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3 Feelings You Should Never Ignore

I’ve learned a lot in the 20 years since I attempted suicide.

In addition to cutting out toxic people who made me feel worthless, I’ve also become hyper aware of how I’m feeling about my life circumstances.

This awareness helps me recognize when I’m getting stressed out or depressed, and then I can take the necessary steps to get back to my normal state of bubbly bliss.

I’ve seen that bottomless pit of deep, dark awfulness, and I never want to go back.

Of course, I still give myself permission to feel my emotions—I’m a real human being! I cry at the movies, obsess about my weight, and get overwhelmed about my work just like everyone else.

But there are a few feelings that set off flashing red lights and alarm bells in my mind. These are those tricky feelings that creep up slowly, wrap their tentacles around you, and smother you into oblivion.

Your mental health depends on you recognizing these dangerous emotions. Here are 3 feelings you should never ignore.

Hopelessness

I became suicidal when I was convinced that I was no longer in control of my life. I was failing most of my classes, was trapped living with abusive family members, and had no one to confide in about my bisexuality.

Hopelessness is when you feel like there is nothing to look forward to in the future and that every choice leads to a dead end. Why feel hopeful about life when there will never be good things or happy times again?

Life Editing Truth: There are solutions everywhere. You must open your eyes and look around, even if it’s difficult. You always have control over something.

I once read that the few people who survive trying to kill themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge realize about halfway down that all their problems are fixable. Every single one…save for the fact that they just jumped off a bridge.

This sudden clarity happened to me too. But you don’t need to go to extremes. Look for solutions—anything!—if you ever start feeling hopeless.

Apathy

On the flip side, apathy is when you willingly give up control of your life. Unlike hopelessness, where you desperately wish there were someone or something to make it all better, apathy makes you not care what direction your life takes.

You could lose all your money, watch your house burn down, be bullied mercilessly, or get hit by a bus. Meh. It’s all the same to you. When you’re apathetic, you lose the ability to feel love (or any emotion) for the people and things that used to matter.

Life Editing Truth: Much of what happens in our lives doesn’t come about through proactive choices, but from not making any choices at all. “Letting things happen” and “going with the flow” is no way to get what you want.

Start making deliberate choices, even small ones like what to wear, and you’ll learn to give a damn about your life again.

Jealousy

As a high-intensity Type A person, I’m always looking to improve the various areas of my life. That’s what life editing is about. It makes sense that I’d want to grow my business, get fit and healthy, make more friends, or a hundred other things.

But all that go-go-go ambition can attract a nasty feeling called jealousy. It causes you to compare yourself to other people in unfair ways and can make you feel like you’ll never be enough. Jealousy rots you from the inside out.

Life Editing Truth: You can’t know someone’s full story based on her outward appearance. Instagram feeds are edited to show just the positive bits, and a huge product launch may have come with many sleepless nights.

One of the best ways I’ve found for diminishing jealousy is to unsubscribe, unfollow, and avoid other people who trigger me. When you can’t see them or what they’re up to, then you can only focus on your own growth and your own pace.

What feelings do you never ignore?

In the comments below, share a time when you had to bring yourself out of a dark emotional place.

This post focuses on Step 2 of the Life Editing Process, Delete Bad Influences. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

12 Comments

  1. Aubrey on February 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I definitely have to be careful about hopelessness and jealousy. When they sneak up on me, they wreak havoc on my life and relationship.

    I really appreciate you sharing this post and you edits for dealing with some of these emotions.



  2. Kerryn Hewson on August 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Overwhelm is definitely a precursor to feeling hopelessness and disconnecting from the activities that light me up. The more I’m able to pace myself, set realistic expectations, and create a feeling of space the better I am at keeping overwhelm at bay.

    And I definitely second Erika on sleep! If you don’t know where to start with self-care then finding your optimum amount of sleep per night and catching up on it is so important.



  3. Stella Lewis on August 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Thank you Sage for being so open and caring to share your personal experience. I like the editing choices you provided, very proactive. I will definitely utilize them.



    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2015 at 10:47 am

      You’re so welcome, Stella.



  4. Susan on August 5, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for sharing your story Sage. I saw myself in your words more than once.

    The feelings of helplessness and not having myself in control while arguing is a large problem I face. I will go to great lengths to not have to put myself in to these situations, I will even go into hiding and edit this person out of my life until I think the situation in cleared. The pain of not being understood is so over whelming and hard for me to understand. I know it could be that German isn’t my birth language but I do believe that I can speak it very well to be understood.
    What I will not do is stand down with my hubby (who is a farmer), I will not except the saying “It’s always been like this and will never change” (sounds different in German 🙂 ) I think we live in modern times even they have to change their way of living.



    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Susan. I agree that things have to change even if that’s “how it’s always been.”



  5. Erika Swafford on August 4, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I’ve noticed that if I deprive myself of sleep (less than 7 hours over the course of multiple nights) then I start feeling hopeless. Everything seems pointless and I just want to hide in a whole somewhere. The good thing is I know it has to do with my sleeping habits. When I start getting those thoughts and feelings I know I need to get more sleep.



    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2015 at 10:50 am

      YES! That’s a good point. Nothing seems possible when I’m sleep deprived.



  6. Dana Lynn Thompson on August 4, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Great advice Sage! Sometimes your thoughts can get off track so quickly and easily. I grew up in a very negative environment and although I have a much more positive outlook on life now, I struggle every day to maintain it and continue striving to be an optimist especially when things aren’t going well. I admire your courage!



  7. Gisele Grenier on August 3, 2015 at 10:08 am

    33 years ago, I was in an abusive relationship and after the birth of my daughter, it continued (on me only). Hearing the words that I”ll never survive on my own, was useless, not allowed to have friends. I focused all my energy on my new baby and one month after she was born, told his parents what he was doing, he was out that day. Only saw him in court for child support and the divorce. Took me 3 years to get my life back in order.



    • Sage Grayson on August 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story, Gisele. I’m glad you were able to get out of that awful situation.