I used to get frustrated when I couldn't in a "blink of an eye" go from feeling crappy to feeling happy. I mean, according to my dad, happiness was just a switch in my head that I didn't have to reach for via my "anal sphincter" or "anal orifice".
Sorry, I know that's gross. Regardless, his well-meaning message has always been that of choice. Choosing to be happy.
Sure, I know that there's always a choice. I coach around choices every day. I understand just how powerful being in choice is, but what I didn't understand was how my choice to go from crappy to happy didn't work.
I chose to look at the bright side. I chose an attitude of gratitude. I chose to look for the silver lining. And while all those exercises in choice were (and are) helpful, they didn’t help me slide up the emotional scale from crappy to happy.
Does any of this sound remotely familiar? If so, please read on.
If not... if you're one of those folks who's found a cool way to zip up that emotional scale, I'm super excited for you! Of course, you're welcome to read on but I do hope you'll send me a message letting me know your secret. (I love collecting helpful secrets.)
CLIMBING THE EMOTIONAL SCALE
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross once wrote, “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety, and guilt. It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love, and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
That got me thinking. If there are only two emotions love and fear then whatever makes us feel crappy has to be anchored in some sort of fear. Not that I didn't believe the wonderful doctor (may she rest in peace), but I had to give her theory a whirl.
I waited for the feeling of crappy to show up to the party. When it did I invited it in for a metaphoric drink and chat.
I first listened for any narrative it might be telling, which required being quiet and just paying attention to my thoughts.
No wonder I was feeling crappy, because the narrative was one of "not enough".
I then started asking questions, because well, that's what I do.
"What do I fear most about "not enough"? The answer; being alone, being seen as needy, and struggling.
"Anything else?" Nope!
Then I asked myself my magical question, "What would I see or feel if I didn't see or feel "not enough"? The answer; a whole lot. I'd see the truth...that I'm surrounded by a whole host of people who mean a lot to me. I'm not a needy person, I'm resourceful and if I can't figure something out, I can always ask for help. And asking for help doesn't make me needy.
I'd also see the narrative of "not enough" as a lie. A BALD-FACED lie with no proof, whatsoever, to back up its "not enough" claims.
SHIFTING THE ENERGY
Exposing the narrative behind the crappy feeling helped to shift my energy. While I didn't go from crappy to happy, I did go from crappy to peaceful. And since peace is associated with love, I was happy with that!
I get that we sometimes don't have time to whip out the ol' journal and begin questioning the crappy feelings. So, if you find yourself pinched for time when Crappy shows its face, here are some other tricks to try.
2.) Try shifting your focus onto something lighter in energy, i.e. a funny meme, phoning a funny friend, an inspiring quote.
3.) Breathe. Try taking a breath in to a four-count, hold that breath to a 7 count, release the breath to an 8 count. Do this breathing technique 4 times. (This technique was made famous by Dr. Andrew Weil.)
And as always, I'm here and I'm listening!
Here's to giving ourselves a little grace when it comes to going from crappy to happy. Until next time, I'm sending you lots of fear-fighting love.