I often say accepting of our feelings is important, but it’s not always the case. There is a time we need to disengage from negative feelings.
When talking to a friend of mine, I noted she started beating herself up for what happened and going in a “negative loop” of self-blame. The below is our conversation.
Seiko: You better stop that self-talk. It doesn’t help you at all.
Friend: But you always say I need to feel my feelings. It’s confusing!
Seiko:You are not feeling your feeling right now. You are thinking about a problem or a bad feeling. You are identified with your feeling. By “feeling your feelings” I mean objectively observing it.
It is important to discern that when we are hooked into a negative loop of self-talk and going down the endless negative spiral, we better stop ourselves.
It only reinforces “reactive negative patterns of thinking.”
Our brain develops through repeated experiences. It is like a hiking trail. The more we use it, the wider it gets.
By letting ourselves have a free rein to go in a negative loop, we actually reinforce the negative pathway in our brain.
This is an unhelpful way of feeling.
What’s a helpful way of feeling then? How is it different from “thinking about feeling”?
After pondering the difference between helpful and unhelpful ways, my friend came up with a brilliant phrase.
“Being with feelings.”
Yes!! You’ve nailed it!!
“Being with feelings” is compassion – let our feeling be as it is.
A compassionate way of feeling our feelings means to first be with our feelings non-judgementally, and notice what is really going on within us.
“Being with feelings” creates a reflective space to observe our feelings.
It is important to attend to one feeling at a time rather than let a chain of thought go out of control.
The difference is between “thinking about feelings” and “being with feelings.”
When we find ourselves going into a negative loop, let’s take a moment and tell ourselves
“I care about this pain.”
I think this can create an entry into “being with feelings.”
I am currently writing about my process towards realising my dream “Spreading a joy of being oneself with 1000 people.”
I wrote what motivated me to realise this dream here: