There are many priceless benefits of positive thinking. When we live in the place of joy, peace and love, our world is happier, brighter and full of desired experiences.

But what happens when something less desirable happens? Many advise us to reframe, focus on the positive or find the silver lining. These are helpful tactics, but there is another perspective to embrace. Our world is one of duality and we cannot fully embrace the positive without the flip side. We would never know joy without sorrow or contentment without dissatisfaction.

We are taught from an early age to stop crying, ignore ridicule and speak kind words. These messages tell us that our feelings are not allowed and appreciated, and we often unknowingly pull them in and shove them down where they cannot be seen.

We should open our minds to the value of feeling all of our emotions. When you feel a less-desirable emotion like shame, guilt, sadness or distrust, sit in the feeling. Be brave. Let the emotion wash over you and fully feel it. It is understandable that we would want the uncomfortable haze to go away as soon as possible, but we have these feelings for a reason. They are messages with lessons. They are teaching us about our conscience and the world around us. They teach us empathy.

When we learn our personal stance, we often raise our standards of thought and behavior towards ourselves and others. This can also be described as raising our consciousness.

Let’s use shame as an example. If we feel shame, we are feeling we have behaved in a way that is not acceptable. This is our chance to reevaluate the situation and decide if we will continue this particular behavior or if we feel the other person in the situation should have behaved in a different manner. This feeling will come up again throughout our lives until we have resolved it or learned its meaning in our lives. Our world would be much different if, instead of someone telling us, “You should be ashamed,” we asked ourselves, “Why do I feel shame?”

Often these undesirable feelings will linger for days, weeks or longer. The reason for this is that our conscious and subconscious mind are processing the information in an attempt to resolve it. Some people process on their own, some people talk with friends or family, and others discuss the feelings with a professional. Every journey to navigate emotions is unique.

It is easy to get stuck in a cycle of negative emotions, but if we make the effort to avoid blame, understand, learn and grow from less-desirable emotions, in the long run, our positive emotions will be stronger and more sustainable. This is of benefit to ourselves and those around us. My advice is to put effort into positivity while embracing the lesson and meaning of the less-desirable feelings.

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