Side Effects of Avoiding Negative Emotions

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Do you typically avoid negative emotions or embrace them? Embracing the complexities of the human emotional experience is a good thing. It helps you to build a healthy relationship with yourself by validating and allowing yourself to feel. Of course, not every feeling needs to be acted upon especially if you find yourself repeating unhealthy behaviours. However, avoiding any negative emotions is an act of violence against of well-being.

I often see that people conflating emotions outside of joy as being a bad thing. In my opinion, I believe that this is undermining and dismissive. It also shames people for feeling genuine emotions over real-life situations. As much as you may do your absolute best to feel great all the time, you are going to have crappy days. That doesn’t make you a negative person. In fact, by embracing your feelings and accepting them is a sign of emotional maturity. It demonstrates that you are validating your emotional experience.

Problem with emotional avoidance:

  • The feelings you suppress come out later in life as unaddressed pain
  • You are not practising self-care and self-love
  • You may find yourself experiencing random outburst of sadness
  • You may subconsciously project your negative feelings onto others
  • You may be avoiding finding solutions  to your problems

When you approach negative feelings with ‘stay positive’ rhetoric, you end up preventing yourself from feeling your feelings. Behind your emotions may be unaddressed pain that manifests emotions like sadness, anger, etc. When you don’t allow yourself to uncover the truth behind your feelings, thoughts, and actions, you distract yourself from doing necessary healing work.

Additionally, I am a firm believer that you can’t fool the universe. What you avoid will always find a way to confront you eventually. Your negative feelings can manifest in the people you attract, the situations you find yourself in and so forth. Wouldn’t you rather deal with the temporary discomfort of your feelings instead of taking months/ years to clean up the damage caused by suppressing your feelings? I would choose the first option!

Here are some tips on how to deal with emotional avoidance:

  • Learn to hold yourself when feeling low- What would you say to a child who’s feeling low? You wouldn’t shut them down by saying ‘stay positive’ (well I hope not). You would try to affirm them maybe by saying that ‘it’s okay to be sad, but things will be okay’. Learn to comfort yourself just like you would to a child and assure yourself that things are going to be okay.
  • Breathe- Do some breathing techniques to calm yourself down. You could try the 4-7-8 breathing rule or any other ones that you may find useful.
  • Journal- Write about how you are feeling. Focus on writing down the situation and emotions that cropped up for you. Then write down what methods you can try to make yourself feel better at the moment.
  • Remind yourself of your values- If you haven’t already, write down your values. Are your actions/emotions currently in alignment with the type of person you want to be? This helps you to put things into perspective and reminds you that in the longer-term certain emotions shall pass.

Life comes in cycles. We must become comfortable in seeing our life that way. Some days are harder than others but that’s life. We truly need to have moments of sadness so we can understand and appreciate life and its joys. Acceptance is where you become emotionally healthy and therefore practice self-validation.

A question to you:

Do you avoid negative emotions or embrace them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Much Love, Ash xx

Embrace

New decade mantra:

Instead of resisting, we are learning to embrace. We are no longer allowing disappointment to stop us from living the life we truly desire. We use our pain as fuel to live our highest, grandest life possible. We understand that life comes in seasons and instead of resisting change, we embrace it. The past decade has come with many life lessons. In the new decade, we utilize the knowledge acquired in the last one to become a better, more wiser human beings. We embrace, stay hopeful and go after our hearts true desires.

I wish you all a blessed new year 🌷🌷

Love Ash, xx

Surrender.

Sometimes we want a situation to go a certain way but life often has its own plans. Sometimes we need to let go and allow the powers above to reconstruct our lives. You may not understand the current turmoil you are experiencing but eventually you will.
Trust that there’s work being done to restructure your chaos and make room for your joy.
Question for self-reflection:
How are you trusting your current situation?
Love Ash, x

How to Cope with a Friendship Breakup

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (10)

Have you ever drifted apart from a friend? They say some friends are for seasons but there are certain friendships that we thought would last forever. When I was younger, I used to visualize me and my friends raising our kids together, exploring the world and seeing each other reach the height of our success but life had its own plans.

