Well, nothing intrinsically. The problem is actually judgment. Most people equate positivity with “good” and negativity with “bad”. This thinking leads many of us to deny, avoid, and beat themselves up over “negative” emotions and thoughts.
I see this time and again with Moms and have experienced it myself. It’s as though there is a requirement to let everyone know you’re doing okay and overall things are good because, if you’re not positive, you must be a bad Mom. It takes a while and a lot of trust before a Mom will say she’s struggling and it usually comes couched in some form of “but I’ll be okay” or “but it’s worth it.”
Of course that’s true too! The issue is when we minimize and avoid the “negative” feelings, they don’t actually go away. They sit inside of us and sap our energy like a slow tire leak.
I want you to know right now that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with you if you feel overwhelmed, dissatisfied, frustrated, stuck, etc. It doesn’t mean anything about how much you love your children or your spouse or how good of a Mom you are. However, letting those emotions sit there will affect how you show up for your kids, partner, and life.
So what do you do?
Feelings aren’t facts but they are information. Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings and look at what they can tell you about what you need right now. One of the most common things “negative” emotions often indicate is that it’s time for some self-care to repair and refill that tire. Moms often have a resistance to asking for help (I’ll talk about this more in the next blog) but do it. It’s okay to get uncomfortable. It just means you’re trying on something new. You’ll be better able to serve your children, partner and yourself!
In the meantime, here are a few brain hacks to help you create more of the feelings you WANT instead of staying stuck in those you don’t.
- Change your words. Your words are powerful and direct your brain where to focus. Start using words that direct towards what you want, instead of what you don’t. For example: Instead of saying, “I’m so overwhelmed!” and putting the focus on what you DON’T want, say “I would like to feel more capable.” emphasizing what you DO want. Instead of “I’m exhausted.” say “I could be more energized.” Instead of “I hate this.” Say “I wish to be enjoying what I’m doing more.”
- Breathe deeply. When we are stressed we have a tendency to curl our body inward and our breathing becomes shallower. This is a defensive posture, so even if we weren’t already stressed, this signals our brain that we are. The reverse can work too. Roll your shoulders back, open your chest and breathe deeply and slowly. This tells our brain we are relaxed, yes, even when we don’t feel like it. (Smiling can do the same thing.)
- Get the thoughts and feelings out of just swirling around your head. Include a gratitude list, which is another way to refocus your mind into an expansive space, rather than a limited one. Even if you aren’t feeling it, just accessing that part of your brain triggers happier feelings. (If you’re more verbally inclined, ask a trusted someone to listen without comment and “journal” to them.)
The key here is that you are not pretending to feel something or “acting as if” but reinforcing by word and action what you WANT rather than what you don’t want.
Remember that avoiding “negative” feelings will not make them go away. You have to release them to truly get “positive”.
P.S. To get support releasing the judgment, seeing beyond your own thinking, and getting clear on what you really need right now contact me for a free Limitless You Discovery session.