What do you want in life?
A bigger house? More money? Kids that behave? To succeed at homeschooling?
It’s not the thing that you want, it’s the feeling you think you’ll have when you get there.
When you have the house, the money, the perfect kids, and homeschooling checked off the list, then what? You’ll feel happy, peaceful, proud, and accomplished.
What you truly want is to feel positive emotions.
Like most humans, I don’t like to feel negative emotions, so I avoid them at all costs.
I am disappointed with my kids behavior, but being disappointed is uncomfortable, so I try to get out of it by changing their behavior, avoiding them, or reacting to them.
I am frustrated after a long day, but I don’t like feeling frustrated, so I watch tv and eat to feel better.
I buffer away my negative emotions in an attempt to escape them.
Strangely enough, humans also do not like to feel extreme positive emotions. If you’ve ever been so proud of your child that you have taken them out for ice cream, I’m talking to you.
In that moment, you were immensely proud, excited, and happy for your child. We’re often not used to feeling so good. Eating a treat dulls your senses and creates a heavy grounding sensation where there was a bubbling excitement. It numbs away the extreme positive emotion.
Instead of trying to get away from all of the emotions - negative and positive, what if you just allowed them. What if they are not a big deal?
To start, ask yourself: what are you feeling right now?
Where is it in your body?
What does it feel like?
No feeling - good or bad, is too hard to handle once you just allow it to be in your body.
You can feel terrible feelings - shame, embarrassment, anxiety, worry, stress, and frustration, and you will not die.
Trying not to feel an emotion actually feels worse than just feeling it.
I know that this might sound crazy, but just try it. Stop trying to talk yourself out of being frustrated. Just be frustrated. Close your eyes and picture the frustration taking over your body. What does it feel like. Be with it. Experience it.
Truly feeling your feelings after spending a lifetime avoiding them is like being afraid of the monster in the closet as a kid. Once you grow up and turn on the light and look into the closet, you see that there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a closet. The monster was all in your mind.
Feeling frustrated is not the big scary deal we’ve made it out to be. Avoiding it is what made it into the monster we’ve been hiding from. Just let it happen.
Once you open your eyes to see that all you’ve ever wanted is to feel good, and that feeling bad is actually not that bad, it gives you compassion.
When other people behave badly, you see that all they want is to feel positive emotion. They are trying so desperately to avoid feeling terrible.
You’ll also see that any time you react poorly, disengage from your life, or buffer away feelings with food, tv, social media, and more, you are just trying to feel good.
Knowing this can help you extend compassion to yourself and others. Instead of harsh judgement about how you “should” behave and how others “should” behave, you can know that everyone is doing the best that they can as they try to feel positive emotions.
Instead of wallowing in your faults, self hate, and loathing, you can have compassion, empathy, and understanding.
You are just a human trying to feel positive emotion and resisting the negative emotion.
Stop resisting and just give in.
It’s ok to be disappointed, scared, annoyed, anxious, mad, and ashamed.
Stop resisting and just allow yourself to feel the whole spectrum of human emotions.
The willingness to feel negative emotion is what sets you free to more fully experience the positive emotions.
Set yourself free.
P.S. Did you know time is relative? Read about it here.