The Dark Side: Fight Your Negative Emotions (Patala)

English: Foot print in sand . Photograph from ...
English: Foot print in sand . Photograph from Maldives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such a dark subject! Patala is in the soles of feet – in Hindi mythology, the site of these emotions is the closest point in your body to Naraka (Hell). The emotions are malice, torture, and hatred. For me, these emotions are turned inward – at myself. Especially over the small things. And that is the key! They are small, even though they may loo huge at the time. For instance, last week I cut six days of work from my WIP. I should have better skills. I should have seen what I was doing. I really tore myself up over that. I loathed myself for making that mistake. I punished myself. Then I realized what I was doing, that I was doing more harm than good, and “fixed” myself. But sadly, it did not occur to me to do so through a foot massage. It is difficult to feel malicious towards someone while you receive a foot massage!

  • Malice, Torture, Hatred: All these emotions lash out (or in) at someone. The act of lashing out may even be how you first realize what it is you are feeling. These are strong emotions but I’m pretty sure their milder counterparts operate the same. The source of these emotions is typically a perceived threat – threatened beliefs (like about yourself, the other person, or the ways the world works) and purpose (like your intended career) may be the most common reasons for feeling these emotions.

  • Be reactive: Choose how you react! Question your response. Why do I feel this way? What did the person do? Why does that bother me? What is the worst that could happen? If that happened, then what? Repeat this question until you can’t think of any more outcomes, then move to the next question. Are these outcomes realistic? If so, are there ways to avoid them? Is lashing out at the other person one of the ways to avoid the feared results?

  • Be proactive: Change how you act! You’ve started this process in the last step by questioning your feelings. Now change your thoughts. You are thinking in should’s. Take some of the pressure of you and the other person by changing “I/he/she should” to “it would be nice if I/he/she”. Just this one little change can start easing the stress of the situation. If you have already acted on your feelings, do damage control. Start with the other person because they are probably still reacting to you and may move to counter your efforts. Then move on to preventing/lessening the actual and potential outcomes that you thought of during the last step.

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