Sometimes, when we turn on the television, look at social media, or talk with people in the world we are bombarded with strong negative emotions such as fear, anger, hopelessness, guilt, or shame.
These emotions tend to make the headlines every day and grab people’s attention. Advertisements are designed to trigger our desire and make us feel like we need something new to feel good about ourselves.
Because our minds naturally pay quick attention to the negative, we can become easily overwhelmed by all that is going wrong in the world.
If we have some insight and look within, we might even notice that we too are frequently afraid, desirous, angry, or guilty.
How then, can we truly learn to love?
Are these negative emotions possible to let go of?
On a stormy day, when we look up at the sky, all we can see is the dark storm clouds filling the sky. We hear the rain pouring down and perhaps lightning or thunder. It seems the sun has vanished.
But the sun has not gone anywhere. It is still there behind the clouds, shining upon the earth.
The way I see it, love is like that sun. Always present and shining on everyone, even when it seems cloudy outside.
Our fears are merely clouds blocking out the view of the truth of who we are, that we are loving and peaceful.
The process of becoming a more loving person, then, starts with us. What clouds of negative emotion do we hold on to? What purpose have they served in our life? And are we willing let them go?
Let’s take a look at some common clouds and their purpose:
Shame – Shame lets us be angry at ourselves and beat ourselves up as a way of trying to make things better.
Guilt – Guilt blames ourselves for any wrong doing in an attempt to change our situation.
Apathy- Apathy makes us feel hopeless so we don’t even have to try.
Fear – Fear gives us an easy excuse to avoid what scares us and play everything safe.
Anger – Anger makes us feel powerful over others or get revenge on being wronged.
We can all likely relate to these feelings and the purpose they serve. They are a natural part of being human and they have their uses.
However, if we frequently live with these clouds, it is hard to notice the sun behind them. We might question if the sun even exists.
What would it be like to be willing to let these clouds go and experience what is behind them?
Letting go of these emotions takes courage. We must be willing to fully feel them and then allow them to pass, trusting that on the other side of the clouds there is something better.
When we do allow them to pass, we begin to see the rays of light peeking through.
As the sun starts to shine and warm us up, we begin to feel closer and closer to love. Hope returns. Acceptance and forgiveness are possible. Wisdom and understanding begin to emerge.
Joy, love, and peace emanate from the warm rays of the sun.
As we soak up these states of love, we might notice that these feelings have also been within us the whole time, ready to emerge.
The sun beyond the clouds is also a warm light in our hearts. When our hearts begin to open, love and acceptance permeates our being.
We become a loving person. Love becomes who we are.
We become gentle and caring toward all of life. Compassion naturally arises within us. Patience and kindness are effortless.
We may still experience anger, fear, and guilt. But they are now passing clouds that do not last for long.
We know the true essence of who we are, the light within.
This is the process of letting go of the clouds and embracing the light in our hearts.
It may not be easy or comfortable. The journey is a lifetime of choosing love and knowing the light is there, even in the darkest of storm clouds.
But if we practice, our hearts begin to grow. And we begin to know that love is within us, always there. One step at a time, it begins to shine brighter.
This is the journey of becoming a more loving person.
Until next time,
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with anxiety and could use the support of a professional, it would be an honor to be of service. I offer Therapy for Anxiety and Mindfulness Workshops in Oakland, California.