I’ve recently been reminded of how wide ranging our emotional capacity can be at times.
How in one moment we can feel light hearted and happy…
...and the next moment, our emotions quickly plunge into something that feels more like discomfort or sadness.
I was riding this emotional wave just a few days ago and as I felt my heart tumble down into that tiresome dejection, I could feel my patience with the emotion quickly running out.
My mind began to sift through the internal archive for my go-to self care items.
What could help me get out of this funk?
I began to work my way down the list, checking off item after item.
I sat outside in the sun, soaking up vital vitamin D rays.
I practiced movement through yoga.
I sat quietly in meditation for a few minutes.
But it didn’t matter what I tried, nothing was working…
...regardless of what I did, that feeling stayed, weighing heavily on my heart.
I sat down, contemplating what my next move would be, when I realized that my attempts weren’t working because I was using them incorrectly.
I was trying to use self care as a way to avoid or escape the feelings that I was experiencing, because they were uncomfortable…
...which is never the answer.
Self care should be a practice that’s purpose is to fill us up.
It should be an instrument used to bolster our self-worth and our confidence as we move about in the world.
It should be a practice, like tools we use every day to help build us up and keep us strong, so that when we inevitably do move through feelings of sadness or dejection, we have the strength to face them head on.
So, for the remainder of that day, I didn’t try to run away from my feelings.
Instead, I asked myself what I needed in that moment to feel supported as I moved through that emotional wave.
For me, on that particular day, the answer was in physical comfort, so I put on the coziest clothes that I own, made a cup of soothing tea and went about my day.
When those waves of sadness flooded my heart, I didn’t turn away from them.
I let them come.
I stopped whatever I was doing for a few moments and I simply allowed myself to fully feel that wave as it hit...
...asking myself in that moment, “what is the message that my emotions are delivering to me right now?”
As I contemplated this question, I also felt that wave as it receded back to a more neutral place.
I noticed that just like the waves of the ocean, the intensity of my emotions would peak and then recede.
This cycle repeating itself again and again, for the remainder of the day.
But by the next morning, clarity dawned with the sun and the cloud of heavy sadness had lifted.
This experience was the perfect reminder for me that our bodies are the greatest communication tools that we have.
So, the next time you find yourself on a similar emotional wave…
...bring awareness to how you’re responding to it.
Are you trying to avoid or outrun the emotion, like I was?
Or are you allowing the emotion to fully present itself, feeling into all parts of it?
As you do feel into it, try asking yourself: “What is this trying to teach me?”
Look for the messages of truth that do lay somewhere within that space.