“Trying to keep ourselves from experiencing a particular emotion in the first place is an even bigger mistake than trying to fight it once we are aware of it. When we attempt to preempt it, we risk hiding the emotion rather than letting it go. Unseen, the thought behind the feeling continues to operate, but with far more power than before.
“If a destructive emotion were just a set of physical sensations, then perhaps we could will ourselves to ignore it, like we sometimes will ourselves to ignore a backache or ‘fight’ a cold. But an emotion is the symptom of a thought, and attempting to block the emotion is ignoring the thought that’s causing the feeling….
“We must expose the thought that is producing the emotion, and we must expose what we’re doing to empower and retain that thought.
“If we can clearly see that we don’t believe the thought behind a particular emotion, we have the option of replacing it with a more natural, restful, and self-affirming mental activity. If we want to end the vicious cycle of using our minds to torture ourselves, uncovering the thought behind our first wave of emotion is fundamental.”
— Hugh Prather, The Little Book of Letting Go, p. 60-61