This can be a hard one for people to learn. Our society doesn’t do great with teaching us to manage our emotions and learn from them. In our society it seems like there is a strong push to get rid of negative emotions as quickly as possible. And I totally understand the sentiment, who wants to feel badly? But the problem is that if we don’t learn to understand what this emotion is trying to teach us about ourselves, we are likely to keep re-experiencing it.
It is my belief that this is why we have so much unhealthy behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use; over-eating; gambling; self-harming behaviors; overspending these are all short term fixes. The long term solution is to figure out what your emotions are trying to teach you and then that you can sit with that unpleasant emotion and that it will pass and you will survive. I find in my work with folks who grew up in chaotic, scary, abusive or neglectful homes this can be quite difficult. This is because they did not learn healthy coping skills and so they don’t know what to do when faced with strong emotions. Their brain goes into panic mode and it feels like the emotion will drown them.
But no emotion can actually kill you and you can learn better ways of coping. Then start practicing sitting with some of those emotions without first trying to get rid of them and really reflect on what those emotions are signaling for you. And if you find you need a little bit of professional support in this area, find a support group, or find a therapist.