Remember the last time you heard an assertion of defeat such as this?
- “I’d rather not apply for the job. I likely won’t get it and would rather not waste my time.”
That frustration is similar to this piece of cynicism posted on Pinterest:
- “The best way to avoid disappointment is to not expect anything from anyone.”
Or maybe you’re familiar with this defensive promise:
- “I’ll never get hurt again because I’ll never get that close to anyone.”
Negative Emotions—You Can Keep Them!
These statements, and many others like them, are expressing a desire to avoid a negative emotion and the distressing feelings that accompany it. Disappointment and hurt are the tip of the negative-emotion iceberg. Their partners in generating unpleasantness include:
- Loneliness on and on.
Just seeing these words might generate a bit of a blah feeling!
Negative Emotions = Inner Chaos
Collectively I refer to negative emotions as inner chaos. They are part of the human experience—the unpleasant part naturally. Since inner chaos is part of the human experience, there’s no escaping it!!!
Yet that doesn’t stop us from trying. Although negative emotions cannot be eliminated, attempting to do so is a very common human response to inner chaos.
Avoidance Strategies to Escape Inner Chaos
Popular methods used to escape negative emotions including resisting, denying, avoiding, ignoring, and pushing them away. Maybe you intend to talk yourself out of unwanted emotions or look the other way when you sense them arising. Suppressing inner chaos could look like a forced laugh or fake smile. Familiar with the silent treatment? Classic denying and avoiding strategies.
Pleasure Strategies to Escape Inner Chaos
Equally popular, we humans love to escape from negative emotions by indulging in pleasure. You might think of this as an effort to smother, dull, or even drown out the inner chaos. High on the list of pleasure indulgences, you’ll find the familiar: eating, drinking, shopping, porn and/or sex. Additionally, net surfing, hanging out on social media, and gossiping are quick and easy ways of generating pleasure to mask or dull some emotional pain.
Of course, the pleasures of life are not evil nor simply avoidance tactics. We humans are way too complicated and sophisticated to simplify everything into good and bad or helpful and destructive.
Imagined Scenarios to Escape Inner Chaos
Consider all the times you drift off imagining scenarios that would curb or even negate your brush with negative emotions. Fill in the blank, “I would feel excited, happy, content, motivated, and generally better if . . .”
- My daughter would just clean her room and do her homework
- The boss was more organized and informed me more frequently
- That June outdoor wedding weekend turns out sunny and comfortable
- Other drivers didn’t cut me off, block the lane, speed, or go too slow
- The review board accepts my proposal
- Mom’s cancer treatments lead to a complete healing
- I get the promotion
- Our neighbors would clean their yard and paint their house
These imagined scenarios are all entangled with your hopes and efforts to shape how other people behave, think, and feel, as well as how circumstances unfold.
When your hopes fail and your efforts fall short, the negative emotions intensify especially if you then layer on blame. Blame others for not complying or blame yourself for not accomplishing your mission, either way, inner chaos thrives!
Freedom from Negative Emotions
Avoidance strategies, pleasure strategies, and imagined scenarios sometimes offer temporary relief but are often accompanied by negative side effects. Real freedom from inner chaos comes when you TAME the Inner Chaos rather than resist, deny, dread, indulge, or mask it!
Remember inner chaos is part of the human experience. Therefore, you need the life skills for taming that inner chaos!
Potential for Confidence, Clarity, & Calm
On the other side of taming inner chaos, you’ll discover Confidence, Clarity, and Calm!
If you knew you could handle and experience the emotions of disappointment, rejection, frustration, doubt, and uncertainty, then you’d have Confidence, Clarity, and Calm. Then,
- Applying for a promotion
- Taking on the challenge of writing or creating or producing
- Stepping up to lead others
- Taking another chance on love . . .
. . . would all feel exciting, like risks worth taking.
Once you Tame the Inner Chaos and discover Confidence, Clarity, & Calm, the path toward your aspiration feels far less treacherous.
Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find numerous opportunities to explore more and discover your path to taming inner chaos.
Curious? Take a look.
Four FREE Ways to Learn More
- Scan the Tame the Inner Chaos website resources
- Take this self-assessment: Discover Your Path to Confidence, Clarity, & Calm
- Join the private Facebook Group: Confidence, Clarity, & Calm
- Schedule a Coaching Conversation
Inner chaos, those negative feelings of confusion, uncertainty, fear, overwhelm, resistance, doubt, are part of the human experience that are here to stay. Instead of resisting, avoiding, ignoring, pushing away, escaping, masking, drowning-out, or smothering these emotions, embrace the real freedom that comes when you become aware of what generates the inner chaos. Then learn to TAME it so you can move forward on your path to achieving your aspirations!
Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash