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5 Things I Learned in 2020 (Part 2/5)

In 2020, I learned that negative emotions last about 90 seconds (on average).

This is, of course, assuming we let ourselves actually FEEL them. Mostly, we avoid them - we push them down and try to ignore them because they’re unpleasant and uncomfortable. We resist even thinking about them lest we get sucked into their cycle of despair.

But they don’t go away. They hang on like a weight on our shoulders until we find the courage to deal with them (or, more likely, until the weight becomes too much and we just break down).

In 2020, I learned that I had been avoiding letting myself feel a lot of negative emotions, and it was weighing me down to the point that I felt like I was being dragged through my life, not actually living it.

None of us are immune to this situation. As humans, we all have emotions. And as a social species, we are all longing to feel the same things:

- To feel seen

- To feel loved

- To feel SAFE

In 2020, I learned that we can make each other feel safe by making it safe to feel.

Safe to feel fear.

Safe to feel joy.

Safe to feel pain.

Safe to feel disappointment.

In order to move through our negative emotions, we must face them and FEEL them. And if we can all support one another in allowing these feelings - by inquiring deeply about each other’s well-being, by listening without judgement, by modeling vulnerability in sharing what we’re really feeling - we can help ourselves and each other move through them.

Emotions need motion.



One of the most effective emotional tools I gained in 2020 is the RAIN practice. I use it when I’m feeling a lot of fear or anxiety about something, or whenever a strong negative emotion arises. Every single time it has brought me through the emotion to a sense of calm and peaceful acceptance.

You can learn more about RAIN here.

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