We’ve all been through phases and events in life that have left us feeling a less than desirable way. Maybe we felt heartbroken and hopeless as our marriage or a significant relationship ended, or had that deflated, unworthy feeling when the promotion we wholeheartedly believed was ours went to someone else. Perhaps we were left feeling nervous and confused after a first fight with a new mate. Or abandoned and betrayed as we learned of a best friend’s secret. Whatever it is, there are many situations in our lives that can leave us with a variety of emotions that are uncomfortable. I’ve had a beautiful relationship show up in my life recently that has contributed so many wonderful experiences and emotions and has also challenged me with a handful of uncomfortable experiences and emotions. (Let’s just chock it up to two strong-willed people getting to know each other.) However, I’ve noticed something profoundly different about myself during this part of my journey: I’ve seized the opportunity to consciously delve into my feelings, beliefs, and boundaries, who I am, and to re-examine what works and what doesn’t work for me. Previously, I was more likely to become completely absorbed in my emotions – being the victim of the emotion. I may have vehemently (aka loudly and close-mindedly) defended my beliefs while dismissing those of the other person. Conversely, I have even bent my boundaries in order to not rock the relationship boat because of my own insecurities. Today, though, when an uncomfortable emotion is being triggered, I get curious as to why that particular emotion is coming up for me. With deep contemplation and journaling, I’ve used it as an opportunity to reflect on other times in my life when I’ve felt that way. How did I handle the situation in the past? Is there something that I still need to work through and resolve from the past? Do I have an outdated belief or a rigid boundary that needs an adjustment that is triggering this emotion? I used to believe that you can’t choose your emotions – they just are what they are. I would even say things like “you can’t help how you feel” or “you just feel how you feel.” But I don’t believe that any more – not one bit. As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “As you think certain thoughts, the brain produces chemicals to cause you to feel exactly the way you were thinking. Once you feel the way you think, you begin to think the way you feel. This continuous cycle creates a feedback loop called a “state of being”. When feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change.” In other words, all of the uncomfortable emotions that have come up lately are familiar feelings to me. My previous experiences (in a romantic relationship setting) have produced the same feelings – of being unworthy, unlovable or intolerant - based on pretty much the same thoughts I am having today. So I’ve been presented with the opportunity to allow these temporary uncomfortable feelings to suck me back into an old feedback loop, or to rise up to observe and explore these feelings and actively work to review and possibly change them. I believe that a part of self-love is tending to your emotions and exploring why you are feeling a particular way. If you are feeling uncomfortable in any way - heartbroken, pissed, upset - rather than trying to squash it or gloss over it with positive statements or food, alcohol or any of those habits, take some time to explore why you are experiencing those feelings. Ask yourself:
Is there a pattern with this emotion or similar situations coming up?
Is there an underlying belief that’s causing this emotion? Is it true?
What can be changed about the perception or about the situation?
What am I putting out there that’s drawing things like this to me?
Is it time for me to change how I handle things like this?
Am I being in the present moment or stuck in a past situation?
Lessons show up for us all of the time. We attract into our lives the people and situations that we need. Positive or negative, however you choose to perceive it, emotions are going to come up and they’re going to be telling you something about what is going on. It may be in the present or from your past. But part of self-love is taking the opportunity to actually feel that emotion, observe it, and explore why you’re feeling that particular way without getting sucked into the emotion. Stepping back in a mindful way and simply observing how you feel.
I’m incredibly thankful for the recent opportunities I’ve had to explore all of these things in such a mindful and powerful way. It has been a real growth period for me and I’m looking forward to continuing along this path. I encourage everyone to do the same!