This is a continuation of my last post about being aware of your feelings, as described in: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson.
We’ve already covered Anger and Joy, the next feeling is:
The important element that Rick Carson brings up is that most people confuse sadness with depression, which are actually quite different. He describes the difference as follows:
Sadness is a natural response to certain stimuli. It often results in tears and full breathing. It can be a powerful, rich, enlivening experience. Depression, on the other hand, is often the result of blocking sadness, or of blocking anger. … When we are depressed, we have a sense of being deadened, blocked. When we experience our sadness we may not feel on top of the world, but we will feel very much alive and may even feel a sense of well-being.
He goes on to say that we have to experience our emotions fully in order to move through and past them.
If you are feeling “stuck” in your life, it may be partially because there is some unresolved feeling that you need to deal with and get past.
So once you can actually identify your sadness (not depression) you can simply notice it and your habitual reaction to it.
Then you are at the place of choice and can decide if you want to keep those reactions or not. I’ll remind you (because it is important and difficult to do) not to bring any judgments into this decision.
As a final note on sadness: If someone you love dies (including a loved pet) then mourn them. Give yourself time and space to feel everything you need to feel. It may not be an easy time, but fully experiencing will help to get you moving on with your life.
Just as some suppress Anger or Joy or Sadness, this is another area that is often suppressed.
This is a really powerful place for gremlins to play, trying to convince us of any number of things. That arousal is unwholesome, or that it must be acted upon. Rick talks about a woman he worked with who had the responses of “sex is nasty and sinful” and “you should save it for the one you love”. But does this really make any sense? Sure, you could save it for the one you love, but why would you want to share anything nasty and sinful with them?
You can see how some people get really tangled and confused by their gremlins around this, and don’t want to go anywhere near it.
So the next time you feel aroused, try simply noticing what your reaction is to it. Take a look at that reaction and ask yourself whether you want to keep it or not.
Maybe this way you can find some clarity in this area.
Fear is nothing to be afraid of. It is a signal that there is a present or imminent danger OR (and really important to understand) that you are in the “world of mind” imagining that there is.
If you are in a jungle and a Tiger is stalking you, by all means, be afraid (and get yourself out of there). BUT if your boss at work keeps walking past your cubicle and you start to fear that something is wrong and you are going to be fired – this is ALL IN YOUR MIND. The only fact you have is that your boss is walking past your cubicle. This could mean any number of things including – she’s busy and has lots of meetings around you that day.
There are lots of possible reactions to fear, pounding heart, quick breath, adrenaline, wanting to run away, hide, fight back (fight or flight response).
What you need to do (if this is not a true imminent life-threatening fear like a charging rhino) is take a moment to … simply notice what is going on.
Separate what you know with absolute certainty (fact) with what you are imagining. Carson gives a good exercise for doing this in the book.
Once you’ve done that you can look at your response and again ask yourself whether this type of response is something you want to keep or not.
So, there you go, some things to think about around your feelings and building awareness around them.
Because the more you do this, the more you will be sifting through all the crap that your gremlins have piled onto you and the easier it will be to start seeing the diamond that is your true self.