Most of my life I spent victim to my thoughts and feelings. Afterall, what else could be out there to guide me in how to respond to life? Not to mention that the feelings I carry are so strong most of the time.
Being a relatively sensitive and emotional person it wasn’t hard for my responses to be right in alignment with those feelings. I found this particularly true in the following scenarios:
Someone cut me off while driving – HELLO PISSED OFF!
My kids won’t take a bath after asking them a million times – HELLO POWERLESSNESS!
My spouse isn’t in a place to give me the affection/attention I need – HELLO FRUSTRATION!
There’s turbulence on the plane – HELLO FEAR!
and the list goes on…
In each of those situations my response, and ultimately who I am, takes on those feelings. I would literally say that “I am angry”, “I am frustrated”, or “I am anxious”. My responses in each of these situations would then become a REFLECTION of who I thought I was. If I was angry I would respond that way, if I was frustrated I would respond that way, if I was powerless and helpless I would respond that way.
When did we allow ourselves to become victims to our own feelings?
Feelings are something we have, yet so many of us are confused and allow the feelings to have us. I am not, nor would I ever, suggest that you avoid or even downplay your feelings. Feelings are extremely important but all too often they become the decision maker for our responses in life.
I’m here to tell you that you can have your feelings AND respond differently. Well that’s something new for a lot of us!
You can feel the feeling of angry or the feeling of frustrated, sad, or even the feeling of fear and not respond with that feeling. How many times has responding as if you were those feelings gotten you in trouble? I’m just going to share a few outcomes that result from confusing who we are with how we feel and let me know if any of them resonate with you.Blowout fights with your partner (physical or emotional) Blowout fights with your children (physical or emotional) Road Rage Suicide Crime Alcoholism Drugs Sex outside of committed and loving relationships Keeping small so others don’t notice you Not living your dreams
We have been conditioned to respond based on our feelings for many years. Yet, this is something we have control over.
You are responseABLE!
In the heat of the moment it may not feel that way but you are always at choice. At choice to respond to something other than your feelings. You can allow yourself to have your feelings and respond differently. It takes a tremendous amout of practice but I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t have to be this way.
The first step is awareness and the awareness that you’re even having a feeling. The next time you feel a charge come on take a breath and notice where the feeling is in your body. Is it in your throat? your chest? your stomach or back? Give your body some room and space for that feeling to live.
Note: I will show you how to resolve those feelings but for now we just don’t want to respond with the feelings. We want to know how to put out the fire and then we’ll go back and see what caused it later.
Remind yourself that you are safe, lovable, enough, important, strong, and beautiful. Accepting these qualities about you will always contradict your feelings. They will allow your “I am” to change from “I am angry” to “I am important and I feel angry” and your “I am alone” to “I am connected and I feel lonely”. We need to get a grip on where our starting place is. Our starting place is not our feelings. Our starting place is our Authentic Nature.
A cat that is black or red or orange or white is still a cat, right? So when you have feelings you’re still the same loveable, enough, good, intelligent, important, precious person, right? Well then why don’t we act like that? We need to be like that cat and no matter what color we are in a given moment always respond with our own “catness”.
Note: I have no idea why I just used a cat analogy. I’m actually a dog person but you get the idea…
Okay, so let me break this down into doable steps that you can use the next time you’re feeling a charge come up. Take your time with these steps. YOU WILL GET THIS WRONG! The point is, it takes a ton of practice but as you get more used to doing this it will become your new norm. Your old conditioned response will now be replaced. You will feel amazing and your actions will be a result of not only how great you feel but also of who you really are. I’m telling you, this is life changing.
1. Pause – take 3 nice deep breaths
2. Notice where in your body this feeling lives (head, neck, chest, stomach, etc.)
3. Give your body some space and room to contain this feeling
4. Remind yourself that you are having a feeling but that you are not that feeling
5. Remind yourself that you are Whole, Lovable, Good Enough, Intelligent, Important, Loved…
Now here’s the really hard part…
Respond based and in aligment with the qualities you told yourself you were in step 5 ALL WHILE taking that feeling with you. Imagine that feeling as a football or purse or whatever that you’re carrying under your arm. You’re going to go back into this situation and respond as the Whole, Lovable, Good Enough, Intelligent, Important, and Loving person you are all while holding that ball/purse of anger, frustration, sadness, fear under your arm.
Your true self is in the qualities (and many others) that I shared not in your feelings. To respond based on your feelings alone by definition is to abandon yourself. Don’t abandon yourself!
Again, this exercise will take time but guess what? You’re going to get a lot of practice! I want to hear how this is working for you and what other tips you have for reconnecting to your Authentic Self.
With Love and Gratitude,