Ending a friendship is extremely heartbreaking especially if they were a close friend. Unfortunately some relationships take a turn for the worst overtime. When it becomes unbearable to be around them or if their presence/ energy brings you down, it may be a sign to walk away. Friendships should make you feel loved, valued and respected. A great friend genuinely cares about your well-being and won’t be the cause of your stress. It’s normal to go through rough patches with our friends but if the common theme is more negative than positive then it’s an indication that something is wrong with the foundation of the friendship.

In saying that, just because your friendship has taken a turn for the worst doesn’t mean that it’ll always be that way. There’s still an opportunity to rebuild and resurrect old friendships. As we enter different seasons in our life, inevitably our friendships won’t always align with who we are at that present moment.

To make room for new relationships in our lives, we need to let go of what’s no longer serving us. I don’t believe in cutting people off because we all make mistakes and have the capacity to change our ways. If you decide to part ways and if the circumstances allow you to, it’s best to have a conversation about it so you both can engage in a constructive dialogue. Irrespective of how the friendship ended, you can’t undermine the value that person had in your life. Use the experience to draw on the positives and celebrate the contributions they made to help you become the person you are today.

From my personal experiences, I have conducted a list of tips to help people deal with friendship breakups.

How to cope with a friendship breakup:

  1. Give yourself space to mourn- Give yourself the time to mourn the loss of the friendship just like you would an intimate relationship. It’s okay to cry or feel bitter feelings towards the way things transpired. You should let it all out than to build resentment towards them.
  2. Confide in someone- Speak to someone you can confide in about how you feel. Maybe another friend can give you insight into what went wrong in the friendship and how to gain closure from the situation.
  3. Make new friends- Go to a social event, reach out to someone new and make friends. Losing a friend especially a close one can make us feel lonely and isolated. Give yourself permission to get to know new people because they can add value to your life. Making new friends isn’t always easy but if you start opening yourself up to others, you will naturally attract your community.
  4. Accountability- Take accountability for ways you participated in the breakup of the friendship. This is a great way for you to figure out what lessons you need to take from the experience so that they are not repeated in your other friendships. Maybe there’s things you need to be honest with yourself about in order to become a better comrade to others.
  5. Gratitude- Express gratitude for the lessons and experiences you gained from your friendship. Write down all the ways the friendship added value to your life. Showing gratitude allows you to see the breakup of the friendship as a blessing.

Quotes for reflection:

“Release and detach from every person, every circumstance, every condition, and every situation that no longer serves a divine purpose in your life. All things have a season, and all seasons must come to an end. Choose a new season, filled with purposeful thoughts and activities.”- Iyanla Vanzant

“I am thankful for the lessons you have taught me. Thank you for contributing to the person I am today and for ushering me into this new season in my life.” – Ash Alves

“Some may have one single purpose in our lives and then move along after they fulfilled whatever that purpose was; they came for a reason and a season.”- Unknown

“Some friends may be a solitary season. Their presence was important at the moment, but seasons change and people change. We come to realize that even though the friendship may have been good, it was fleeting and it ended for a reason.” – Unknown

Quotes to you:

Have you experienced a friendship breakup?

How would you deal with conflict within your friendship/s?

I’d love to hear what you think!

Love Ash, xx

The Gratitude Journal: August 19’

Happy August,

For this month’s gratitude topic, I want to talk about uncertainty!

When we are uncertain about a decision we need to make, it can make us feel stuck and unsettled. The fear of missing out or potentially making the wrong decision can be very daunting. We all feel uncertain at times and somehow we always figure it out. If you are currently feeling stuck, just remember that it will not last forever.

