Being With Our Emotions

Being With Our Emotions

People sometimes say, ‘Don’t just sit there, do something.’ But we have to reverse that statement to say, ‘Don’t just do something, sit there.’”  Thich Nhat Hanh


The introduction and now prevalence of the concept of mindfulness into mainstream society (not just up on mountain tops with monks and spiritual gurus) has brought with it the action of {just} ‘sitting’.  It usually refers to sitting in meditation.

But let’s take ‘sitting’ a step further to the idea of ‘being’, as opposed to doing.  We know we’re all about doing.  And the more we do the seemingly better off we are.  We’re productive, accomplished and busy with the business of life.  But we’re losing something along the way.  We’re losing our way towards that rich, meaningful and engaged life.

Mindfulness is here to help bring us back a wee bit and center us from the over-shoot and over-emphasis towards all that doing.  It’s focus is on being with life, taking it in, feeling it, observing it.

More specifically I’m looking here at emotions and how mindfulness, or being with our feelings, plays out.

We’re all naturally quick to want to rid ourselves of any negative emotions.  Nobody wants to feel bad –  be it fearful, worried, anxious, angry, frustrated, sad, jealous and the whole gamut of disturbing feelings.  We want to run from them as fast as possible by numbing, distracting, negating, fixing.

What would happen if we just sat with those uncomfortable feelings for a while?  What if we became aware of them and stayed with them, observing and feeling, before we tried to change and purge them from our being?  Can we notice and connect the physical sensations they cause?  Can we feel where the emotion sits or rises within us?   At the risk of sounding corny (yet again), can we befriend our troublesome emotions?

If we’re with a friend who’s feeling crummy about something, we’d hopefully show understanding and compassion.  Can we be a friend to ourselves and give ourselves some TLC for those icky feelings and permit ourselves to feel badly?

The other day, someone told me he was having someone else do a program that I had been doing for a couple of years.  In other words, I was being bumped out of something.  I got off the phone a bit puzzled which then turned into my feeling hurt and slighted, meaning my ego was a bit wounded. (poor baby)  I sat with this a few minutes.  I talked to myself, and not knowing the real reason, decided not to personalize it since I am still doing other things for this person.  And I have lots of other things going on to feel good about.  I then decided to email the new person and send her my best wishes, encouraging her that she will do a great job at it.  (And knowing her as I do, she will.  I must say that act of reaching out to her made me feel great.

We need to be able to tolerate our own disturbing feelings.  The more we fight against them, the more they show up to taunt us.  But accepting them helps them soften and helps us respond from a better and bigger place.

We won’t react from that automatic, knee-jerk reflexive pattern.  We will manage our feelings better when we give ourselves the chance to sit with them awhile.  And then we can choose how to respond.  Since emotions are a hugely vital part of our make-up and are a driving force in our actions, it behooves us to become more aware of them and yes, become friends with them – the good, the bad and the ugly.  They won’t kill us.  We will only gain more control over them.  And that is huge.


Thanks for stopping by.  Always interested in hearing your thoughts, so share in the comment section.  

2 thoughts on “Being With Our Emotions

  1. Sarah says:

    What a lovely post. Wow, I will benefit from this right now!!! Thank you! I have had some tell me lately, “you have to stop grieving”, “stop feeling sad” … I am not wallowing in self pity, just sad about the loss of a few friends and family members. Life is great for the most part … and I miss them. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      As my mentor/teacher likes to say, “permission to be human.” We must give ourselves the permission to feel. It is in the going through the rough and painful feelings that we come through them. You can hold joy and pain together – miss them And feel that life is great. The key is in the AND.
      Thank you for sharing here. I wish you the best.

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