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.