transform these emotions into something that helps us get what we want:

  • Anger and frustration can be turned into Passion
    Anger shows us what we care about.
    When we acknowledge this, make clear sense of the situation, and find more options to move forward, then we can turn our anger into passion and determination to do what we can — to make our own meaning of our lives.
  • Fear can become Courage
    Fear is an imagined response to something that hasn’t happened yet. It is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’.
    If we plan for the risks and find what most inspires us to move forward then ‘fear’ can become transformed into ‘Face Everything And Rise’.
    Courage isn’t an absence of fear: it is choosing to feel the fear and do it anyway.
  • Sadness can be turned into Joy and Aliveness:
    Sadness is a sign that we have lost something important to us.
    If we get clear on what that is then we can grieve our loss. Then we can turn to face the future and start to rebuild what we care about most — in new and better ways.
    This is what brings us joy: not the having but the seeking.

Joy, exhilaration, and flow come when we work in line with our values. We lose track of time, we feel most fully alive.

Sadness is a signpost that points us to what we have lost. Joy is the act of working to create it again. Transforming our fear provides the determination to try. And harnessing our anger provides the passion and energy to move forward.

The unwanted emotions we sometimes feel during these times of churning are not who we are: they are temporary warning signs, urging us to create something different from what we have now.

Rather than making them go away, or (worse) ignoring them, we can feel the feelings, look at what those feelings point to, and use the energy to move into the next step.

With the right attitude and tools this becomes easier.

Have you or any of the people around you been feeling any unwanted emotions lately? What if you could transform these emotions into the focus and energy to get what you want instead?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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