Christmas holidays can be tough for some people. For some it’s a time of refection, and the pain of our losses tends to resurface in our hearts and minds. If this is the case for you, it’s a good time to practice loving yourself. Along with loving yourself[i], it may be a good time to bring awareness into the emotions that are surfacing within you.
In this article, I will be discussing two key points to help change your experience with the strong emotions that tend to surface during this time of year.
Bringing awareness to your emotions can be a simple process of changing the way you look at the storm of emotions arising within you.
I was recently having a day where I felt extreme anger in myself. My mind wanted to lash out, at anything or anyone that came my way.
After a period of time, I noticed that I had attached a label to what I was experiencing. I called the feelings that were present, “anger”. Often I’m quick to judge what I’m feeling at any given moment and attach the first label I can to it. By attaching a name to what I was feeling, it gave the feeling a much stronger identity inside of me.
What I noticed is that the feeling of anger not only persisted during the time I was hanging onto the label, it actually increased. The moment I released the desire to attach a name to what I was feeling, my relationship to my experience changed.
Instead of hanging onto the label I created for what I was feeling, I decided to call it “energy”. I told myself that “I had lots of energy flowing through me”. This simple shift had a profound impact on the feelings that were coursing through me.
Without the label of anger, it actually felt different. There are many times we mislabel the feelings we are having, but when we give them a name they begin to take on their own life.
Next, I let go of the attachment that it was “MY” anger I was feeling. Not every feeling that comes over us is ours. A good example of this is, have you ever walked into a room where two people have been fighting? The tension in the room is the energy that was created by them. The energy you are feeling is not yours, it’s the energy of the people who were fighting.
Again I repeat, not every feeling that arises in us, is ours. It can be the thoughts and feelings of the people in your home, town or even the world. There is an interconnectedness between us all, we are not separate from each other. (I will be discussing this deeper in a future article I’m working on)
I noticed that there was a part of me that wanted to personalize the feelings I was having. There was a voice in my head that said “I’m not happy today” and “I am angry”. When we are in the throes of our emotions there is a tendency to attach ourselves to what we are feeling. The stronger our emotions arise, the deeper we attach ourselves to what we are feeling.
If you don’t believe this ask the next angry person you see. Ask them if they are angry, their reply might go like this; “YES, I AM ANGRY!” They might even throw something at you. You might want to ask from a distance!
When we make this kind of statement, there is a huge emphasis on the “me” portion of the statement. By not personalizing our feelings, we create space in ourselves to release the emotions we are feeling. During my time of feeling angry there was nothing different or wrong with my day, I just labeled my experience and personalized it as mine.
Once I followed these two steps, what I was feeling just disappeared and has not been back.
It doesn’t matter what you’re feeling at any given moment, what really matters is what we do with our emotions.
For years my emotions controlled my life and my behavior. I felt like a puppet on a string, like I didn’t have a choice to act any other way. For the most part, I wasn’t even aware that my emotions were controlling me.
As the holiday season rolls along become aware of your emotions as they arise. Stay present with the moment you’re in and love yourself enough to let go of the feelings as they arise.