This morning my feelings got hurt when I asked my wife Kellen a question, and she responded to me in a tone I interpreted as “that’s a dumb question.” It was immediate; I felt the tears start to push against my eyelids.
We had a brief conversation about it, and left it at that. But I was still feeling upset and I didn’t feel that the emotion matched the situation, yet it was undeniable, I got hurt. I left the room and decided to investigate it. I just sat with it and tried to feel how deep it went. I noticed a tightness in my throat and my jaw tightening. I just felt it, let it be there and within 5 seconds it disappeared like a cloud on a windy day. I poked around and couldn’t find the upset anymore.
I didn’t hold the grudge or stomp around coldly like I may have done on another day. Instead I used my mindfulness practice to tune in instead of tune out, to show myself some kindness and it payed off.
Paying attention to ourselves takes courage.
Being with our feelings instead of reacting, numbing or trying to push them aside is a heroic act. Learning to sit with ourselves and not fall into a story about why this or why that and simply be present with the feelings is how we can learn to relate to our difficult feelings and pull ourselves out of a downward cycle.
This is my year of loving kindness towards myself and others because I believe that it will help me fulfill my goals and is in alignment with my values. I don’t believe it is more self-discipline we need, but often more kindness.
What do you normally do when difficult feelings arise? What do they feel like in your body?
Can you show yourself some kindness and take a power pause and just be with the feelings, without the story?
Just feel what you are feeling and instead of keeping yourself in the prison of your conditioning, you will set yourself free and you won’t need to force yourself to follow through; you will choose what is best for you in the moment.
Here are the steps:
1. Notice when difficult feelings come up. (Try to catch it before it gets full blown)
2. Take a power pause. Stop everything. Close your eyes and tune into how it feels.
3. Don’t go into the drama or the story, just stay with the feeling in your body.
4. Ask yourself, “What is the kindest thing I could do next for myself and the other?”