When we notice an unwanted feeling and emotion, we can combat it with empowering thinking and convert our negative feelings to positive ones.

Here’s a useful technique:

When you Feel 

Think

Anger

Acceptance – Accept the emotion and circumstance

Frustration

Forgiveness – Forgive yourself, others and the situation

Shame

Self Worth – Tap into your true worth and release shame

Guilt

Gratitude – Replace destructive guilt with gratitude

Fear

Faith – Have faith in God, yourself and others

Let us look at some examples:

Anger to Acceptance: As you leave the bagel shop on the way to work someone has double parked and is blocking your car in. You’re running late and you don’t have time to sit around waiting for the guy to show up and move his car. You feel this intense anger bubbling inside you as you think, How dare he! This is so disrespectable!

Take note of the anger and think acceptance. First accept the anger, and then work on accepting the situation. Why should you accept it? Here are some examples of what you may choose to think:

  1. It is a test from God, a chance to work on my anger.
  2. Give him the benefit of the doubt; perhaps there’s some emergency he had to attend to.
  3. It is an atonement, a gift, that is perhaps saving me from some bigger catastrophe.
  4. Beneath the anger there is a fear that I’ll be late for work and my boss will be angry at me. So I now choose to accept that I may be late and he may be angry… it’s not the end of the world!

When we believe that everything comes from God and is for our best, anger dissipates and acceptance takes its place.

Frustration to Forgiveness: Suppose you’re feeling frustrated because your husband came home late for dinner the second night in a row. Notice the frustration, accept it, and think forgiveness. Why is it okay to forgive? You may come up with some of the following thoughts:

  1. He works so hard to support our family.
  2. I’m not always on time either.
  3. Just because he’s late doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me or care about our family dinner time.

If you truly want to forgive others and the situation, you will find a reason to forgive.

Shame to Self-Worth: You’re at a friend’s party with lots of alcohol. You’re having a blast but have had one too many drinks and now you are saying some things that are out of line, making a complete fool out of yourself. You wake up the next morning consumed with shame. Notice the shame and think self-worth. Why should you feel worthy? You can think:

  1. Because I am created in the image of God.
  2. My worth isn’t based on their judgment.
  3. I am worthy regardless of this big mistake because I do not need to be perfect to love myself. I am just human.
  4. It is a lesson in humility so that I don’t judge others so quickly.

Our greatest pain lies beneath our shame so it’s vital to constantly remind ourselves of our true self worth.

Guilt to Gratitude: You go out to eat with your family in honor of your sister’s birthday. You enjoy a scrumptious meal and are quite full. But then comes the birthday cake… you know you shouldn’t eat it as it’s not healthy to eat on a full stomach. You go ahead and eat it anyway… and then comes the guilt. Notice the guilt and think gratitude. What can you be grateful for? You may choose to think:

  1. I just had a lovely outing with my family.
  2. I even got to enjoy a delicious meal.
  3. I’m surely not the only one on this planet who’s overeaten.
  4. I will turn this guilt into regret for it’s truly just a reflection of my conscience – so I’m grateful for having such a strong conscience and I have faith that I will make a better choice in the future.

Guilt is a destructive, disempowering emotion that results in beating yourself up. Regret over an error, on the other hand, is positive and constructive. Guilt is useless and self-defeating. There’s always something positive you can choose to focus on and be grateful for, and this in turn empowers you to feel constructive regret and address the mistake.

Fear to Faith: Your best friend is getting married overseas and you have an intense fear of flying. You are obsessing over the flight and wasting tons of time worrying about it. Accept that this is a challenge for you and replace fear with faith. Think:

  1. I have faith in myself that I can do it.
  2. I have faith in God that He will help me get through it and will not allow any harm to come my way that isn’t for my best.
  3. I have faith that I can enjoy the process regardless of whether or not fear seeps in along the flight.

Fear prevents us from taking risks and challenges that will enhance our growth. To get anywhere in life we must replace fear with faith and then just do it!

With enough persistence and constructive thinking, we can succeed in converting our negative feelings into a positive purpose. We need not feel guilty or ashamed of them; they are gifts to help us grow.