How many times have you felt guilty about feeling a certain way? How many times have you heard people say “I know I shouldn’t feel like this…”? It’s pretty common that we find fault with our feelings. For example, you have a job that you hate. You know that in this economy you should be thrilled to have any job at all; but you just can’t help having these negative feelings. You may tell yourself that these thoughts about your job are wrong or try to persuade yourself into liking the role. Another great example is that you’re dating someone who is “good on paper” but for some reason you just don’t like him/her. The person may treat you very well and have all the proper ingredients you’re looking for in a companion but there’s something off. You feel bad because there isn’t any reason in particular that you shouldn’t like this person. You may continue to see the person until you really reach your limit or maybe you sit miserably in the relationship for a while. We’ve developed the habit of predetermining how we should feel about certain situations. When our feelings are opposite of that road map, guilt, denial or persuasion to feel differently are usually the first reactions to these conditions. Attempting to suppress how we really feel because of the argument “I shouldn’t feel this way” does nothing to help our actual problem. Instead of fixating on how we should not feel “x” way, maybe we should be focused on the actual feeling. It’s probably indicating something rather important that we should take into account. Telling yourself a feeling is wrong does not make it go away and neither does ignoring it. This explains my hyphenation of ‘ignor-ance.’ When you’re miserable at work, trying to look past that feeling with other arguments really doesn’t make you feel better. Maybe it will ease the pain for a few fleeting moments, but there is no true solution in suppressing your feelings. If you had addressed the fact that you hated your job 3 years ago then perhaps you would have been in a new position at this very moment feeling fulfilled instead of feeling the same misery for years. Similarly, if you acknowledged why you didn’t like your date at the onset of those feelings, and then took appropriate action, you might currently be in a happy relationship and not have wasted time (for both you and your date). Of course it’s important to see the value in situations you’re less than pleased with. So feeling lucky to have a job in a rough economy is fine. Appreciating being treated well in a romantic relationship is great. But do not ignore that voice inside telling you something is wrong despite any positive environmental factors. Taking a proactive approach toward our negative feelings is the only way to move into a better place. There is no real bliss in pretending.