When we expect something positive and have a desire for something good, that very experience of want, or to covet, is in a way, a negative experience for us.
Referred to as the ‘Backwards Law’ by the modern philosopher Alan Watts, pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack the same right now.
Example: The more we want to be rich, the more we realize that we aren’t rich, and the feeling of lack and unworthiness comes to the surface, even if you are otherwise not poor at all.
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Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet, compared emotions to unexpected visitors.
We're supposed to let them in and not hide from them, suppress them or pretend they do not exist.
In a society that promotes gratitude and positivity, there is pressure to suppress or conceal negative feelings.
But psychological studies reveal that acceptance of your negative feelings promotes emotional resilience, with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Acceptance of negative emotions involves not trying to change how we feel but taking them for what they are.
Acceptance works because it blunts the emotional reactions to stressful events. In time, it can lead to positive psychological health.
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