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Most of the time in life, we try to avoid or escape from negative emotions. This is really common in counseling. Most of the time, people seek counseling in order to “feel better.” On one hand, this makes a lot of sense to me. Anxiety feels bad. Depression feels bad. If you are struggling with one of these problems, it makes sense that you want to feel something different.

The Problem with Making Our Negative Emotions Go Away

Here’s the problem with doing something to make our negative emotions go away: Often our negative emotions are only a symptom of something that isn’t working in our lives. If we just treat the symptom, we may never fully understand the root cause of our issue. It’s similar to if you are feeling pain in your knee, and your doctor gives you a pill to take away the pain. On one hand, it’s great that the pain went away. However, we may never understand why the pain was happening in the first place. The problem might still be there, raging under the surface. The pain is simply numbed by the pill you take.

Follow Your Pain if You Want to Grow

In the same way, if you just do something to make your negative emotions go away, you lose out on the information that your pain can teach you about yourself. If you are open to it, your pain can be a path to uncover the things in your life that aren’t working. Instead of doing something to make your pain go away, follow your pain if you want to grow. Let your pain guide you and give you the information you need to deal with your underlying problem.