i’m responsible for my own feelings

it’s so easy to identify with our feelings. to own them and think they define us. and it’s so easy to think that someone else is responsible for ‘making you feel’ a certain way.

how many times have i said, ‘you make me feel so stupid…’ or ‘you hurt my feelings.’

then i started practicing a tiny shift in my thought patterns – those silly thought patterns that became so engrained in me that i identified them as ‘me’.  instead of saying ‘you make me feel stupid, sad, frustrated, (whatever feeling i’m experiencing at the time)..’, i started saying, ‘i feel stupid, sad, frustrated when…’

i realized that in labeling the feeling, i could identify it simply as a feeling, allow myself to experience that feeling, but then also let it go, or release it so it didn’t overwhelm me. i could move on. it’s like the difference between pain and suffering. i can identify the feeling as painful, but then i can choose to experience it, and then let it go. if i choose to hold onto it and continue to blame you for ‘making feel the pain’, then i’m choosing to ‘suffer’. i can forgive, let go and experience peace, freedom and connection. or i can resent, hold on and dwell in discontent, depression, anger and conflict.

with this tiny shift in how i started to see the world, i was allowing myself to be separate from you. and in this separateness, i became closer to you, i could understand you, i could connect. the words or actions that were hurtful may not have been intentional, and may have triggered a response in me that was a part of my own past experiences and learned conditioned reactions.

i don’t have to take responsibility for someone else’s anger at the world. i don’t have to take it personally. you blaring your horn at my car because i’m in your way doesn’t have to ruin my day. i can listen without the need to defend myself and in doing so i can better hear your perspective and what you may be experiencing. i can give you the space to be in a bad mood, but i don’t have to jump into that bad place with you and blow my horn back at you.


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