Perhaps we need to feel uncertain at times to get us to pause and really think. When we are sure about where we are heading, we are less inclined to take time out to observe all areas of our lives. Uncertainty allows us to take a birds eye view at our life and begs us to ask the questions; What area in my life do I need to pour more energy into?, Am I happy?, What needs shifting?

Uncertainty doesn’t last forever so take advantage of the need to pause in order to re-evaluate your life. Consider it as an opportunity to prioritize self care and put joy at the centre of your life. Don’t feel compelled to make an instant decision if you have the privilege of stalling it until you’re more certain. Life isn’t about getting to a destination “fast” but it’s about enjoying the ride. Maybe you’re uncertain because you need to show more gratitude for where you currently are in order to invite in something new and abundant into your life.

So whilst you’re feeling stuck, frustrated and uncertain, remind yourself that it won’t last forever and allow your intuition to guide you into making the best decision for you. Don’t be so attached to the outcome. And remember that you can always make another decision.

What are you focusing on this Month?

Have a great one!

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © 2019 AshAlves All Rights Reserved

January 2019: The Gratitude Journal

I'm thankful, grateful, appreciate (11)

It’s the first month of 2019! I just want to send out a gentle reminder to kick start the year

Every experience of rejection you face brings you closer to yourself. Do you know why? Because it forces you to decide whether to base your worth on that negative experience or use it to strengthen your self-belief. You have two choices in the face of rejection- either you stay knocked down or get back up and try again. Turn all that rejection into a muscle of determination and self-belief. Use it to become ruthless. Knocked down 7 times stand up 8!

Rejection is hurtful, I know, but it’s a part of life. Instead of seeing rejection as your worst enemy, you should see it as the perfect opportunity for personal development. Remember that rejection is leading you towards something more profound.

I will be practising this myself in 2019. I am making a declaration to no longer allow rejection to stop me from pursuing my goals.

Who’s with me? 

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2019, All Rights Reserved

2018 Overview: The Gratitude Journal

I'm thankful, grateful, appreciate (4).png

As we wait patiently to usher in the new year, many of us take this time to reflect and make plans for the year ahead. I always find this time of the year very intense. Not only is it the holidays and my birthday month, I typically find myself in deep contemplative mood throughout December. The previous years I would have spent this time critiquing myself and pointing out all the thing’s that I have not achieved. However, this time around I made a conscious effort to show gratitude and celebrate my achievements.

I wanted to remind you (and myself) that whilst you consider what goals would like to achieve in the new year, it’s really important that we take the time out to acknowledge our accomplishments, even if they’re small. After all, celebrating yourself encourages you to continue making positive steps and builds self-confidence.

5 things I’m proud of in 2018:

1. Blogging- I started taking my blogging seriously at the beginning of the year. I can honestly say blogging has saved my life. It has given me a platform to finally express myself and use my experiences to help others. I owe a lot of my personal progress to blogging as it has allowed me to really look into myself and actively work on becoming a better person. I am extremely grateful for the continuous support that I’ve received and to all the people that I’ve connected with. I’m so thankful for this space and for all other bloggers who inspire me to do better.

2. Battling low moods- This year I did not allow my moods to stop me from living my day to day life. I was able to be more honest with myself about my moods and really sit with my feelings. I proactively did things to make me feel better. I minimized the number of times I used my mood as an excuse. This year taught me that I’m in control of my reaction and response to life’s negative events.

3. Moving out of my family home- I finally moved into my own apartment. I’m looking forward to the lessons that it will teach me (not so much about bills lol). I’m super excited for the memories that I will make in my own place and the solace it will bring.

4. Therapy- I finally came to the conclusion that I need to take my well being seriously, so I went to therapy. I’ve only had a few sessions so far but I already feel a weight lifted. I’m excited to see what revelations will come from going to therapy and how it will contribute towards my growth.

5. Travel- I traveled in South Africa and New York this year. I had an amazing experience in both places. I am happy I had the opportunity to immerse myself with the culture, the people and got to see such astonishing views.

