The first defense against negative emotions is avoidance. We all want to avoid difficult or painful emotions. As a result, we tend to avoid any situation that could lead to the emotions we fear, or worse, try not to feel any emotions at all. While avoiding negative situations may protect us in the short term, it also keeps us from feeling the very emotions — connection, energy, excitement — that we desire most.
The second defense against stress is outright denial. When you experience an emotion and try to deny what you're feeling, your emotions will simply intensify. The pressure will build and what you are trying to ignore will resurface – potentially at an inconvenient time.
The worst addiction facing people today is not drugs, it's not alcohol, it's problems. Often, after moving past avoidance and denial, we decide to stop fighting our painful emotions and decide to fully indulge in them. Rather than learn what our feelings are trying to tell us, we get our fix of significance by making our problem worse than everyone else's. It becomes a "badge of courage," and we begin to compete with others, saying, "You think you've got it bad? Let me tell you how bad I've got it!" Do yourself a favor and get your need for significance met for doing something positive rather than for your problems.
Learning and Using
Truth: Problems are gifts. Our biggest problem is we think we shouldn't have problems. Albert Einstein put it this way, "Crisis is the greatest blessing for people and nations, because crisis brings on progress…He who blames his own failures and difficulties to crisis, rapes his own talent and gives more importance to problems than to solutions." Leaders use their pain. Find a way to use stress and pain to serve you.