Recently I was a bit upset. I was feeling sad, anxious and angry about a challenging situation in my life.
I am not good with anger. My natural tendency is to fight it. I try to fix the feeling. My mind grinds over and over whatever seems to have triggered the anger. Part of me believes that if I can just figure out how to solve the problem then I won’t have this bad feeling.
How does that work for me? Not real well!
So I caught myself in my old pattern. Ruminating on the problem in a doomed attempt to get rid of the anger. And then I made a different choice. I decided to observe the feelings with curiosity. To notice exactly where I could feel the emotions in my body and what they felt like?
Then I realised the extent of my foolishness. The feeling was actually only one part anger, the other three parts were probably illness. I was sore across my shoulders, the glands in my neck were aching, I had a headache. I wasn’t so much angry as sick!
When toddlers get irritable we ask them:
- Are you thirsty?
- Are you hungry?
- Do you need a rest?
And in Derbyshire, the response to a particularly crabby and inconsolable child is often, ‘She is probably sickening for something‘ (which means ‘She is probably suffering the prodromal symptoms of a viral illness‘).
So next time a difficult emotion comes up, don’t make my mistake. View the feelings with a bit more curiosity and see if you need to show yourself some kindness…or perhaps just have a little rest.