Practicing mindful self compassion (what to do when big feeling show up)
Driving home saturday from a rabbit show in VA I had some big feelings emerge. Randomly. Unexpectedly. I was pleased with how I moved through it and would like to share it with you here. As an example of how to support yourself and move through strong emotions.
I was driving along, feeling good and thinking how truly and deeply content I am in my life. I was listing off all the things that are SO good – my son, my animals and life on the farm, my work, my various relationships….
Then I had a sudden feeling of guilt and shame. How can you be so happy when there are hurting people out there? How can you be happy when there is social injustice? Maybe you should be doing more. Maybe you are not doing enough….
And my happiness was gone. But I decided to examine these “automatic” negative thoughts that popped up. Explore them. Question them.
I asked myself, what do I do for others? I thought about my work as a therapist and how INCREDIBLY important I truly am to SO many. I know how vital MY therapists/coaches/healers are to me. They have literally saved my life and sanity. And I felt the value and goodness of what I give to others.
I remembered how I wanted to “change the world” as a young person. I wanted to make a big difference. I affirmed to myself that I AM changing the world……every day! Person by person and family by family. I felt the impact I am having on those around me. And I cried, sobbed actually, to really feel and allow myself to feel the good I do, the difference I make for others.
I did for myself in that moment what I do for my clients (and friends at times). I helped myself see the whole picture. I did not let myself remain in a sad/guilt state for no good reason! Now, there is nothing wrong with sad feelings. Sometimes we do need to just sit with them. But in this case my sad feelings were truly random and thus needed some exploration.
This sense of “not doing enough/not being enough” is OLD stuff for me. And probably agendas of others I took in/took on. I personally NEED to question those feelings when they show up (which is not so much anymore!)
I continued my drive home, proud of the progress I have made in self compassion and kindly supporting myself thru intense emotional states. I learned to do this. You can too!