How are things going for you?
For me, it’s been a bit intense lately. We’re having extreme weather events where I live, and that brings up a lot of feelings for me. I feel scared… tense… worried… discouraged because it seems to be getting worse every year… There’s a lot!
And what do I do when those feelings come up? I remember to Pause and be kind to myself. And I put my hand on my heart. I acknowledge my feelings using the three words: “something in me.” Like this: “something in me is feeling scared right now.”
And then I say to my feelings: “I know, I hear you. I know it’s scary.”
And that helps! It really does, I can feel it!
You know, we need our feelings. They bring us messages about what matters to us, and where we might need to take action. But if our feelings take us over, that doesn’t help. If I’m nothing but scared, then there’s nobody here to be present to the scared feeling, and hear it.
You might be thinking that just hearing how you feel doesn’t do much. Like, OK, I heard it, so what? You might be thinking that when you find a feeling, you need to do something to fix it. Solve the problem. Think differently. Make the feeling go away. Right?
Well, no, actually. It turns out that trying to make your feelings go away just makes them stronger. Like if you don’t answer a knock at the door, and the person knows you’re home? They knock louder!
I was reminded of this powerful truth when I heard from my student Ken this week.
Ken was letting me know how my work has helped him. I love emails like that! And I know Ken is someone who doesn’t have an easy life. He’s a schoolteacher, and he has kids of his own, plus he didn’t have the easiest of childhoods himself. So sometimes inner peace is a bit elusive for Ken.
In this episode of Inner Peace for Challenging Times, you’ll hear how my student Ken noticed and acknowledged his depressed feelings in a way that helped him return to a sense of inner peace and even happiness!
Ken told me that one day, he was feeling depressed. He didn’t even know why. He just felt depressed.
Now let me pause the story a moment for a footnote about depression. What we’re talking about here is different from clinical depression. Clinical depression is a serious illness, and if you suspect you have it, I recommend consulting a mental health professional. Feeling DEPRESSED at the moment, doesn’t mean you HAVE DEPRESSION. Ken felt depressed. That was his feeling. He might just as well have felt sad, or anxious, or discouraged. And here’s what happened next.
Ken found himself looking out the window and saying, “I feel depressed!” This is already an important step, acknowledging what’s true instead of being in denial.
Then he said “Something in me feels depressed.”
He said it again, then again. “Something in me feels depressed.”
He sensed into his body as he said it. And here’s what took him by surprise. There was a response!
Something in him felt SO happy and so relieved. If it could talk it would’ve said, “Oh, you heard me! I’m SO happy that you did!”
The depressed feeling was transformed. The very place in him that had felt depressed, now felt happy.
Does that just sound too easy? Let’s break it down a bit and see what Ken actually did.
First, he noticed how he was feeling. And we don’t always do that! Did you ever realize you’d been walking around under a cloud, feeling depressed or sad or uneasy but not actually noticing?
So noticing how you’re feeling is important.
Next, he used the special language of “Something in me.” “Something in me feels depressed.” This does two things. One, it acknowledges how you feel without needing to change. And two, it reminds you that this feeling is not all of you, it’s something in you.
Ken didn’t just do it once. He said “Something in me feels depressed” several more times. Slowly.
And then he sensed in his body to feel what happened. If there was a response. Now in this case, the response was quite dramatic. “Depressed” went all the way to “happy.” In other cases, the response might be smaller. But every response from inside is a step in a positive direction.
What’s going on when you do this is, you’re creating an inner relationship of listening, of self-compassion, of caring. And your feelings don’t have to knock you on the head to get your attention. Sometimes they’re so grateful that you’re listening, your whole mood changes. And that’s really beautiful.
Would you like even more support trying steps like these? You can sign up for my Weekly Tips here and you’ll get even more helpful tips (like this one) that can make a huge difference for you.
So here’s to you… having a more peaceful life.