The Two Types of Bad Feelings
You can get fancy with this and explore all the different flavours of bad feelings like you’re an ice-cream expert, but for our purposes we will separate them into only two categories: the sort of bad feelings and the REALLY bad feelings. The way you deal with your thoughts is going to be different depending on the case.
Sort of bad feelings. This can feel like a funny tickle in the pit of your stomach or a shift in your mood so slight that you barely notice it, like when the sun goes behind a cloud. You might feel this way when you think about something unimportant. Maybe you lost a sock or your neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking and it’s kind of annoying but not a big deal. You might also feel this way when you start to think about meaningful issues. Like the time you didn’t get invited to hang out with one of your friends and it didn’t destroy your friendship but it hurt you. When the very first thoughts come up even about these kind of issues, they are still weak. Sort of bad feelings are nice because the thoughts they come with are easy to handle. But they also have the disadvantage of being sneaky. They can be so subtle that you miss them. That is until they turn into really bad feelings…
Really bad feelings. These are the heavy, dark feelings I just mentioned. I don’t think they need much of an introduction. It’s like with storms, when one of these bad boys passes through, you know it. When you’re in the middle, you can’t do much besides cry or yell or stare darkly at anyone who has the misfortune to cross your path. Maybe like a lot of people, there are certain aspects of your life that are almost guaranteed to trigger one of these episodes. Maybe you think no one likes you or that you look awful or… These issues are like buttons. Not much needs to happen for you to get thrown into the middle of a storm—a passing comment or look in the mirror is enough. There are other ways to get to that point though. Like your morning starts out with an annoyance that gives you a sort of bad feeling, but you don’t take care of it and over the course of the day, other things happen and the bad feeling grows and grows until you’re in the middle of Hurricane Sadness. As awful as these feelings are, they come with a huge advantage. They are impossible to ignore and demand that you fix your thinking.