The Forgotten World Of Positive Emotions

by Annie Kaszina on June 19, 2008

As regular readers of this blog will know, the past few
months have been a steep
learning curve for me. (I’m still
climbing, but the terrain has become much flatter and easier.)

Happily, there was been no abusive relationship to trigger
this life crisis. The circumstances
behind it are very far removed from that. And yet observing how the old abused feelings and reactions surfaced has
been … I’d like to say ‘fascinating’, but ‘sobering’ is closer to the
mark. I’ve wept and raged, I’ve licked
my wounds, I’ve felt like a victim (wrongly but, hey, familiarity exerts a huge
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I’ve done self-pity, righteous indignation and hopelessness. 

I’ve also worked on myself every step of the way with every
tool I have, and enlisted help, support and love from people I am blessed to
have in my life.

Finally, I feel that I am coming out another side, to
a place I did not know before. Or if I
ever did, it was so long ago that I don‘t remember it.  One thing is for sure I really like
it. 

I share this because it feels very much like a further stage
along the journey from abuse to health and happiness. Generally abused women generally find it close to impossible to
imagine a future far removed from the misery of their present.

When we are mired deep in wretchedness, we sometimes think
we can see and sense wellbeing. What we
actually see may well be a shadow of what we desire. Still, never underestimate the power that even that shadow has to
keep moving us forward.

Before this crisis I felt no stranger to happiness. Happiness had begun, albeit in short bursts,
as soon as the then husband had departed taking his very own personal black
cloud of doom and gloom with him. 

However, underlying this newfound happiness there was still
fear, anxiety and self-doubt. In other
words, a lot of the old conditioning from my marriage and before remained. 

As I come out of the crisis of the last few months nothing
much has changed in the external circumstances of my life; the good remains
good and the… I hesitate to say ‘bad remains bad’. The ‘challenges’ remain. 

The major change has been in my feelings; trust has replaced
fear and anxiety and warm self-acceptance has replaced self-doubt. 

It’s an immensely powerful change. It can be the difference between paddling furiously upriver and
floating serenely downstream. In both
cases you may be headed for the same destination, but you set your boat on the
water at a very different place.

If you weren’t rehashing old pain, old fears and old
negative beliefs about yourself, what might you be doing? How much energy would you have to pursue
your heart’s desires? What would be left
to hold you back? 

So how do you attain the peace of positive emotions? Know, first of all, that it is
possible. Then, start to entertain the
idea that your pain may flow through you, but it is not you. Nor is your ‘story’ truly you

Just yesterday I was talking with someone brought up in a
war torn country who, aged 10, lost her mother. The bereaved family emigrated from the Third to the First World,
eventually she started to make headway in her new life and then another family
tragedy swept her dreams out of reach. She has chosen to keep those dreams firmly in her sights, despite years
and years of struggle with loss, menial work and significant self-doubt. She will not allow either her pain or her
story to dim her light. 

The richness and the magic of you lie hidden just behind
your pain. They have never gone away, but
the pain does a great job of hiding them from view. Chiefly, it hides what is best about you from you. (Only you and your abusive partner are deaf and blind to the very best
of you.)

By the same token,
your story can hide your future from view, for as long as you let it.

Trust that your job is to get through today and tomorrow as
constructively as you can; by this I mean without getting caught yet again on
the old abusive hooks. That is
all. Do that and a better future will
start to create itself around you. Yes,
it may take time but it will lead you back into the world of personal peace,
happiness and self-acceptance.

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