There is a common misconception out there about feelings, therefore what I’m about to say may come as a shock to you, but feelings are not facts.
What exactly does this mean?
I remember the first time I heard someone say this and I was outraged at such a statement. I felt so much justification and self-righteousness in the attachment I had to my feelings. Hearing someone say that my feelings are not facts felt invalidating and as though I was unseen.
I thought I was being told that my feelings weren’t real and that I shouldn’t be having them. But that isn’t what was being said at all. I was missing out on something really important and incredibly freeing because of my investment in feeling whatever it was I was feeling (probably some form of self-pity).
Here’s the deal: Feelings are fleeting. They come and go. They move through us; taking us up in joy and elation, and crashing us down in fear and loneliness. Facts are constant. They are unchanging. When we find exceptions to the facts, they lose their credibility, right?
This is a difficult concept to grasp because in the moment things feel SO real, both pleasant and unpleasant. And for that moment they are real, however, they are not facts. They are not going to last forever. Time will pass, maybe seconds, maybe weeks, but the feelings will pass too, they ALWAYS do.
Remember, your feelings are not the problem, it’s what we do with them that are problematic. Often times we allow our feelings to run the show; acting on impulse to either avoid or gratify whatever we are feeling in the moment. This can result in some pretty unhealthy behaviors with undesirable consequences. How many times have you shouted something you later regretted because in the moment you were feeling angry? Or lost all your money in Vegas because you werefeeling lucky? Or ate the entire tub of ice cream because you were feeling sad?
In the moment, those feelings were very real…but they weren’t necessarily facts. And chances are, if we can find the space to wait them out, those feelings aren’t going to last.
Can you consider giving yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling without having to run away from it or indulge in it. Can you begin to become an observer to yourself and your feelings, simply noticing how the feelings come and go through us, without having to act on them.
I have found it helpful to call out whatever I’m feeling, with a question of curiosity (NOT judgement!): “Hmmm? I’m feeling really hurt or rejected right now.” And then remind myself that feelings are not facts; just because I’m feeling rejected doesn’t mean I’m actually unwanted, unloved, alone, or any other feeling that tags along with rejection. As long as I remain an observer to this process, rather than acting on this feeling, I will be okay; the feeling will pass and soon I will be experiencing the love and abundance in my life (knowing that these feelings aren’t going to last forever either!)
Finding this space in relationship to your feelings allows you to make more centered and grounded decisions. This is not an easy practice. Have patience with yourself, know that you will likely act on impulsive feelings even when you try so hard not to. With everything in life it is about progress, not perfection. Be honest with yourself, with your intentions and motivations but most importantly, be kind.
I love hearing from you, so if you feel so brave as to leave a comment, please do! I’d love to hear the ways you have found to practice finding space as you relate to your feelings. What works, what hasn’t worked? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.