Transforming unwanted emotions into something more useful

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

A time of change can sometimes bring us unwanted emotions — things like frustration, anger, fear, and sadness.

When this happens our first response might often be to want those emotions go away.

But if we pause for a moment, and remember that every problem is an opportunity, then we can learn to transform those unwanted emotions into useful allies.

Frustration and anger can be converted into Passion
Anger and frustration show us what we care about — we want the opposite of what has happened.
So if we pause and realise this, and use the situation to get clearer on what we want instead, then we can look for new ways to achieve that.
Then we give ourselves the opportunity to transform our anger into clarity, passion, and determination to make the meaning of our lives, in whatever ways are appropriate.

Fear can become Courage
Fear comes from imagining something that hasn’t happened: it is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’.
Courage isn’t an absence of this fear: it is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
So if we use our fear to get clearer on what it is that most inspires us, then we can put ourselves back in control and choose how much effort we put into achieving that. This includes managing our risks and building the inspiration, determination, and enthusiasm that will outweigh our fear.
Then we transform the word Fear from ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ into ‘Face Everything And Rise’.

Sadness can be turned into Aliveness and Joy:
Sadness is a sign that we have lost something important to us.
And it is when we work most in line with our purpose and values we feel most fully alive.
So if we know the techniques for rapidly letting go of what we have lost, in useful ways, and turning to face the future, then we can transform our feelings of loss into rebuilding what we care about most, in new and better ways. Then we can turn sadness into joy, exhilaration, and flow.

The unwanted emotions that we sometimes feel during this time of change are just temporary feelings. More than that, they are signposts that can point us towards what we care about most. If we use those signposts to shift our focus then we can put more effort into creating what we most desire instead of avoiding what we don’t.

And when we inspire ourselves and others to create what matters most then we take another step towards becoming antifragile.

Have you or any of the people around you been feeling any unwanted emotions lately? Would it be useful to know how to transform those emotions into the focus and inspiration that will take you to where you want to be instead?


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

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Photo By keith ellwood via StockPholio.net

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