Normal Negative Feelings

“Disappointment, sadness, anxiety, and distress are part of everyday living.  Only if they stimulate core hurts that are blamed on someone else will they become anger.

“Disappointment means you didn’t get something you wanted.  It doesn’t mean that you are unworthy of it, it just means you didn’t get it.

“Sadness means you’ve lost something.  It doesn’t mean that you are unlovable, it just means that you lost something.

“Anxiety is a dread that something bad might happen.  It does not tell you that you are bad; it tells you to pay attention to a problem, so you can solve it.

“Distress means that you are currently overloaded in emotional response.  It doesn’t mean that you are inadequate, it means your overexcited emotional circuits need a moment to calm.  HEALS will do the trick quickly.”

— Steven Stosny, Manual of the Core Value Workshop, p. 40


“In recovery, we stop enduring life and begin to live it….  We forego worrying and denial, and learn constructive problem solving skills….  We learn to value what we want and need; we stop punishing ourselves for other people’s problems, nonsense and insanity.  We stop expecting ourselves to be perfect, and we stop expecting perfection of others….  We stop getting tangled up in craziness….  We stop compulsively taking care of other people and we take care of ourselves.  We learn to be good to ourselves, to have fun, and to enjoy life.  We learn to feel good about what we’ve accomplished.  We stop focusing on what’s wrong and we notice what’s right.”

— Melody Beattie, Beyond Codependency:  And Getting Better All the Time, p. 13.


“Deliberately using our capacity to be amused is one of many ways we can cleanse the mind of pollutants.  Laughter is letting go.  Laughter — true laughter, laughter that makes us all feel closer as opposed to laughter that makes us feel uneasy and separate — is instantaneous release of anxiety, discouragement, and all other fragmented states….

“Children are predisposed to laugh.  They are pre-amused.  Because of this, children can often prevent disturbing thoughts from getting a foothold in their minds in the first place.  Under most circumstances, they instinctively shift their preoccupation from a subject of disstress to a subject of delight.”

— Hugh Prather, The Little Book of Letting Go, p. 139

Its Own Reward

We can never feel taken advantage of or exploited in the experience of compassion, for compassion is its own reward.  Even if it turns out that someone else’s defenses or weaknesses have motivated manipulation, we have the self-satisfaction of knowing that we acted out of compassion, which is always the right thing.”

— Steven Stosny, Manual of the Core Value Workshop, p. 36

Make It Better

“If you feel devalued by something your partner, child, or parent says or does, he or she probably feels devalued too.  Devaluing him or her in return will only make it worse.  Compassion will make it better.

“Compassion does not mean giving in.  Giving in or ‘going along to avoid an argument’ virtually guarantees resentment.  Resentment undermines and ruins attachment relationships.

“Most of the time resolution without resentment is possible with a sincere effort to understand one another.  We become the angriest (the most hurt), not when disappointed for not getting what we want, but when feeling misunderstood or disregarded.  With compassion, we never feel unimportant or disregarded or unlovable (although we may feel disappointed).  This makes negotiation on all issues much easier.  Compassion is absolutely necessary for resolution in the event of hurt feelings….

With compassion the goal is not to ‘win’ a dispute, but to find a solution in which all parties feel regarded, important, and valuable.”

— Steven Stosny, Manual of the Core Value Workshop, p. 37