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Episode 004 Feeling your Feelings: The Street Fight

Episode 004n

Sometimes the idea of feeling our feelings is a full on street fight. Learn my love-hate relationship with this phrase and how doing it has changed my life.

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Show Notes/Partial Transcript:

A common activity is chasing the next chance of happiness. I do it all the time; I am having a bad day so I think what fun thing can I make for dinner or what cool thing can we watch on TV. Before I was trying to save money…the idea would be what new dress can I buy or when can I get a new haircut.

These days I notice this looking for a future happiness reward as a sign that I need to stop, get quiet and see what is really going on. It is a sign that I am not paying attention to myself right now and I need to be curious about why I need a reward.

This is where the concept of feel your feelings comes into play. If we don’t feel our feelings we end up stuffing them down and looking for new, exciting ways to make ourselves feel better…which if we are honest with ourselves doesn’t really work. So the idea of

However the glitch comes when we start to feel our feelings and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. What do we do with this sadness or anger? What is really going on here? And so we start down the path of “I Shouldn’t be feeling like this I SHOULD be happier.”

A great example: Last night I come home from visiting my parents and my dad is not in the greatest of health so sometimes when I get home on Sunday evenings I am a little sad. Last night I was exceptionally sad. I was feeling A LOT but rather than allow myself to feel all that I kept saying what is your problem…you SHOULD be fine. Nothing sad happened at the visit, Dad was having a great day and it was a lot of fun because I couldn’t justify my feelings then they weren’t valid.
Here’s the thing feelings aren’t always logical, convenient or fun. Feelings can get triggered by God Knows what. I use to drown these feelings in food, wine or losing myself in a game on my Ipad—hello Candy Crush. But now I know that when I feel like this I need to sit with it. Sit with the feelings and pour on the compassion and empathy. No rationalizing, no justifying. The MINUTE I say to myself “oh sweetheart it is ok to struggle it is ok to feel however you want to feel” Is the minute I feel better. My feelings always don’t need some big grandiose form of expression they just need to be heard. I always check in with myself asking what do you need around this…(and I confess my usual response is I need chocolate or I need a glass of wine so I did a little deeper) as in do you need to talk to someone, vent some anger, cry some tears, write etc. and that allows me to express myself in healthy ways.

As Brené Brown, says feeling worthy is a daily practice, it is a street fight every single day. I would say for many of us it is a street fight every single day to trust our feelings and therefore ourselves. The saying just ‘feel your feelings’ is so easy to say. But the act, of trusting that if you allow the sadness or the anger to come forward it won’t eat you alive.

It wasn’t until I learned to trust myself and that I would be ok no matter what happened with my feelings that I could start to experience the peace and contentment that comes from being a whole human being. I could stop the chasing happiness with the next reward and just be with my emotions. Some days this act is a street fight with myself and some days it is as simple as just showing up.

One of my favorite stories about trusting yourself is the story of the snake. Let’s say as a child you are playing in the living room and you see a snake right there in the middle of the living room. You run to tell your mom and Mom #1 says, what snake there is no snake in the living room you are crazy. And you return to the living room to play and repeatedly tell yourself there is no snake until eventually you don’t see the snake anymore and then the snake bites you. Mom #2 says oh my honey, let’s go look at the snake and get rid of it and the 2 of you calmly go to take care of the snake so you can keep playing in the living room.

This story of the snake illustrates how we learn to not trust our feelings and ourselves. We are told that certain feelings are bad or that we shouldn’t feel a certain way and so we eventually cut ourselves off from those feelings. Like the snake there are still there, we just aren’t aware of them. Until they come from out of nowhere to bite us in the butt.

Weekly Ritual Segment:

This episode I am shaking things up a bit, rather than the Live Happier Q&A segment I am going to add it a Weekly Ritual Segment. The Live Happier Q&A segment will be back but most likely just once a month. So if you have a question about Living Happier email me at nancyjane@live-happier.com or send me a tweet @nancyjane. One thing that has really helped me Live Happier is adding regular ritual practices to my daily life so each week I am going to be sharing a ritual with you and challenging you to complete it Stop Light: 3 Deep Breaths You might need a sticky note to remind you of this one. As you are driving when you come to a stop light or traffic jam, simply take 3 deep belly breaths. I have gotten out of the practice of this one so excited to add it back in.

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