Are there feelings you avoid like the plague? Feelings that throw you off your game a little bit or send you into a downward spiral? Many of us haven’t been taught to process our feelings very well, if at all! We have been taught to minimize, distract, stuff down, criticize, numb and ignore feelings so it’s no wonder that well into adulthood many of us are still trying to figure out how the fuck to handle them in healthy ways!
Feelings are just information. That’s it! If we are feeling comfortable feelings that we’ve come by honestly (not with substances or any other superficial way) the information could be that what you are doing and where you are is in alignment with your values and purpose. Comfortable feelings could also indicate you’ve done enough personal work on the stories you tell yourself so the tricky stuff you experience doesn’t take you on an emotional rollercoaster as often.
Uncomfortable feelings indicate areas you need to still heal and grow. Are you interpretations of your life experiences less than helpful? Do you have a victim mentality (“They made me feel…”, “Nothing works out for me”) or assume the worst of others? Are you living out of alignment with your values and purpose? Do you need more rest, healthier food, alone time, self-compassion, movement, hobbies or fun?
Don’t get caught up in making meaning out of the feelings in the moment. When we are in our limbic system (feelings brain!) we will most often access unhelpful wiring that makes unhelpful meaning out of the feelings like SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME or I’M UNLOVABLE or some other bullshit story you have going on. Simply notice the feeling, identify it and say something like “I wonder what the anxiety is about” and keep going about your day, using your Feel Good Plan and see what happens. You’ll be surprised how the feelings move through you and at the aha moments that come when you are curious about the feeling.
Most importantly, don’t say and do from your uncomfortable feelings. When we say and do from our uncomfortable feelings we create disconnection within ourselves and with others. You might feel you need to handle the issue right then and there but there is much to be said for soothing your nervous system first and then taking care of the task (getting out the door, sassy teen, traffic, etc.) at hand.
Do you know someone who would find this blog post helpful? If so, pass it along! Wouldn’t it be great if more people in your life had these skills? Wink, wink.