If you have embarked upon a spiritual journey, you will soon come to realize the importance of not expressing negative emotions. Negative emotions are one way in which we release tremendous amounts of energy, energy that can be transformed into spiritual growth. To transform the non-expression of negative emotions is not easy. It takes time and practice. Fortunately, because we have bodies, minds, and egos, there are an abundance of negative emotions we experience each hour in which we can begin to practice their non-expression.
Take a moment to think about when you express negativity. You will find there are certain people and situations in which you are more prone to being negative. It is important you ask yourself, “Why do I respond negatively to these individuals? Or, what is it about being in this situation that causes me to react with negativity?” You will learn a great deal about the ego upon answering these questions truthfully and sincerely.
Individuals often tell me they don’t have negative emotions very often. Keep in mind negative emotions are not limited to anger, frustration, and rage. Negative emotions also include jealousy, envy, boredom, sarcasm, apathy, fear, hatred, hostility, judgment, shame, resentment, regret, blame, guilt, cynicism, arrogance, greed, self-pity, and so on.
One of the most common forms of negativity is judgment. The ego can be so sly and quick to judge that you might not be consciously aware that you are judging even while you do it. This is because the ego feels justified in its judgment. If you know you are right, it’s difficult to accept any other perspective. This is because the ego is concerned and focused on its own appearance and survival. Thus, the ego looks out for itself at the expense and detriment of others—even those you love. I frequently hear stories of siblings who have not spoken to each other in years due to an argument or misunderstanding. The silence continues because neither ego wants to accept defeat or admit wrongdoing.
In order to stop judging others you must exercise understanding, acceptance, compassion, and love. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to purposefully put yourself in the other person’s shoes, so to speak. There is a phrase that exists in many forms, however, I first heard it as a young child as, “Do not judge another until you have walked for two moons in his moccasins.” This is not always easy as we often do not know enough information about other people and their life stories.
I recall reading many years ago of an instance in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in which a father was allowing his small children to act unruly in a subway car and the father appeared to be unaware of their behavior as he stared out the window. One of the passengers couldn’t take it any more and yelled at the man to please make his children behave properly. The father apologized and stated that they just left his wife’s (and the children’s mother) funeral. Had the passenger known this he/she probably would have had more compassion for this man and his misbehaving children.
The second way to work on not expressing judgment is by being present, by living in the Now. In the Now, you experience love and compassion for everyone and everything. You cannot judge another and be in the Now. It is impossible. This may appear to be easier than putting yourself in another’s shoes, however, you will find that the moment you leave the Now, your judgments often come roaring back full force.
I encourage you to start to observe when you are being judgmental. If you can begin to replace your judgments with understanding, compassion, and love, you will see the benefits as you advance in your spiritual growth and evolution.