Thought Catalog
April 16, 2015

7 Feelings That Seem Negative But Actually Indicate You’re Growing As A Person

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Eugenio Marongiu
Eugenio Marongiu

A couple years ago, I remember meeting up with a woman who was helping me with some holistic healing techniques and, upon talking, she quickly told me that I was healing and growing so much. I was like, OH REALLY? THEN WHY IS EVERYTHING THE WORST THEN??? She was like, uhhhh, because you’re facing down all these inner demons you’ve been silencing with alcohol and sex and distraction and food and all sorts of things you didn’t realize you were using to soothe away uncomfortable feelings? I was like, ohhhhhhh, cool, cool, makes sense. And then I cried.

Turns out, the end result of healing feels freeing and amazing, but the actual process of healing? Yeah, that’s a sludge through the mud of past pain which is both worthwhile and terrible at the exact same time. Growth requires a lot of a person. That’s why many people decide to forgo self-growth and healing and, instead, simply burrow inside their life, repeating their days and situations over and over. You have to be strong to break your own patterns, to understand that you’re the only one capable of improving your life. This is powerful, but it is also scary.

All those parts of you that you’ve hidden away want to come barreling forth onto the surface. That’s the beginning of healing. It’s like clearing out your emotional and spiritual closet by pulling out every little belief and memory inside of you, examining it, and deciding whether it gets to stay as is or not. It’s arduous. But, it’s freeing as well. And that’s the whole point. To give you peace and freedom from feeling like a victim to your own thoughts.

When you do the work to heal, it can sometimes be a dark tunnel. It can feel like you haven’t done anything at all. You could be wondering if you’re doing it right. If you keep being honest with yourself and examining your own automatic thoughts and beliefs, you’re doing it right. Once you become conscious to yourself and what thoughts are dictating your actions, you start the process of healing.

Therefore, if you feel these things, you are growing. Although they seem like negative feelings and have been demonized as feelings that are shameful, you should know how important they are to growth. They are your building blocks, your markers of healing. Be grateful for them, as you would be for any perceived positive feelings. These “negative” feelings are giving you a gift.

1. Insecurity

Many people believe that insecurity is shameful because they assume it means you aren’t comfortable with yourself. However, in the context of self-growth, it means that you are moving from one stage to the next. You haven’t yet found your footing in your evolvement and that means you lack some confidence just for this period in time. You are stepping into a completely unknown part of yourself, so it’s only fitting that you wouldn’t feel wholly sure of yourself. You will, soon. Trust.

2. Self-Doubt

You are in the process of fully breaking down your own identity, so of course you will feel doubtful about what you’re doing. Everything you’ve come to know about yourself and your life is now being examined. If you’re not feeling self-doubt, you’re not going deep enough. Keep digging. The moment that self-doubt engulfs you is the dark night before the dawn.

3. Lost

Once you come out the other side of growth, you will have a whole new set of knowledge that you can then put to use in all areas of your life. Of course, during the process of growth, you’d feel lost. You don’t know where to go yet and that’s the whole point. You can’t keep digging in the same place over and over and expect something different. To set you on this path of healing, there must have been a catalyst which led you to this intensely personal time of self-growth. Let it run its course and enjoy the aimlessness as much you can.

4. Uncertainty

Once you embrace vulnerability in the way that true growth demands, you will also embrace uncertainty. They go hand in hand. The certain person is the person unwilling to grow. You will end up denying a lot about your life and future if you need to be certain about it at all times. This doesn’t allow for a lot of room to increase your knowledge or experience new things. Embracing uncertainty is the most freeing thing you can do for yourself. You can’t predict the future. The only thing certain about certainty is that you’ll make yourself crazy trying to get it.

5. Fear

You know why you’ve been distracting away your opportunities to grow? Because of that fear you’re feeling right now. That’s the fear that has kept you from moving on, rising up, and expanding into new experiences for yourself. Are you dead from this fear? Are you still moving forward and pushing beyond it? Yes. You can withstand the worst emotional fear you’ve been afraid of for years. Now you know that. That’s good knowledge to have about yourself. You can do hard work. You can rise from the ashes. You’re stronger than you think you are.

6. Anxiety

Where there is insecurity, fear, and uncertainty, there is surely anxiety. Breathe through it. Learn techniques that will ease your anxiety. Take up meditation or yoga. Find ways to quiet your mind. Whatever you can do to not let your mind and your thoughts rule your inner peace is what you need to focus on. Anxiety is part of growth, it just is. But it gives you something in the process: it allows you to learn what calms you, so that you can self-soothe all your life. There will never be a shortage of anxiety-inducing things about the world, but your reaction to that anxiety is the only thing you can control. Learn to breathe through the stress and worry and fear and anxiety and you will never have to worry about it overtaking you again. You will be prepared for it.

7. Discomfort

You’re growing into a whole new phase! Being uncomfortable is exactly where you need to be right now. You’ve been avoiding this discomfort for years. Let it be. It’s essential.

Life will always throw at you challenging moments that require you to grow and rise from them. The more you can ease into the discomfort of growth—instead of cower away from it—the less your circumstances can control you. You have very little control over what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. You can choose to stew in your frustration, stress, negativity, or you can evolve from it. The equally good and bad news is that it all falls on you. You’re the one in charge of how you react to any situation in your life. You can choose to stick your head in the sand and stay the same or you can grow and be free. The choice is yours. TC mark


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