When Humans Feel

Girl sitting in dandelion fieldThere is little that is tenderer, or more fragile than our feelings.  At times we are overcome by them, and at other times we crave them.  (Imagine grief imagine love.)   We celebrate the “positive” ones and avoid, ignore, push-away the so-called “negative” ones.  We diminish ourselves when the negative ones dare to inhabit us. But, surprisingly, we know so little about our feelings; even less on how to handle them.

We use our minds to think our way through a problem in order to solve it. So it seems natural that we try to use our minds to solve the problem of negative feelingsby thinking our way through it.  We do this with the uncontested belief that: if I can just figure out why I’m feeling this way, it will go away…  Really?  Or: if I don’t pay it any attention, belittle it, stuff it in a corner and turn my back real quick, I can ride into the sunset on a cloud of positive thinking!  How often have you turned your back on negative feelings and they evaporated from your being ? just like that?  The feelings that we diminish, stuff, or otherwise cover-up, have this sticky quality to them. They bounce back, sometimes sneaking-up on us.  When this happens it can leave us feeling perplexed — wondering: why am I feeling this way?

So, what can we do with feelings?  How do we deal with this sticky business of rebounding emotions?  If avoiding isn’t fully satisfactory, and you’ve analyzed it raw, and still no satisfaction, what else can there be?

Just feel it —emphasis on the word just, it is key here. Feel your feelings without judgment, thoughts or analysis.  In other words, just be with it. Yes, this is a form of “mindfulness meditation” (more on mindfulness at a later date).

Emotions aren’t good, bad or negative. They are natural reactions to triggers in our lives.  They crop-up because we are human, and as humans we feel  just as we breathe, eat and move. If you hold an ice cube in your hand, and your hand feels the sting from the frost, is the pain in your hand negative, bad or wrong somehow?  No. It’s simply a message to your hand that you are holding something that hurts….a warning system. NOTE: Prolonged holding of ice cube is really painful and portends possible damage to hand.  We get that, without conscious thought or judgment, because that pathway is well established and healthy. 

What we don’t know makes us fearful. So that, when we ignore those uncomfortable feelings, we create an aura of fear about them. Ultimately, by ignoring those uncomfortable feelings (that we also fear), we are ignoring a part of ourselves. As an alternative, I propose that you consider taking that part back — that part of yourself. Acknowledge it.  Accept it. Just be with it. Fear crumbles when it’s brought into the light.  Suddenly, you don’t have to be afraid of your own feelings. 

How does that feel?

Letting Go

young female having fun on flowery meadowLet go of fear.
Let go of guilt.
Let go of shame.
Let go of … Maybe anger’s your thing?
Let go of … Maybe it’s envy?
Whatever it is … Let go of it.

Is it gone yet?

I know, and agree, that the powerful feelings of love, compassion and forgiveness, etc., are truly desirable, feel-good, high vibration, spiritual-minded emotions. However, is it realistic, feasible or even human to feel only the “lofty” feelings and either never feel those low-vibration emotions, or to simply let them go ? (Where do they go anyway?) Instead, I propose that a little bit of humanity be injected into the notion of letting go.

Consider how the following two questions highlight differing perspectives on humanity and spirituality.
How do I best live my humanity? vs How do I best live my spirituality?
From which perspective or belief do you live your life?

I recently read a poem that highlights these differences… I’m paraphrasing (not quoting because I don’t recall the author’s name):  Why are we trying to be perfect spiritual beings on earth? What we are really here to do is to perfect our humanity. To that I would add that we are spiritual beings living to perfect our humanity.

So maybe it’s time to feel human again.

If human feelings such as guilt, anger, envy, and so on, are to be banished (as we are often encouraged to do) but we cannot, how does that leave us feeling? … Still guilty, angry, envious, but also less worthy because we cannot let it go.

If you can truly let go, no matter the situation, I honour that in you (and if you wish to share how you do it, please do!). But if you feel discouraged because you “ought” to let go, but can’t, then listen-up.

Just feel the feelings! But do it mindfully, without judgment, and without engaging the inner-critic. Befriend how it feels in an inquiring way. The part you can banish are your thoughts (yes – even you can learn to quiet your thoughts) – the part you control! Your feelings come from a more involuntary place. They are trying to give you a message. Listen to their wisdom. Be open to what unfolds and feel the relief.

So—how do we perfect our humanity? By striving for personal growth. Your emotions provide excellent clues on how to get there. Listen to them.

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Happiness is…

The Secret to Happiness is……that there is no secret.
Sorry to disappoint.  But wait, there is more.

Recently, on NPR’s TED Radio Hour, the show entitled “Simply Happy”: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/267185371/simply-happy  delved into the matter of happiness. Guy Raz, host of the show, begins with the question what is: “the one thing we can pretty much all agree we want…  happiness”.

Ultimately and primordially we want to love and be happy, and just like most answers to age-old questions, the key is simple, we know it to be true, but we don’t do enough of it. How-to experience happiness actually involves simple, deliberate effort.

The show pulls together various TED-talkers on the subject of happiness.  Here is, briefly, what they have to say:

  • A research project that measured happiness determined an equation for happiness:

More Happiness = Less mind wandering (i.e. being in the moment)*

  • Stop racing through life, stop living the fast life instead of the good life, this makes you happier and more productive….was another conclusion
  • Simplicity and happiness…simply put, too much stuff is making us less happy…edit your life so you can be aware of what really matters in life…was another deduction
  • Also, we synthesize happiness…it’s not something we find… we can choose to experience it…tiny experiences of being really present, accumulated over months, makes us happy
  • And last, being grateful makes us happy. How best to do that you ask?  The method is simple: Stop, Look & Go…avail yourself of the moment.

* www.TackYourHappiness.org

They each have a unique perspective on the subject of happiness, but there is one common thread. Mindfulness. Being more mindful makes us happier. Being more mindful makes us more aware of what really matters to us.  Doing more of what really matters will make you a happier person. Simple. Do more of it. Do it mindfully.

So, maybe there is a secret to happiness…it’s just not what you thought.

Want to know more about mindfulness?  Drop me a line: Tina@WayBeyondTalk.com

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End Stigma

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Contact Me

Tina Romano Tina@WayBeyondTalk.com 514.909.6841