Emotions: Watching and Responding Rather than Reacting

Sometimes, we need to get broken down in order to recognize the need for a rebuild. Sometimes, things have to get just beyond the level we can tolerate in order for us to burst forth with change.I practice respecting my emotions. Especially the darker ones that make me feel down, fearful, isolated or worthless. I recognize that they are just emotions and that I don’t have to respond to them. Rather, I can watch them, talk to them, ask them questions, poke them with words, mindfully escape from them, and ultimately wait to hear what they are teaching me. Sometimes, I see pretty clearly what they are teaching and that brings up new fears. “Really?” I think, “You want me to look at that!?! How uncomfortable!”It is the ego within us that resists change, because change is uncomfortable for the ego. The ego likes to run the show, be the know-it-all. It is the part of us that lives for applause, seeks to be validated from the outside, and greedily shouts “I AM!” When my fears bring up the discomforts of the ego, I can easily get caught in victim mode — that place where I can see where everyone else needs to change except me.

As you can imagine, this isn’t a very powerful position, thus the term “victim.” It creates the illusion of safety; a safe place for the ego. If I am the victim, then I’ve done nothing wrong and don’t need to change. I am the acted upon, the objectified, the passive. While this position stokes the ego, it keeps us stuck in the same pattern.

When we come up against a wall in our life, when we finally get pushed to the corner, when we have been criticized, marginalized, judged, energetically attacked, when we have accommodated the last recognized part of our soul in order to serve someone else — that is obvious signal that something needs to change. That is when we need to look at our situation and courageously ask, “What is my part in this? Where in this sea of discomfort, ridicule and pain have I had a hand in its creation? What part of me is choosing this reality?”

Those are super scary questions. I know. My ego really likes me to be right. The ego says, “If you’re wrong about this then there’s something fundamentally wrong with you!” The ego gives us no space to be wrong. Luckily, we are not our ego. It just belongs to us. We are energetic beings filled with a Divine spark of consciousness. It is this space within us that gives us space for all that is. In this space, it is not that things are right or wrong, just that there are actions and consequences.

I got a little beaten down last week. I shined my light in places it wasn’t welcome, and received a bit of an energetic and emotional beating. My sensitive friends, I’m sure you understand. It feels terrible.

It was difficult for me. I cried. I placed blame. I shouted insults into the air. I retreated into myself, into the bathtub, into a glass of wine, into a chocolate bar. The next morning, I went to a yoga class where we worked on mobilizing the sacroiliac joint — the place in my body where there’s already too much mobility and where I constantly work on providing stability. Throughout the class, I kept thinking, “This is terrible! This hurts! This isn’t what I want or need at all!” Until I suddenly recognized: This is my favorite yoga class. With an instructor I really like. Which I’m practicing with a healthy body. My thoughts are ruining this for me.

I came home and started watching my thoughts, my emotions, and my reactions to them. My analyzer really wanted me to formulate “A Plan.” A plan that would get me out of the situations that caused persistent pain and punishment energy. To get out of that situation at any cost and move on. Which has been the answer for me in the past. But something about that didn’t feel right. And so I kept watching.

I watched, I exchanged readings with a friend, I started a few books I’d ordered to start shifting my perspective in a few key ways. And I realized that as bad as my negative situation was, I had created it and in some ways, I controlled the ways in which the negative energy affected me. Leave now, and I was doomed to repeat this lesson because I needed this lesson. I recognizes that I need to learn how to more fully fine-tune my protection tools, to allow my inner smile to shine through with my inner light, no matter who I’m on contact with.

So I’ve created a shift for myself in the form of a 40 day plan. I have 40 days to consistently and mindfully practice a tool that I’ve had but not fully utilized. Forty days to re-establish Ayurvedic routines that I lost when I let down my protection. Forty days to practice shifting my perspective on abundance and prosperity. Forty days to learn the lessons that I planned for myself to learn so that I don’t have to learn them again when I move on.

Ayurvedic medicine is just one of the sources that claims that it takes 40 days to form a habit, or to reprogram our consciousness for the better. It’s day two for me currently, and I’m excited to keep on it!

It’s so important for us highly sensitive folks, us empaths, us easily anxious or worried, to take extra care of our bodies and minds. To learn to watch our emotions rather than reacting immediately. To nourish our nervous systems with luxurious routines laced with self-love and self-care. To learn to protect our sensitive bodies from the moods, emotions, criticisms and energetic attacks of others. When we fail to do this, we can create a situation where we don’t even trust our own bodies or our own emotions, because they are always betraying us.

But when we practice self-love, self-care, protection, healthy boundaries and responding rather than reacting to our emotions, we create a safe, nourishing place for our sensitive bodies and spirits to ground, to retreat and to enjoy so that we can more readily offer our sensitive gifts to the world.

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