My 5 hopes for 2019:

  • More self-discovery
  • Plant-based living
  • Improve my blogging
  • Experience lots of joy
  • Build fulfilling/positive friendships with others

A reminder to you

If you had a great year: Well done love! You should be so proud of yourself. You accomplished milestones and made some amazing memories. You have demonstrated that you can do anything you put your mind to. 2019 is going to the year where you reap the benefits of the seeds you planted. Cheers to a prosperous 2019!

If you had a not so good year: There is something you can find to be proud of achieving this year, like deciding to get out of bed despite your depression or making a new friend. This year for you created a foundation for you to build on. It’s through your struggles that you will make 2019 a better year. What’s below rock bottom? You’ve already been there- now it’s time to claim what’s yours in 2019.

What are a few things you are proud of yourself for achieving this year?

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

I wish you all a prosperous new year and see you all in 2019!!

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Toxic Family

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (2)

There comes a time when you start to analyze your family relationships and ask yourself whether they are fulfilling or not.  It’s painful to admit that certain family members are toxic and don’t always have our best interest at heart. You might have to make a decision whether to cut ties completely or maintain a relationship from a distance.

Speaking up about toxic family members is a very difficult. There’s an unspoken rule that some things are kept within the family. As a result we maintain unhealthy and unfulfilling relationships simply because you share the same DNA. But what’s the point of family if they aren’t compassionate, caring, understanding, kind and loving?

There’s plenty of conversations around toxic friends or partners but not enough about toxic family relationships. This is something I’ve been very reluctant to talk about because of the stigma I’ve placed around talking about family affairs publicly.  However I no longer believe people should be shamed for speaking their truth. I refuse to tolerate any abusive behaviour simply because we share the same blood. I don’t want to keeping hiding the fact that some family members have inflicted more harm than good and have negatively impacted my well-being. I came to the conclusion that if maintaining certain relationships means to compromise with own sanity and well-being then it’s not worth it. I know people close to me who are struggling with having toxic family members around them but feel obliged to put up with abusive behaviour.

For any one who’s currently stuck in a predicament where they feel obligated to put up with a family members abuse, i’m here to tell you that it’s not your responsibility to deal with their demons. You should not feel obligated to put up with abuse simply because they bear the title of your parent or have your last name.

4 things you should know about your toxic family:

1. If someone is abusing you they are not loving you. Love is not abusive. When someone is inflicting violence onto another, it is not a display of love. That family member may have treated you with care or could have even provided a roof over your head but that doesn’t excuse their abusive behavior. Bell Hooks summed this up in All About Love
bell hooks

2. Putting yourself first is not selfish.  You are not obligated to sacrifice your peace of mind for your family. It can be difficult to release the notion that we have to be self-sacrificial for our family members, having to put our feelings aside to maintain the family image. However by doing this you compromise your integrity and normalise dysfunction that should not exist in the first place. Sometimes family issues make life more difficult and stressful than it needs to be. If they are affecting your well being and put you in a negative space then you have a right to keep your distance.

3. Quit trying to change them if they don’t want to change. You might have expressed  to them that you don’t like the way they treat you but they still have not corrected their behaviour. You can tell someone to change plenty of times but they won’t until they make that decision to change themselves. It might be time to accept them for who they are and lower your expectations that they will change. By lowering our expectations we won’t be constantly hurt by their wrongdoings and we find peace with our circumstances.

4. You don’t have to carry the burden of their issues. People who inflict abuse onto others have typically been victims of some form of violence themselves. Whilst we should acknowledge the reasons why people inflict violence onto others and the fact that they’ve normalised that said violence, we must not excuse their behaviour when it’s detrimental to our own well being. You can emphasize and understand someone’s pain but it can’t come at the expense of your own happiness. That person has some form of agency and ultimately you’re not obligated to coddle someone who cannot recognize the depth of how their issues affect others around them.

Have you experienced a toxic family member?

What advice would you offer someone going through this dilemma?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved