To assume that your emotions are always important and meaningful is a recipe for suffering and emotional instability.
–Nick Wagnall, shared by Tom via his blog
Whatever you’re focused on is literally like planning a future event and your emotions give you instant feedback that reflect your thinking. When you’re worrying, you are planning. When you are appreciating, you are planning… What emotional state are you choosing to plan?
–Abraham Hicks, shared by Laura in London, England
Being human is hard.
We’re complex creatures with pretty advanced operating systems which developed without instruction manuals written out in a language we can understand. We have all these thoughts and feels zooming within and around us pretty much all of the time…some of which contain crucial information that our lives depend on. Others, however, are background noise, extraneous echoes from the past or complete fictions concocted purely for entertainment or distraction purposes. How the heck are we supposed to figure out out which of them need tending to and which should be taken lightly (or ignored completely)?
Well, that’s hard, too! Especially because I believe most of us are grappling with a mound of unprocessed feelings from the last few years of Significant Stuff, not to mention a full Lifetime of Stuff (even Generational Stuff, too).
I’ll share with you that multiple rounds of therapy at various points in my life have helped me considerably with this process of discernment. So has cultivating close relationships with a handful of dear friends willing to dive into these deeper waters. Life itself continues to provide oodles of opportunities for helping me distinguish between important clues and unhelpful distractions, and regular meditation has significantly boosted my ability to step back and notice what is going on internally.
All of these strategies have gradually improved my choices about how to futz with my feels, and I suspect that there are quite a few other tools and techniques that others have found to help them assess and manage their emotions. It’s helpful (and also sometimes frustrating) to keep in mind that we don’t always get to choose what happens to us, and we don’t often get to choose our initial reaction to those happenings. We do, however, have some influence on what we do with those happenings and how we shape our responses to them.
Hang in there. Being human is hard. You’re not alone, even when it feels like you are.
P.S. If you’re having really big feels, please (please) don’t try to handle them alone. Folks here in the U.S. can benefit from by dialing or texting 988 which will connect you with our Nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Anyone around the world can find help via International Association for Suicide Prevention.