Separating feelings from yourself – 8 ways to help

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

Carl Jung

Life has it’s ups and downs, it cannot be all rainbows and happy times, sad times are natural. There are even times when the two overlap, when a day is made up of a multitude of feelings.

Days when I wake up in an amazing mood, but somewhere along the way, something happens and derails it. It could be a throwaway comment from somebody that makes me feel inferior, hearing someone telling a story about something amazing they have done/are going to do that makes me feel jealous. Hearing tales of other people’s successes that make me feel less than enough.

There was a time when I’d allow that to derail me completely. I’d sit and dwell on the feelings that arose. It would be all I could think about for hours, days even. I’d be defined by those feelings, and the more energy I gave to them, the more they grew and intensified, and the worse I felt.

I still have days when something will throw me and make me feel. But I stopped letting those feelings define me, stopped letting them be important. In letting go of the energy I used to give them, I took away their power.

I learned they are JUST feelings.

Yes, it’s how I feel right in that moment, but it isn’t who I am. It isn’t how I will feel in ten minutes, an hour, a day, a week. It’s just a fleeting feeling. And just because I feel it DOESN’T mean that it is true.

I feel inferior – but I am not.

I feel insignificant – but I am not.

I feel less than enough – but I am not.

It’s such a game changer when you learn to separate yourself from your feelings. TO be able to recognise them as just a feeling, to identify why you feel that way, and to be able to say to yourself “OK, I feel xyz, that’s not great, but it isn’t who I am and it will pass” and carry on with your day.

Having a toolbox of ways to cope with your feelings is an essential. Things you can do when you don’t feel so good, that will make you feel happier, smilier,

If you’re feeling sad, or small, or lonely, or scared – don’t live in those feelings. There is nothing wrong with feeling the feelings as they arise BUT don’t dwell in them.

Now when feelings come, I say hi, I listen to what they have to tell me, I give them what they need, and I let them go. Here are eight things that help me when I find myself caught in my feelings;

  • Talk to a friend – reaching out is a big one for me. Before, if I felt low, I’d keep to myself, but I’ve found that chatting with a friend helps. Letting someone know I feel a bit rubbish, even if we don’t talk about it but just have a chatter about insignificant things helps take the weight of my shoulders.
  • Get outside – fresh air is a cure all! Really. Go for a walk, or a bike ride, or a run, or even just sit on a bench! Breathe in deep, feel the air blowing the cobwebs away, the sun warming your skin, listen to the sounds of the world around you.
  • Remember ‘this too shall pass’ – it will, feelings are fleeting if you let them, don’t anchor them down, and they will move along.
  • Hug – a child, your Mum, a friend, a stranger, your fur baby, yourself…
  • Hot bath – if I’m feeling bad about myself, I run a bath, empty a cup of epsom salts in, add some essential oils, jump in and stay there until I’m wrinkled like a prune.
  • Have a good cry – let it out. If you’re feeling sad, let the tears flow. Choose a weepy movie if you like, and let the emotions out.
  • Journal – write how you feel, why you feel that, why it isn’t true, and what is true
  • Move your body – when I’m feeling down, I don’t wnat to do anything BUT moving my body always makes me feel better. Be it going for a walk or doing some yoga, exercise really is the best therapy.

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