Fearing Negative Emotions

Negative emotions are an early warning system that signals when you are being harmed. Don't ignore or stuff these emotions.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
~II Timothy 1:7

Fear. I’m confronting it in my life, learning to recognize its grip and its consequences. I’m amazed to realize how often fear rules me. Fear not only deprives me of loving relationships but also greatly hampers my growth in just about every area of which I can think.

  • faith and spiritual life
  • social interactions
  • emotions
  • business transactions
  • volunteer work
  • finances
  • interpersonal relations

I can think of specific instances in which fear has held me back or even harmed me in every single one of these areas.

The arena of negative emotions is one in which fear greatly affects me.

I grew up with the mindset that the only acceptable emotions were positive: optimism, cheerfulness, joy. I was to be happy at all times. Sadness, discouragement, despondency, fear, hurt – these were labeled as bad emotions which must be denied at any cost. The only negative emotion that seemed acceptable was anger. The others only made me vulnerable and weak and must not be shown, no matter what.

But negative emotions are part of life. I couldn’t just wipe them from existence. Instead, I did the next best thing: I stuffed them way down deep, locked them away, and denied that they ever existed. After all, what if people found out that I felt these horrible emotions?

What kind of person is hurt by someone else’s actions?
What kind of person is scared to allow people to see the real her?
What kind of person is fearful about so many things?

I believed that those emotions and feelings made me weak and vulnerable. That if people knew I felt [fearful, scared, hurt], I’d be seen as less than. As not worthy. As something beneath contempt.

It’s ironic that in trying to project an image of strength, I isolated myself and made myself weak.

I’m working my way through Boundaries and have learned that God gifted us with negative emotions. The emotions I saw as bad and undesirable were actually signaling I was being harmed in some way. If I’d understood and acted on what my emotions were telling me, I would have been saved from quite a bit of heartache.

Fear has its place and can be beneficial when it functions as intended. But if I allow fear to take control, it is no longer beneficial but has become a liability.

I have a lot of work ahead of me as I learn how to interpret and handle my negative emotions, including fear. I’m sure I’ll never perfectly master my emotions, but I am certain that as I learn how to listen to and interpret them correctly, I’ll be healthier and happier.

How do you view negative emotions?
How does fear affect your life?

Comments

  1. thinking of you as you seek…God promises that when we seek with our whole hearts He will be found…

    Jeremiah 29:12

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