When we speak of addictions, we speak of a concept known as ‘tolerance.’ When we’re talking about addictive substances, we say that one’s tolerance to the substance increases with use. That is, you need to take in more of the substance each time to produce the desired effect. The feeling you used to get with one beer, now takes two or three – The high you got from smoking a marijuana joint now takes several or smoking a pipe or a bong – etc.
Well, when we speak of negative emotions, we can also build a tolerance to them, but it’s in a good way. Over time, if we experience our feelings, rather than numb them with substances or ignore them or stuff them away, we will build up a tolerance to negative emotions, too. What made us completely fall apart one day will barely faze us the next time it comes along. What threatened to destroy us once will merely slow us down next time.
If you will bravely face your fears, your pain, your sadness, your anger, disappointment, worries, anxieties, insecurities, sorrow, lonlieness, shame, guilt, and heartbreak, rather than try to avoid these negative feelings, they will eventually pass through you, leaving you stronger and more able to TOLERATE future similar situations.
When you walk boldly through pain and suffering, it’s not like it’s not going to hurt. It’s still gonna hurt very badly, but when you walk boldly through it, you get to the other side and you emerge as a stronger person, more ready to face the next bad event – and more ready to face the next GOOD event, too.
When you spend all your time and energy trying to evade negative emotions, you totally lose track of the fact that good things are also happening in your life. It’s not like the good things stop simply because the bad things have happened, but if you’re so focused on avoiding the bad, you may never notice the good.