Psychologists talk about compartmentalization as a way to cope with cognitive dissonance. It’s when we mentally separate feelings or thoughts that clash with each other to avoid discomfort.
However, compartmentalization is not always a bad thing. You might need to compartmentalize to function or take care of something important. Suppose you’re recovering from the recent death of a close family member. You might feel guilty for doing something fun because you think you’re supposed to be grieving.
However, life moves forward. We have lives, jobs, and relationships that need our attention, no matter what bad things happen to us. There are times to deal with our feelings, but they become harmful when they interfere with everyday functioning or happiness.
If a negative thought or feeling interferes with your daily life, pulling yourself away for a while is okay. Go out and see a movie. Treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant. It’s still okay to feel good once in a while. You can resume healing when you’re ready to deal with those negative feelings again.