Hello folks! This week is all about understanding and processing the eight unpleasant feelings that Dr Joan I. Rosenberg has laid out for us in her book “90 Seconds to a Life You Love”! You may be wondering, what are the eight most common unpleasant feelings? According to Rosenberg they are sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, embarrassment, disappointment, frustration & vulnerability (52). In order to take hold of our lives, these eight feelings must be dealt with in a healthy, constructive manner. This week I want to give you a little insight into two of these emotions, and tell you how Dr Rosenberg defines them, and how we can take small steps to embrace, rather than fear unpleasant emotions.
Starting off with sadness, she states “sadness can be especially painful because it often brings up unhappy memories from the past, which can feel overwhelming” (55). She also says that while sadness is a difficult emotion, it can help us reach out to others and help us open up to close friends and family thereby creating deeper connections (56). For me, sadness is a particularly hard emotion that I often want to avoid, because it hurts and is difficult to process. No one ever told me how hard it would be to lose a first love, lose a best friend, or lose the trust and safety of someone close to you. All of these life experiences left me deeply sad, and as a teenager I did not yet have the tools to process these losses. Instead, I tried to downplay my sadness or avoid it so I would not be seen as “dramatic”. Yet, for these feelings to subside, I now know that we must feel the sensations in our body and stay present with the wave of emotion and somatic material that arises.
Now let’s turn our attention to the next emotion: shame. Rosenberg says “shame is often associated with the belief that one is inadequate, defective, flawed, damaged, or bad” (56). Often when we face rejection or failure, we feel ashamed. I remember feeling ashamed when I didn’t make the senior volleyball team. I had been playing this sport my whole life and yet I was cut from the school team. I felt so embarrassed and didn’t know how to deal with the cascade of emotions. Therefore, I didn’t talk about it and tried to carry on, but it stuck with me and affected my play during club season - I was more timid and more fearful of making mistakes. Now I look back at my younger self and wish I could hug her and tell her that it is vital to feel sadness and shame and ride through it rather than shy away from it. I understand now that I can save myself a lot more heartache if I can digest and understand my feelings, instead of running from or ignoring my emotions.
In conclusion, understanding and embracing our unpleasant feelings is essential for personal growth and well-being. Dr. Joan I. Rosenberg's insights into sadness and shame remind us that these emotions, although challenging, hold opportunities for connection, self-reflection, and resilience. It is crucial to give ourselves permission to feel these emotions fully and process them in a healthy way.
By confronting our sadness, we can reach out to others and find support in times of need. Similarly, by acknowledging and addressing our feelings of shame, we can overcome self-judgment and move forward with greater confidence. Avoiding or suppressing these emotions may seem easier in the short term, but it ultimately hinders our ability to heal and grow.
So, let us embrace the challenge of facing our emotions head-on and commit to a path of self-discovery and self-acceptance. By doing so, we can cultivate a life filled with authenticity, resilience, and ultimately, love. I challenge you to reflect on your own experiences that illicit sadness or shame. How did you react to these emotions? Did you allow yourself to fully experience them and understand their underlying causes, or did you suppress or ignore them? Consider the impact that this had on your overall well-being and how you handled subsequent challenges.
In the coming week, give yourself permission to experience your feelings fully, without judgment. Take the time to reflect on why you're feeling this way and seek support from trusted friends, family members, or a therapist. By allowing yourself to embrace these emotions, you can gain valuable insights about yourself and grow stronger in the process.
Next week we will round out chapter three and continue to pursue and understand, grace and compassion for ourselves. See you there!
Madison is a Psychology Assistant & Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She is a university student majoring in psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is our blogger in residence, and we are grateful she is sharing her writing skills along with her mental health journey. May her young wisdom help all of us grow our “Wise Self.” For more information visit www.eckertcentre.com or email our team at email@example.com
Rosenberg, Joan I. 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting... Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity. Little Brown Spark, 2020. Apple Books, https://books.apple.com/us/book/90-seconds-to-a-life-you-love/id1466751090.