“My dad was insensitive and I want to let go of being annoyed.”

A Reader writes: “Is there a way Focusing can help with the following? I would like to ‘nip something in the bud’.

“At a family gathering over the weekend, my dad asked me a personal question that was very insensitive. I gave a simple answer to try to end the matter and changed the subject. It doesn’t matter what was said and there’s no point in bringing this back up with Dad.

“The problem is that this is still present in my mind. I expect it’s persisting because, though I say there’s no point in pursuing it, I still want to, or think I can, do something about it and I remain unsatisfied. So what? I want it gone.

“I know absolutely that I do not need to feel into this. There is nothing in me that is asking to be heard. It seems I’d be making it up if I were to wonder if I felt hurt or angry or any number of other possibilities. I don’t even want to be annoyed – annoyed with what was said, annoyed with the person who said it, annoyed that I can’t get rid of the annoyance.

“So I’m thinking… this doesn’t have to be about my dad and the stupid question. Can it be about how I choose to think and feel? Do I have a choice? Do I have control? Can I really let it go? How? I want simply to remember the weekend as the wonderful event it was.”

Dear Reader,
No, I’m afraid it’s not possible to control how you feel. You can only control how you behave, how you treat yourself and others, in consequence of what you feel. I know this from many hard years of trying!

You can choose to relate to the feeling side of yourself in such a way that it is more likely to change. In fact, Inner Relationship Focusing is a way to do that.

So I’m wondering what you mean when you say that you “know absolutely” that you do not need to feel into this. In my view, that’s exactly what your process is asking you to do, when you have persistent thoughts and feelings about an incident in the past. You may wish that you didn’t — but you do. And since you do, it means there is something you don’t yet know about what bothered you so much.

I know not everyone feels this way, but for me, self-discovery is treasure. If I can find out something more about myself, how I react, what makes me tick, I’m happy.

But even if you’re not as big a fan of self-discovery as I am, even if all you want is to be at peace and let go of annoying reactions, it’s still true that the way to do that is to sit down and get to know the feeling reaction from ITS point of view.

Start by acknowledging what is here right now

The first step would be to use Presence Language to acknowledge what is going on right now. You sound identified with the part of you that wants to let go of the feeling and control how you think and feel. Using Presence Language, you step back from that part of you without pushing it away.

“I’m sensing something in me that wants to remember the weekend as wonderful.”
“I’m sensing something in me that doesn’t want to be annoyed.”
“I’m sensing something in me that wants to choose and control how I think and feel about this.”

Notice if you feel a difference when you do that.

Next you would use the same kind of language to acknowledge the other part… like this:
“I’m sensing something in me that remains unsatisfied.”
“I’m sensing something in me that still wants to do something about this.”

Now — very important — don’t let these two parts talk to each other! That argument will go on forever. Instead, be Self-in-Presence, the larger You who can step in between them and invite each one of them to go deeper into what is under these feelings and wishes. This isn’t a thinking process… it involves pausing and sensing the whole more-than-words place that is below the words.

In that deeper place, you are likely to encounter something unexpected, something you couldn’t have known or planned. That’s why we can’t think our way through these issues. Thinking (without felt senses) uses only our old perspectives. Focusing allows us to go someplace really new.

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