Shelley J Whitehead

Stop judging emotions as positive or negative

30 August, 2023

Did you know that there is no such thing as a ‘negative’ emotion? It’s a common mistake that people make that has a very high cost. In this post I’m going to explain why it is critical that you stop passing judgements on emotions, whether they are your emotions or those of others.

For those of you that don’t already know me, my name is Shelley and I’m a specialist relationship coach, helping people all over the world build their skills of connecting (both with themselves and others) so they can go on to develop healthy, loving and thriving relationships.

So why shouldn’t you judge an emotion as ‘negative’?

The Body’s Messengers

An emotion is a sensation in the body. It’s a ‘somatic sensation’, which means that it occurs in the body rather than in the mind.

Emotions are best understood as messengers that help us interpret and respond to the world around us. In the same way that the physiological sensation of thirst is a messenger that tells us that we need to drink, all of our emotions are indicators of things that we need to pay attention to.

When you’re feeling thirsty, you don’t judge the sensation, you just act on it. The same should be the case for all of your emotions.

The experience of the sensation of an emotion is neither negative nor positive – it is a message that is helping you to understand and frame your experience.

An Example: Anxiety

Anxiety is a great example of an emotion that people label as ‘negative’. If you take away that judgement and see it for all the gifts it can bring (including the gift of getting prepared for what is ahead), it can become an important part of your emotional skillset – a help rather than a hindrance in your life.

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about how anxiety can be helpful, you might want to watch my video called 5 steps for addressing anxiety.

For wider tools on emotional literacy, connecting with others and with yourself, do take a look at some of the other videos on my channel, including my video on the mistakes people make around emotions.

I am dedicated to empowering people with the skills of connecting with the self and with others, in order to have an embodied life of thriving. I am posting new blog posts and videos on my YouTube Channel, all the time. I love sharing my experience and tools with you, so if you’d like to stay up to date and get a notification over on YouTube when I release my next video, make sure you subscribe to my channel so we can continue this journey together.

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