Most of us are in a perpetual state of self-judgment. About how we “should” or “shouldn’t” be feeling, thinking, or reacting in any given moment. When negative emotions start to bubble up, we may try to suppress or deny them, which ironically keeps the emotions trapped in our systems, causing prolonged pain.
If we can gently surrender our psychological defenses and instead practice emotional acceptance, we afford ourselves the space necessary to gain valuable perspective on the moment in front of us.
The touchpoint of Letting Go can guide us.
Letting Go doesn’t mean allowing the world to trample all over you. And it doesn’t mean resigning yourself to being swept away by an emotion. You’re simply letting go of the struggle. And meeting yourself wherever you are in this moment with kindness and compassion.
The next time an uncomfortable emotion arises, instead of armoring up, try this:
- Awareness: Go inside your body. Feel what’s going on there. If thoughts come up, let them drift up and out. Stay anchored in the body without making a story out of the feelings.
- Space: Identify the emotion by giving it a name (sadness, anger, shame, anxiety). Keep naming the emotion, feeling it as you name it, recognizing that if you can witness it, it’s not you. It’s just a sensation passing through you.
- Curiosity: Once you feel calmer, investigate the story that’s coming up. If it’s a blame story, go deeper into the feelings. The act of blaming (others OR ourselves) is often a cover-up for a deeper vulnerability – one that has to be addressed if we’re to get out of the reactivity cycle.
By accepting our emotions, feeling our emotions, and creating space for them to pass through, we are: a) practicing self-compassion, b) cultivating empathic understanding, and c) empowering ourselves to respond to the need of the moment with clarity and grace.