We’ve all heard the phrase, “sometimes you need to experience the bad in order to appreciate the good." However, that doesn’t mean we need to carry around this negativity with us every day. Wouldn’t it be nice to put these bad feelings and unsettling experiences aside so that we’re not weighed down by their presence? Believe it or not, we're able to create our own containment devices to hold these feelings; a place where we can store away these negative experiences into our own container for safe keeping, until we’re ready to effectively deal with them. Let’s go on a little journey together.
Sit back and think for a moment, what would your container look like? Is it an old, antique treasure chest with strong leather straps holding down the lid? Perhaps it’s a sleek steel trunk with bright silver hinges and a state-of-the-art security system that holds in your worries and fears. Maybe it’s a simple wooden box with rusty clasps and chipped teal paint. Whatever it may look like, just picture your container and imagine how it feels, the weight of the lid, and the sound that it makes as that lid closes. Do you have that picture in your mind?
Now think about all of those troubles, fears, concerns, and worries that you carry around with you each and every day. Feel the weight that those issues place on your shoulders and the negative feelings that these memories elicit. Envision all of your problems morphing together into a ball that fits neatly into the palm of your hand. Can you see this ball? How does it feel? Is it pulsating with color and light? Does it radiate heat or is it ice-cold? Take note of how you’re feeling – your heart rate, your breathing, your sense of anxiety. I’ll assume that you’re feeling a bit amped up at this point. Let’s release those negative feelings.
Bring back that picture of your container into your mind. Grasp the lid and open it up. Visualize yourself placing that blob of negative feelings into the container and, with a hand on each side of the lid, see yourself closing it and listen for that latch to click shut. Say to yourself, “My worries, fears, concerns, and stressors are safe in this box. I’m not burying them away, I’m simply putting them away for now in a safe place. When I’m ready, I can pull one out to deal with and release. For now, though, my "yuck" is locked away and off of my shoulders.” Take notice of your feelings and your body. Has that sense of anxiety and intensity diminished? Is there a sense of relief knowing that you’re no longer obligated to lug around those negative feelings and experiences any longer? Congratulations. You’ve just freed yourself of these heavy burdens and have given yourself permission to put your “yuck” feelings up on the shelf until you’re ready to effectively process through them.
When we experience negative feelings, our mind instinctively tries to protect us. Rather than repress these feelings by attempting to bury them down deep with the hopes of never seeing them again, place those unresolved emotions into your container. Slide that container under your bed or up in your closet knowing that they’re safe and that you’re able to access them when you’re ready. Also relish in the fact that these bad feelings are no longer weighing you down. You’re no longer carrying them around with you, as they’ve now found a new home – safe and secure in your own container.