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.
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.
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.
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?
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.