Emotions aren’t as they seem.
Emotions are energy. Emotions shape our world, our reality, our life. They are there to assist you and help you to feel a certain way when an event occurs and as you go throughout your day.
There are more emotions to feel then we realise, yet we often only use the same emotions over and over; happy, sad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, pleased, excited, neutral. This is pretty much the list of emotions we engage in on a daily or weekly basis.
But here’s the thing, emotions are our choice. Emotions are something we are taught to do, to feel, to experience, and often we only know and engage in a small number of emotions, which means this is how we often feel and this is where we stay.
Ever wondered why 2 people can experience the same thing, and one person can be a little annoyed and another can be furious?
Well, it is the way they respond to the event that causes them to feel this way.
There is a theory or this called E+R=O; Event + Response = Outcome (I learnt this from TCI, not sure where it comes from).
What this means is, it is not the event that causes how we feel, or the outcome it is our response to the event that influences the outcomes.
Whilst we can’t always control the event, we can certainly control our response, which in return affects the outcome.
Now before you tell me there is no way you could feel anything but furious when your partner is late for dinner, or that feeling annoyed about the extra meeting that has occurred this week is the only appropriate response, I want you to ask yourself, is this the only way to feel? And, would everyone else feel the same as you? The answer to both of these questions is no.
People choose to feel differently all the time, even about the same situation. The power in this is, those who understand that emotion and feeling is a choice, have more control over their lives, and essentially allow more positivity and happiness to be part of their day.
Because these people know being frustrated, annoyed or furious at something that was out of their control is a waste of their energy, and actually gets them o where.
Now don’t get me wrong, yes it can be annoying when your partner is later for dinner, and an extra meeting can be frustrating too, but it doesn’t mean you have to take in this emotion and carry it with you into other areas of your life.
So what do you do the?
Well, when an event happens, ask yourself how you feel, acknowledge your first emotion, but ask yourself, is it worth me feeling this way? (the answer is probably no), how else could I choose to feel? What would this mean? How would this make me feel instead? How would things be different?
Try this, try choosing different emotions.
You can choose your emotion, you can choose how you feel. You can choose to be positive and happy.
Being happy all the time is a myth. Being happy all the time isn’t something that everyone needs to aim for all of the time. Yes, we want to be happy but it’s unreasonable to expect happiness to be the only emotion we feel.
We have a range of emotions as humans so that we can experience things on all kinds of levels. If we were just happy all the time we’d only experience happy things, things that make us happy: joy, love, all of the things that bring you a smile. But this just isn’t the case.
Life can throw all kinds of things at you. Just when you think you’re on the rollercoaster of happy, something can be thrown your way and all of a sudden you can find yourself plummeting down. Down fast, down to the bottom, where you are filled with emotions that you just don’t want to feel.
Experiencing all the emotions are a part of life. Being 100% is actually allowing yourself to feel all of the different emotions. By giving yourself permission to feel sad when you’re sad, angry when you’re angry, hurt when your hurt, disappointed when you’re disappointed, frustrated when you’re frustrated, you’re allowing yourself to be human.
Yet too often, many of us are taught that the only way to feel is happy.
Unfortunately, what this does is it makes us chase an emotion which sometimes just doesn’t serve us.
It’s important to feel different things in different ways for different reasons. How do you know what happiness really is if you don’t experience the other side?
You can’t experience cold without hot, you can’t experience sunrise without sunset, you don’t have Ying without Yang or salt without pepper, and you can’t have happy without all the other emotions as well.
So why is it so hard to feel these emotions?
At some point in time, you may have been told only babies cry, or that it’s a sign of weakness, that being angry is OK but sad isn’t and the being disappointed just isn’t worth it. If any of these sound familiar, or you can even think of your own examples, it is likely that these things you were once told, or even shown (which means you probably have no idea it even impacted you), dramatically impact the emotions you allow yourself to experience now. You see emotions are a choice, and we can change them when needed, but suppressing them or not allowing them to be heard first, only causes us more pain and discomfort.
So here is the challenge, I want you to feel all your emotions. Allow yourself to have them come naturally, give yourself time, space and presence to be with them, then ask yourself the following questions:
What emotion do I feel?
Why do I feel this way?
What am I learning by feeling this emotion?
What am I getting out of feeling this way?
Is this real?
How do I want to feel?
Could I change my emotion?*
These questions are designed to get you in touch with your emotions, to have you consciously check in with yourself and bring awareness to how you feel.
(*The last question is the next step, I’ll do a follow-up blog on this next week)
Remember, as you go through this process, be kind to yourself, anything that makes us more mindful of self can be challenging, confronting and sometimes bring up other things we didn’t know where hidden deep within us, if this is you, let it be and see what else you can learn about yourself from this.
If this is something you would like to explore further, please do get in touch, and we can work on this together.
There is so much talk about self-care at the moment.
Self-care Sunday is booming, mindful Monday and soul Saturday are close behind; but really, what all this boils down to, is taking care of yourself, putting yourself first and honouring yourself enough to know that you need to put you first, pressing pause on life when you feel you can’t go on, and actually making time to look after you just as much as you do others.
Yoga, walks on the beach, meditation, massage, drinking herbal tea and self-help books, these seem to be what is most recommended as a means of self-care, but actually, for what it is worth, I don’t agree that this is for everyone.
Self-care isn’t just yoga and deep breathing while you watch the sunset, it is so much more, actually, it is whatever you want it to be.
No one can decide your self-care, it is simply doing whatever it is for you, whatever helps you relax, tune out, feel less stressed, enjoy life and have fun. This can actually be done in so many ways. For some people, it is yoga (me included), for my partner it is 3-hour cycle (I couldn’t think of anything worse and he hates yoga). For my brother, it is playing Dungeons and Dragons (OK this might be worse than a 3hr cycle), my other brother is learning bass guitar and my BFF is all about a whole day of binging on Netflix. All of these things, as different as they are, and as unique to the person they might be, are all self-care. My point is, self-care is actually whatever you want it to be.
Reading, craft, hiking, reading a book, mani-pedis, playing a team sport; just about anything at all, as long as it is good for your soul, clams you down, relaxes you, helps you with overwhelm and stress and just makes you feel better, is self-care.
As long as what you do doesn’t hurt or harm others in any way, what you choose to do is up to you. BUT… if you are shopping to make yourself feel better and have money issues this is not self-care, if you are continually eating high-sugar processed foods to comfort you, this is not self-care, if you are watching hours of TV each night because you are tired or stressed, this is also not self-care. Your self-care has to be GOOD for you, good for your soul and good for those around you. Spending money you should be saving is not good, eating rubbish food is not good, lazing on the couch for hours is not good. You must choose your self-care with this is mind.
Once you know what self-care is for you, don’t wait for your day to be rubbish to try it, or for you to feel super stressed or overwhelmed before you do anything, the trick is to build self-care into your day and weekly plan. Schedule it in just like you schedule in time for coffee with friends and family dinner on Sunday night; you are important too, so schedule you in.
Once you have scheduled in regular time for your self-care, you will find that you are reaping the benefits more than you thought you would and that your days may not be as stressful as they used to be. Self-care is about filling your cup first, and when you do this, you will have much more to give to others.