We’ve all heard it hundreds of times before. ‘He’s giving you grief? Cut that negativity out of your life.’ ‘Ugh, looking at them just makes me feel awful/angry… Unfollow. Unfriend. Disconnect.’ Whenever we’re presented with negative or challenging thoughts we’re encouraged to cut them out…
Here’s why (in my humble opinion) you shouldn’t.
For me, anxiety is like a light-switch in my head, clicking off in my brain and exposing it suddenly to the dark thoughts that send me into spirals. These triggers can often come from a place of selfishness. Jealousy, self-doubt, comparison games, anger at friends living their lives without you.
“Cut the negativity out of your life” and other phrases like this ring alarm bells in my mind. If you’re consistently cutting things out that cause you issues, how does that leave time for reflection and growth? Ignoring a negative feeling or presence does not make that thing automatically disappear – in fact I’ve found the opposite is true.
Cutting out Ugly Thoughts and Feelings
In the past I have cut things out of my life that bothered me as they made me feel things that are “ugly” and “shouldn’t be felt.” Jealousy boiling in my stomach, anger searing across the back of my neck, embarrassment burning in my cheeks. Cut those things out. Get rid of that emotion ASAP. Get on with your day. Right?
I actually found that cutting these triggers out, only worsened the repetition of anxious episodes. What I could have gotten over in a few short hours with some careful thought, self-care and reasoning, left me with months of anger, resentment and stress. Whenever I saw a reminder of things I’d cut out – cue panic attacks. Whenever I saw someone who I’d cut out of my life in jealous rage – oops, who turned out the lights.
Allow yourself time to process these feelings instead
These feelings of anger and sadness – they’re just as important to accept as the positive feelings. I’ve found too, that the more you’re curious to the cause of the problem, the less of an effect it will have in the long run.
- Why am I reacting in this way?
- Why does this person affect me so much?
- Why do I feel hurt?
- When did it start?
If you’re feeling jealous – don’t be ashamed of it. If you’re feeling angry, breathe and accept it – Try to reason with it. Question everything. Write it all down. That monster waiting in the dark spaces, could just turn out to be a shadow.
This is entirely drawn on my own experiences, thoughts and findings during my uphill struggles with my mental health over the past few years. If this helps for you, then that’s amazing and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I would always advise you see a doctor if you’re feeling low.
You might also like to read my post “Getting out of a Self Doubt spiral” here.