Being mindful of our feelings does not mean we won’t experience bad ones.
It is an inevitable part of human nature that you will have bad feelings. Why? Because that’s part of life.
No matter how much we strive for contentment and joyfulness, we are going to experience negatives. We will get dumped, lose jobs, lose friends and loved ones to arguments, accidents, even death. It won’t matter, we are going to wind up feeling bad.
When we are aware of this, and working to be mindful, we are better equipped to not just cope with this experience, but to move past it.
The only thing you and I can control is our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Everything else is truly beyond our control, no matter how it may appear. Part of this is because the notion of control is partially an illusion, but also control is limited to ourselves.
Things we do can influence other people. But even when they cede control over to another, it will not last. It might not last because the other people realize they do not desire to be controlled…or someone else with another idea or more so-called power takes control.
The only control you have is in regards to yourself, and that is limited to how you think, how you feel, and how you act. Thoughts, feelings and actions are yours alone.
Because you have no control over outside influences, and because we are both social and emotional creatures, things will happen to make us feel bad. Pain comes in many forms, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual. Pain from visible wounds is not greater than pain from those that do not show. It does not feel good, and it makes you feel bad in one form or another.
Being mindful of our feelings allows us to understand them
When things happen and we feel bad, being mindful of our feelings actually opens us up to a deeper understanding of ourselves.
When I am not working on being aware of how I am thinking and feeling, my subconscious will sometimes go places I would not choose. Why? Because my loved ones are having a difficult time, or something happened at work that has put me off, or I am distressed about my dietary habits, or something happened in the world that was super-upsetting, or this or that or…overwhelm happens.
When we hit overwhelm, one of three things tends to happen:
· We attempt to focus on only one thing, and regain control over where we are. This is the most ideal, because it lets us reclaim control.
· You attempt to focus on more than one thing, and become frustrated because you are not getting out of overwhelm. This is the most common, I believe, because we fear losing sight of something important, so we try to maintain it all. Ironically, this tends to lessen our focus a lot, and further tends to cause us to be more scattered and less mindful. Overwhelm remains, and our subconscious frequently winds up driving the bus.
· We lose focus on everything, and seek distractions. This is where our subconscious does most of the driving, and we let go of our mindfulness and get lost in distractions. This is where, I think, people become addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, and so-forth. Conscious is neglected because it feels as if it is too painful to give it mindfulness.
When we are aware of things becoming overwhelming, we become able to do more to cope with them. In choosing to be mindful of our feelings, we can know them better.
Being mindful of our thoughts and feelings is the point of mindfulness
When we talk about mindfulness, whether from a hippy-crunchy new-age or hooky-spooky abstract or psychological perspective, we are talking about our ideas and emotions. How can I make that statement? Because the only part of the self over which being mindful yields any results is in being mindful of what and how you think, and what and how you feel.
When we are aware of our thoughts and feelings, we are aware of ourselves. When we experience bad feelings, being aware of them allows us to choose if we let them linger, or work on letting them pass through.
We cannot be entirely without bad feelings. That’s just a part of being human. But we do get to choose if we allow feeling bad to dominate us, or if we release it and move on. How long we feel bad is entirely up to us.
As an aside, it also matters if you take responsibility for feeling bad, or if you blame it on someone or something else. Why? Because blame is dissociative, and the total opposite of mindfulness. It not only denies you control, but it also denies you. Blame is pointless, maybe doubly so when it comes to how we think and feel.
Being mindful of our thoughts and feelings allows us to know ourselves. I believe that when we better know ourselves, we can do more to be content, abundant, and empowered. Changing the world begins with you and me, and mindfulness is a part of that.
Are you mindful of your thoughts and feeling, be they good or bad?