One minute you’re fine. The next minute you feel like you’ve been slapped. Punched in the stomach. Caught off guard. Ripped from your happy place.
It could be a small thing. It could be a huge thing. It might not even matter thirty minutes from now. What does matter is that you’ve been wounded and you are leaking. Energy is draining out of you and you don’t even realize it.
Because sneakily, we expect the world to cater to our preferences and when it doesn’t, we feel slighted and oppressed.
Because we’ve grown accustomed to acting out when we don’t get our way. Anger. Resentment. Sadness. Bitterness.
Because we think we’ll feel better if we yell or pout or complain or make a scene. All attempts to avoid dealing with the underlying issues.
And low and behold, as we invest in all of this friction, we lose precious time and energy. Doing what? Resisting the journey. Fighting against the truth of what is happening. Instead of taking what life brings, working with it and learning how to experience our emotions without letting them take over.
So many times. That was me.
Sitting at at my desk at work. Unable to concentrate because someone said something sideways to me. Or jealous because someone got recognition for something that I thought I did better. Or suffering silently at home, mad because I’m doing all the work around house. Criticizing myself for not speaking up about it. Being passive aggressive. Impatient. Disconnected. Face all wrinkled up. Body tight. Suppressed feelings pulling on me. Distracting me. Narrowing my focus down to my drama and away from my consciousness. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. Conditioned thoughts. Blaming. Reacting. Festering. Then feeling ashamed of myself for thinking so negatively.
But when you bring awareness to it, you pause. You see yourself indulging in your own drama. You see how you are trying to control the uncontrollable and make everything fit your ideal. Your peace of mind is falling by the wayside. Your power to choose is not being exercised. Energy is draining out of you and you are starting to realize it.
Because negative emotions are signs that point us inward, not outward, so we can learn how to experience discomfort without blindly reacting to it.
Because every time things don’t go our way, we have an opportunity to examine our expectations and practice a positive state of mind when life doesn’t flow according to our plans.
Because whether we blindly express our anger or fearfully suppress it, we are allowing ourselves to be carried away by the need to be stubborn, to be closed off, to have the last word, to point fingers and ultimately to feel pain and react to it without trying to understand it.
3 Steps to Becoming More Aware
Acknowledge that everything is not supposed to go your way. Discomfort, anger, frustration, annoyance, indignation — all of these things are a part of your journey, but you can’t let them define your experience. The essence of who you are and what you are here for is bigger than these temporary emotions. Observe your feelings and see how expecting things to always go your way sends you off the path and narrows the scope of your life.
Label your thoughts. Watch yourself go through your typical response when something upsets you. How do you react to anger, disappointment, criticism? What script starts playing in your mind? Don’t believe everything you are thinking. Instead, when you have time to reflect, sit back with your yucky feelings and start labeling your thoughts.
For example, “Having a thought that she is trying to make me look bad.” “Having a thought that no matter what I do, I will never be recognized or rewarded for my hard work.” “Having a thought that he’s selfish and he’s taking advantage of my kindness.” “Having a thought that I am always treated unfairly.” “Having a thought that I will always suffer because I don’t speak up for myself.”
This takes practice and will be difficult at first, especially in the heat of the moment. But doing this shows you the messages you are fueling yourself with. Do these thoughts broaden your consciousness or narrow it? Do they reflect what you want your life to be about or do they distract you? Do they connect you to ego or spirit, to fear or to love? When you say to yourself “Having a thought that…” this separates these thoughts from your true consciousness. Your spirit. The part of you that observes everything.
Experience the discomfort. This is how you find clarity and stop allowing your emotions to pull you all over the place. When you label your thoughts, you can drill down into the energy of the negative feelings. What they feel like in your body. How they close you off and shut down your view of the bigger picture. Instead of giving in to the urge to massage your ego, you start to dig deeper and vibrate higher, finding a space where you can feel at peace, even in the most difficult situations.
Because you know who you are and what matters to you. You need your energy for bigger and better things.
Because you want to live an open-hearted life, where you humbly accept the good with the bad, the easy with the difficult, knowing that all of it is part of the journey.
Because you want to reach a point where you are more concerned about serving the world and less about the world serving you.