In this multi-part blog post series, we will explore afflictive (or disturbing) emotions and look at more helpful ways to approach them.
Afflictive emotions are feelings that create suffering like anger, hatred, greed, fear, lust, jealousy, and even passion. They are usually accompanied by physical sensations as well as habitual patterns of thinking and responding that only serve to intensify the discomfort.
Although they can be very powerful, emotions are not necessarily reflections of reality or objective “truth” (feelings aren’t facts). They are merely responses to the way we interpret events and sensations. The way we think about things and the messages we send ourselves shape our feelings, which in turn direct our actions. For example:
If you are assuming things “should” be or “must” turn out a certain way and they don’t, you will likely feel disturbed in some way.
If you judge things as bad or wrong or unfair, you may feel discouraged, hurt, self-righteous or angry.
If you are looking only outside yourself for responsibility or blame for your discomfort, you will likely feel disempowered or even resentful.