Updated: May 22, 2020
This week I so enjoyed connecting with you on IGTV about the concept of Overwhelm. Certainly this pandemic has us all feeling a host of hard emotions, and overwhelm for many, is at the top of the list.
It's easy to get carried away with the news and all of the what if's that come with the circumstances we collectively face. For most of us isolating at home, our children are home from school indefinitely and the landscape of our lives is unrecognizable. Grateful for our health and safety? Most certainly.
But gratitude doesn't preclude us from also feeling difficult emotions simultaneously
So I wanted to re-share some steps that can empower us when we feel hard emotions like overwhelm, fear, grief, sadness, etc. And as you've heard me say, time and again, life isn't about never feeling these emotions. It would be strange if we weren't feeling negative emotions during a time like this. Hard emotions are meaningful. They show us we care, that we are invested, that we are vulnerable - and vulnerable is good if we want to live a wholehearted life.
They also remind us how sweet life is, when the going is good. When joy, contentment and security abound, we wouldn't know those times to be good if we didn't have hard times to compare them to.
But what we must be vigilant about, is that we remain mindful and aware of our thoughts around hard emotions. If we aren't careful, we apply unnecessary emotional suffering to an already difficult circumstance.
As the Dalai Lama says,
"PAIN IS INEVITABLE, BUT SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL"
So here are my empowering steps one more time:
What is the emotion you are feeling? Say it out loud. Don't let it fester in some dark corner of your mind. Shine light on it and see it for what it is: simply, a hard emotion.
"I feel _________ right now and that is a normal, human emotion. I can feel hard feelings".
Become present to the way your body is responding to this emotion and remember that you are capable of feeling any emotion. Where do you sense it in your body? Is your chest tight? Does your head hurt? Locate the physical sensations and connect the dots...your thoughts are causing you physical discomfort. And though you don't want to linger here too long, it is ok to recognize that that is the extent of it. Your thoughts are causing you physical and emotional discomfort and that is ok for the time being. When you boil a hard feeling down to those facts, its becomes more doable.
A loving reminder: do not numb with distractions like food when you're not hungry or mindless screen time (or whatever false pleasure you may to reach for when uncomfortable - don't worry, we all have them and must be aware of them). Do not discharge your pain or discomfort by looking to blame anything outside of yourself. Yes the circumstances are difficult, but our thoughts about the circumstances determine whether the hard emotion is escalating to emotional suffering. Come back to the thoughts you are thinking and take ownership of them. Feel them all the way through, be with them and witness their grip begin to loosen the longer you come face to face with them and allow them for what they are.
SO WHAT AM I MAKING THIS ALL MEAN?
This is a moment of hard feelings, nothing more. Do not attach a disempowering story about your worth subconsciously to this moment in time. You are ALWAYS worthy and this is just a hard moment.
Below I have included a hard feelings cheat sheet exercise for you to reference when hard feelings surface, as well as a blank copy for you to fill in and work through when the need arises. Simply hold down on the image and save to photos for future use. And if you would like more clarity on this topic, be sure to watch my IGTV post 'Put Overwhelm In Its Place'. I always love chatting with you over on IGTV so I can't wait to see you there!
Sending you so much love and light during this time. Remember, we are mindful people. We retain our ultimate freedom; freedom to choose what we will think, and therefore how we will act.
In an uncertain world, take comfort in the certainty that resides within you, my friend.
Here are your handy downloads for this week. Save them to your phone and refer back when difficult feelings arise this week.