Noticing Your Unpleasant Thoughts And Feelings

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Many feel an almost irresistible urge to put their unwanted, unpleasant thoughts and feelings out there as soon as these thoughts and feelings arise. While the rationalization for this behavior usually sounds plausible, what’s really going on is the unconscious need to transfer that internal unpleasant buildup onto some external entity in order to find psychic relief, like a volcano blowing its top.

Constantly putting unpleasant thoughts and feelings out there is not about being honest, it’s not about resolving conflict, it’s not about taking care of emergency situations, it’s not about holding others responsible for their behavior. These are all excuses for the real motivation, the motivation of getting that felt poison out of the psychic system as quickly as possible.

If you want healthier relationships and a healthier life, the paradox is that you’ve got to learn to take responsibility for those internal thoughts and emotions that seem unhealthy to you, you’ve got to decide that you’re no longer going to transfer them to this or that external entity, like your spouse, son, daughter, sibling, work colleague, friend, or whoever. You’ve got to decide that the buck stops here, that whoever you may blame for the genesis of your unpleasant psychic material it’s yours to deal with now and you’re not going to pass it on in its current form to anyone else.

This constructive, healthy decision starts simply enough, with noticing your unpleasant thoughts and feelings and then naming them. Most of us don’t ever get that far. We feel annoyed or hostile or angry or whatever and a millisecond later we unleash. The antidote to this unconscious behavioral chain is mindfulness, it’s simply noticing that which is unpleasant and unwanted in us and accepting it rather than instantly seeking to expunge it. If we can do that then we put ourselves in position to resolve our inner conflict in a non-destructive way, by choosing loving words and actions to explain to those around us how we’re being made to suffer and how they can help us suffer less.