The Balance Between Negative and Positive Feelings

3 min readAug 16, 2022
self portrait, “Happy Angry” by OCD-Free

“Stop talking about the things that are bothering you so much.”

―Esther Hicks

“Buddhism teaches us not to try to run away from suffering. You have to confront suffering. You have to look deeply into the nature of suffering in order to recognize its cause, the making of the suffering.”

— Thich Nhat Hahn

There is a tension between the two types of advice that spiritual leaders, psychologists and friends give you. Many advise you to think positive, to focus on raising your vibration, to be happy so that good things will come to you. Others tell you not to avoid sad or angry feelings, but to immerse yourself in them to keep them from building up within you.

How do you reconcile those seemingly conflicting approaches to emotions?

Let’s talk about how they are both right, both can be overdone, and what a balance might look like.

If you suppress negative feelings and don’t process the causes of those feelings, they can burst out in terrible ways. The classic example is passively accepting abuse from you boss and then going home and kicking your dog. Don’t do that.

But if you dwell long in anger, it can obscure your view of the positive, effect your behavior towards others and make it…




Essays, stories & poetry about OCD, culture and society, by Eric. OCD-Free the book: