The Ugly Cry – Uncovering & Releasing Negative Emotions

 In Better Life, Negative emotions

This week I’m excited to share a guest blog from an amazing woman and dear friend, Cheri Neal. Cheri is passionate about life, serving others, family, monarchs, zinnias, pit-crewing for hot air balloons, and helping people live their BEST life! 

I love her positivity tip for this week–recognizing the need to release negative emotions. It can be healthy to yell or scream (somewhere isolated), hit something (where you and it won’t get hurt), stomp your feet, and, yes, cry. The other day, my 12-year-old daughter was mad and heartbroken that she didn’t get selected for the solo in her choir performance. She found a few “extra” pencils in the drawer, and after breaking them in two, she felt much better.  

It is commonsensical that being positive increases your advantages and opportunities for success in life. But what do you do when you just aren’t in a positive place? When a cloud seems to follow you around, and you can’t shake that sad feeling? 

Though I am generally a very positive person, there have been times when I was let down by life and couldn’t seem to get my positive edge back. I serve in elected office, and although I won the most recent election by 65% of the vote, my opponent attempted to obliterate my character in the process. It wounded me at a level from which I didn’t think I would ever recover.

What I have found is that the key to stepping back into positivity is just to be completely honest with yourself. There is power in owning one’s truth, tapping into how you are genuinely feeling to uncover and release negative emotions. Sometimes it takes reading something or hearing someone else’s story that causes a perception shift. I believe our soul directs us to what we need when we are willing to open up and air out what is blocking us.

For me, it was an article that Oprah wrote about being on the firing line for the financial struggles of her Oprah Winfrey TV Network in 2012 (Oprah Magazine, Sept 2017, pg 140). Her acknowledgment of the deep pain that she felt cracked me open to the pain I was carrying. I sat in Starbucks with my right hand cupped to hide my eyes, and my left hand furiously writing her a letter expressing my deep pain from my similar situation where my opponent was determined to bring me down, character and career.

The tears soaked the page, but I continued to write and write and write, sharing with her the anguish and disappointment. I finished saying all there was to say and drove home allowing the tears to continue down my face. The next morning the world felt a little bit lighter. I went to work for the first time in a long time looking forward to what the day would bring instead of watching the clock, just waiting for the day to end. For some reason, whenever I am brought to that place where the only thing left to do is the ugly cry and the only answer is the absolute relinquishment of the situation, something always shifts in me.

Being willing to be honest with ourselves with where we are and then releasing it is an incredible way to move us closer to peace. I am happy to say I am now back in absolute passion for my job. I love that I get to make a difference every single day. But if you would have told me a few months ago that I would be here, I never would have believed you.

Positivity Tip: Not feeling positive? One strategy that has immense power to help us shift is to go into that uncomfortable place and hold the space to identify, feel, and release the pain.

Cheri Neal is a coach and professional speaker who guides others into living a life they love! Learn more at and check out her new book, Seeds of Joy: Growing Zinnias and Your Zest for Life?.

Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, and founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations create a more positive attitude, a positive culture, and positive results.

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