Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Relationships, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 05-16-2016
Tags: 3 Principles, Forgiveness, Love, Mindfulness, Transformation
Warning…this post contains bad language!
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
Which would you prefer: feeling good or feeling bad?
I’m guessing most of you would say feeling good. And yet…
…so often when confronted with “negative” situations, we hold onto bad feelings a whole lot longer than necessary.
While we go through many emotions throughout our day, the negative ones can seem so “normal” that we don’t even notice them. However, I’ve found the more I make a point to observe my thoughts, the more aware I am of when they are in turmoil.
Awareness is the key to unlocking better feelings.
Becoming aware is like having a voyeur in our heads. Most of the time when life’s going smoothly, there’s not a lot to see. But when the shit hits the fan, our inner world starts to get pretty interesting. While extremely uncomfortable, it’s these “bad” times that provide the most potential for growth and learning. (Not to mention the best blog fodder!)
Here’s an example of what the voyeur in my head has observed:
Something happens during the course of my day that I’d label as bad. For example, let’s say I expected someone to do something and they didn’t. When I first find out, I get angry. The voyeur in me (Awareness) sees all kinds of thoughts whizzing by such as, “WTF? They said they’d do it and they didn’t. I guess they’re just a jerk and/or not to be trusted. Nobody ever seems to do what they say anymore. What’s wrong with people?”
From there I may even start to see all kinds of past hurts blowing through. “This is just like that time in second grade when so and so did whatever. Come to think of it, it happened in 6th grade, 10th grade, summer camp, college, when I was first married…blah blah blah. Why does this keep happening to me?!”
And on and on and on it goes.
Meanwhile, physically, my head starts to hurt. My heart might be beating faster and my blood pressure is probably going through the roof.
All because of Thought!
Here’s where it gets interesting. When I’m Aware of what’s happening, I can actually have a dialogue with myself.
Which often looks like this:
Awareness: You know you’re going to learn from this.
Mad Me: Fuck off.
Awareness: Fine, stay mad if you like. You’re only making yourself feel bad.
Mad Me: Thank you for your unsolicited advice, but I’m planning on staying mad for a good long while. They deserve it!
Awareness: Yeah but they aren’t the one suffering, you are.
Mad Me: Didn’t I tell you to fuck off?
Awareness: Okay, but one more thing. Remember how you’ve been learning that at every moment we can choose Fear or we can choose Love?
Mad Me: Yeah…but…
Awareness: Isn’t this one of those moments?
Mad Me: (Sheepishly) I guess so. But seriously, how the hell can I choose Love in this situation. They are wrong, and they are a jerk. How do I love that?
Awareness: You don’t have to love That. But what you think about it and how you act because of it is where your choice comes into play.
Mad Me: Go on, I’m listening.
Awareness: You know how you had those thoughts of “I’ll show you!” and “I’m never going to speak to you again” and “I want to make you feel as bad as I do.”?
Mad Me: Yes of course I had those thoughts. They deserve it. I can’t just let people get away with treating me that way. They need to know how I feel and how they hurt me.
Awareness: So here’s my question for you. Would being mean to them or telling them how much they hurt you be coming from Love or Fear?
Mad Me: Well…hmm. In a way it’s coming from Love because my letting them know means I’m trying to help them be a better person. Right?
Awareness: Is that really your job?
Mad Me: I guess not.
Awareness: Let’s try again, Love or Fear?
Mad Me: I don’t know.
Awareness: Okay. I know this is a tough one, so I’ll give you the answer. It’s definitely NOT coming from Love. So the only other choice is Fear.
Mad Me: That sucks. I want another choice!
Awareness: Unfortunately, that’s all there is.
Mad Me: (Not quite as mad anymore.) Can I phone a friend? Use a lifeline?” 🙂
Awareness: That’s what you’re doing by consulting me. Let’s look at this another way. Yes, they said they would do something and they didn’t do it. Those are the facts. What is it about this that is making you feel so bad?
Me: I had expectations that weren’t met.
Me: So I’m just supposed to allow people to not do what they say they will?
Awareness: Well, sort of. What they do or don’t do has nothing to do with you. There are all sorts of reasons why others do or don’t do stuff. You have no control over that. If someone is consistently not doing what they say they’ll do, then you may want to do something about it. But here’s the thing…the less angry you are, the better chance you’ll have of coming up with a positive solution.
Me: Okay that makes sense. Meanwhile, what am I supposed to do in this situation?
Awareness: I already told you. Choose Love.
Clear Headed Me: OMG I get it!
And with that, the situation magically transforms. It no longer even exists. There is nothing to be said. Nothing to be done. Anything further said or done by the other is now easily met with Love because there is no situation.
I should mention that this transformation from fear to love doesn’t happen as quickly as it might seem here. I go through a whole lot of “I don’t want feel better” moments, as well as lots of arguing back and forth between Awareness and Mad Me. It could take an hour, a bunch of hours or an entire day for me to be ready, depending on how severe I deem the situation. But because I don’t like feeling bad, I am able to drop things much quicker than I used to. I’m hoping to get to a point where I can just say, “You know it’s going to be all better at some point, so why not skip all this BS and get straight to the good stuff?”
If you feel like this is too simplistic, I assure you that it isn’t. Over the past few weeks I’ve had versions of this very same conversation with myself when I’ve been angry and/or hurt. Once I choose Love–really choose Love–everything else falls away. Solutions to whatever problem I thought existed, come to me and are easily implemented.
Here’s the best part…
Every time I do this I end up closer than ever before to the people involved!
I’m not going tell you that going through this is easy. It’s not. It takes a whole lot of introspection. You have to be willing to give up your preconceptions of what you think is going on and be open to seeing things differently. But if and when you do that and are open and honest with yourself, I promise that your life and relationships and overall feelings of well-being will improve immensely.
Let me know if you have ever experienced this or if you have questions. I’d love to discuss it further with you!