I’ve been sharing a lot lately about the emotional scale because I want to normalize how we feel. My mantra has been, “You feel it, it matters, period.” If we don’t claim it, it will claim us because our emotions inform our decisions.
As you know, and have probably experienced, 2020 has been a rollercoaster. It has impacted us emotionally, mentally, physically, attitudinally, even spiritually for some of you. This year has made us look at every area of our lives with a magnifying glass. And although we can’t change the external experience of what is happening, we can change our experience of the experience.
What I mean by that is after 7+ months; you are probably ready to get off the emotional rollercoaster. The external experience is everything that has happened, and is happening governmentally, globally, and socially – everything outside of your control. While there are so many things that are making us feel so out of control, frustrated, sad, and perhaps even hopeless, there are ways we can experience the experience differently.
First, it is okay to feel whatever you feel. It is okay to feel sad, frustrated and hopeless. It is also okay to feel joy, happiness and gratitude.
Secondly, it is within your power to experience the experience differently while not ignoring what is happening around the world. Here are a few things I do that I hope are useful to you as well.
1. Feel what you feel. Claim it, so it doesn’t claim you. “This is how I’m currently feeling?” Name it and claim it. You don’t need a big story, or to dredge up the past, or even need to know why you are feeling a certain way. This is just you simply being a human without guilting, shaming or judging yourself for how you feel. This is not allowing yourself to become a pressure cooker waiting to explode because you think you should be poised and perfect in every situation. The moment you claim it, you take its power away because guilt, shame and self-judgment only takes you further down. You are saying, “This experience isn’t normal, but my feelings are.” When we are in unchartered waters, like 2020, of course we are going to feel all the feels. Acknowledging this changes your experience of the experience.
2. Talk it out with like-minded friends and/or family. You are not alone. Create your own support group so you can all share with one another. Do so with the intention that everyone gets to share their experience, and their feelings in a safe place without judgment, but without also needing to “solve” each other’s problems. Just let each other feel without saying, “oh, you don’t have anything to be sad about.” You feel sad, period! I will simply say, “I don’t need advice, I just need to get it all out.” And when I want advice, I ask for it. We have set this intention with each other, so it makes it easier to ask for and receive what we need. A support group like this is so incredibly powerful because the moment you feel safe to share, you feel instantly at ease. This not only allows you to experience the experience differently, but getting support and reassurance is motionally and mentally freeing.
3. When you don’t want to talk it out, write it out. Get all the frustration and feelings out on the page. Don’t worry about using bad language, or spelling, or it even making sense. Just get it out! This morning I wrote about being annoyed with my husband. He didn’t do anything wrong, but I was annoyed and irritable. So I wrote it all out and ended with a couple of self-reflection questions: Where am I being annoying? Who do I need to be? I actually became annoyed by the questions themselves, but I know the importance of taking responsibility for my part. And it turns out, I’m not perfect (god that sucks!), and if my husband had a journal, I could think of a few things he would be writing. This helped me to not only experience the experience differently, but to also see it from his perspective and avoided an unnecessary argument.
4. Remind yourself daily, even multiple times a day of what you have to be grateful for without using it to bypass your feelings. You can be sad and grateful. You can be frustrated and grateful. You can be irritated at your family and be grateful. “I’m so grateful we are getting to spend all this time together, and I love you so much, and I need time to myself so we don’t drive each other nuts.” “I’m so grateful that I have a job and a steady pay cheque, and I’m so incredibly frustrated with the way we have to currently work and I’m angry by the lack of clarity and guidance.” It doesn’t have to be one or the other and choosing both allows you to experience the experience differently. It isn’t I love you but, it is I love you and. It isn’t I am grateful for this pay but, it is I’m grateful and. It is normal to feel both.
5. Claim how you would prefer to feel. “It is okay for me to be feeling this way, but I don’t want to take up permanent residence here, I would prefer to feel this way.” Once you do that, you can choose what micro steps you can take throughout the day to move up the emotional scale. Is your next decision, action, reaction, attitude, or thought going to move you up the scale, or down? You might not get there right away, but you will feel better simply by knowing that you get to choose.
The moment you normalize your very vast emotional scale is when you will experience emotional and mental freedom AND feel all the normal feelings you need to feel to experience the experiences you are going to experience.
If you need more clarity and want to take the “work” deeper, let’s take the share above to our journals:
How am I feeling today?
If it isn’t how you want to feel, ask yourself:
Do I need any support? If yes, what, or whom can help?
How do I want to feel?
What can I do right now that will help me feel the way I want to feel?