As I sit to write this the rain has arrived after a long dry spell. It’s windy, I got wet whilst walking the dog and no doubt the topic of conversation around Ireland is how great the good weather was and how lucky we were to get it. Of course, if this wet spell lasts, the sunny weather will soon be forgotten as we complain about how bad the Irish summers are and reminisce about the sunny summers we had as children. The weather can be a lesson in Mindfulness, learning to be with things as they are and appreciate each moment, wet, dry, snowy, windy, sunny or whatever weather comes our way. So, what you may ask has this to do with being authentic with yourself? Not a lot probably, but it can teach us about being with whatever arises, knowing it will change and something else will arrive just as quickly.
One of the things I strive to be is the same with everyone, I don’t hide behind my mistakes, I take responsibility for my actions and I’m honest about who I am. However, the more I practice Mindfulness the more aware I have become, that sometimes in an attempt to maintain my happy go lucky state, I sometimes deny myself the experience of my emotions. It can be easy when you begin to notice your changing emotions, to realise how transient they are and how ridiculous they can be, especially when you fall into the trap of believing that your catastrophising or negative self-talk can be true. Seeing through the myths and legends we tell ourselves is important and can allow us to be more present with what is really there, rather than what we imagine to be true. But, does that allow us to be fully present with how we actually feel?
In my attempts to be present, I often talk myself out of my feelings because I know they aren’t real, they come and go like the wind and the rain but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel angry, frustrated or sad sometimes. The real challenge is allowing yourself to be with those less pleasant emotions and acknowledging them to yourself and in my case be ok with the fact that I feel them. For those of you who have worked hard on yourself, who work hard at maintaining the evidence that ‘you’ve got this’ it is also important to allow yourself to be messy and fall apart sometimes. The real challenge for me is knowing how to do this, without falling into the trap of the myth of thinking these feelings are true.
I know I am buying the myth when I am complaining and looking for validation from others, or agreement. You know what this is like, it’s visible in ‘vague bombing’ online, where people post about stuff looking for a reaction from others or hoping they will get a response from their friends that will validate that they have it bad. Feeling and allowing your emotions is not that. For me it’s admitting to myself that I am pissed off or sad and not judging myself for feeling like that because ‘I should know better’. It’s allowing myself to cry, to use some choice expletives quietly to myself and admitting that I am finding things a little hard. I have realised that when I look for validation it’s not that I need another person to tell me that I am right, I need to acknowledge myself and my emotions and not deny them because I am embarrassed that I am human and just as messy and awkward as the next person. When we feel bad we need to simply acknowledge that we are, rather than say we shouldn’t feel like that because we are ungrateful or because other people have it worse or because we are ashamed or feel embarrassed. Simply sit with your feelings, acknowledge them, explore them, tell them to a close friend or loved one if you have to. Try not to tell the story over and over to everyone you meet looking for evidence that you are right to feel like that. Simply feel it, acknowledge that it is there but always remember that just like the sun and the rain, it will soon be gone and replaced by something else. If you are lucky it may be a sunny dry spell that lasts for weeks.
Thanks for reading. If you want more information about my coaching, courses or online programmes then please get in touch.
I hope our paths cross again in future,
Mind Coach, Meditation Instructor, Trainer (and messy human being)