Do you know what feeling good means to you? Are you aware when things are working out for you?
Many of us live our life over-thinking about the things we "should" be doing, the things we did wrong, or that thing that person said that hurt our feelings instead of remembering all the small things that were amazing during the day.
Think about how many insults you heard growing up. All the "labels" you got from others telling you who you were...I'm going to bet you can probably remember 12,987 of those terrible words, or maybe just 10...but see how easy it is to recall those gross feelings? I bet you remember who said it, when they said it, where you were when you heard it right?
Now do the same thing, but instead think about how many compliments you heard growing up. All those praises of positivity that you got from others telling you they saw your gifts and strengths. All the compliments you received...I'm going to go out on a limb and say you can recall like 3 from childhood or middle school.
Why is this? Why does our brain remember the bad more than the good?
When there is an emotional charge with a thought, there is power. There is a force, there is magic, there is an impact. Good and bad.
Typically the "negative" emotions resonate through our entire body at a debilitating frequency. Often bringing tears, a stomach ache, rage, clenched jaw and tons of physical tension. Our body feels the thought and makes it mean something. In this case, every time we have a negative thought, our body re-lives the feelings of when that same thought happened the very first time.
For example: If in elementary (primary) school you did something that made you stand out from the crowd for the first time, and you were told you were weird. Possibly this was the first time in your life you felt confused, angry or sad and made it mean like you didn't belong because you were different. Now, imagine as an adult someone tells you you're weird for liking Oreo cookies. (I think Oreo's are delicious, by the way!) What was a seemingly silly jab lead you on a tailspin. Immediately you feel your stomach twist and turn, you want to shout back at that person " I AM NOT WEIRD!" and yet you swallow it down, think about it, dwell on it and it eats you up inside. Once again proving to yourself you are an outsider.
I'm here to remind you that this is a normal response to life. This is a normal thought process. It's typical that we remember the insult more than the compliment because our mind usually gives us permission to feel bad more often than we give ourselves permission to feel good. Somewhere along the line, as we got old, we thought we needed to ear the right to feel good, we needed to proove our feeling good or somehow think we deserve to feel it. Often that deservability comes from this idea that we cannot feel good unless we suffer. Except most of us keep putting ourselves through struggle and sabotage instead of remembering to bounce back into the good.
So here is the challenge, to feel the good feelings as fully as much and as deeply you feel the bad feelings. I mean REALLY REALLY feel the good.
How do you this? I've laid out a few simple steps that can help you start to practice allowing yourself to feel good.
1) Wake up in the morning and decide how you want to feel that day.
This is the easily the most empowering step. You pick! You're in charge of you and how you want to feel. Everything is a choice that you are capable of making. Go as big or as small as you want with your emotions. Choose 1-3 feelings that feel expansive and uplifting. Pick the same emotion for one month or change it daily, just make this the first question you ask yourself in the morning. "How do I want to feel today?"
When you realize that your mood depends on no one but yourself, this is POWER. This is emotional freedom.
When you know how you want to feel, let this be your guide Let your emotion be the compass in all of your decision making throughout your day. If you woke up and said you wanted to feel calm then, make choices that will always lead you back to calm.
2) Notice the small things going well for you right from the very start of your day.
"Wow, I had such a great sleep, my sheets are so comfy...Oh look at that, I think I'll wear my favourite socks today because they're so fun and cozy! What what do you know, I'm having an awesome hair day and that makes me feel sexy and radiant! All green lights on my way to work, how lucky am I? And, I got to work with enough time to grab my favourite tea, catch up with my coworker and treat myself to a bagel! I'm so grateful for this smooth sailing morning. Wow, today is getting off to a great start, Today is going to be such a good day. Today IS A GOOD DAY. Today is a good day. Today is a good day."
The small things have a ripple effect. When we notice the good, putting the emphasis on what is going right, the not-so-good stuff just doesn't matter as much anymore.
What you put your attention on is what you attract more of in your life.
3) Begin and/or end your day with gratitude.
After your day of noticing how great you felt, be grateful for your good day. FEEL grateful for all those seemingly small things that contributed to your feeling amazing.
I suggest starting your day with 3 things you are grateful for and ending your day with the same. Gratitude is the gateway to love. Gratitude creates a thankful abundant heart and with a thankful heart, you automatically feel good.
I always recommend writing them down, so that you can go back and reference them on a day where you may get off on the wrong side of the bed.
4) Feel it all, whenever and whatever comes up.
Today, maybe you don't feel so great. Perhaps something happened that derailed your feel-good morning. That is OK. That is normal. The key is to feel the emotion and feel it fully.
Maybe your boss assigned you extra work, and the assignment of something to do at the end of your day made you feel angry and aggravated. Now ,I'm going to invite you to do something that most of us do not do. Allow yourself to feel angry and agitated. Go into the bathroom and GRRRRRR into the mirror. Think all the angry thoughts. Go there and feel it fully. Set your timer and feel it fully for 90 seconds.
In the allowing we actually are learning to honour ourselves, release and accept what is.
A little known fact, a feeling only lasts 90 seconds. Let that fact sink in.
"Pema Chödrön explained that if you allow an emotion to exist for 90 seconds without judging, it will disappear. Chödrön describes this feeling as “the hook” as our thoughts hook, line and sinks us. "
How I interpret that is; feel whatever you need to feel with an open mind and heart. No opinion, no thoughts or ideas, no judgement. Then,
just as easily as you shifted into allowing that feeling, you can shift out. Did you want to feel calm that day? Perhaps after the release of anger you put on some calming meditation music while you power through the rest of your day.
5) The awareness of what makes you feel good is your self-care toolkit.
As you note all the amazing things that are going well for you, track what things actually invite happiness or give you energy. This awareness gives you clues into what you can do as your self-care and self-love practices. On those lethargic days, in those moments of grief, in the thick of your busy schedule, remember that you now know things that make you feel good. Do them. Make time for these activities. Prioritize yourself, even if it's for 10min a day. You will feel good that you're doing something for you.
Like everything, this will take practice. It will require a conscious daily effort. To reprogram your mind to think of the good stuff just as much and hopefully MORE than the not-so-good stuff you are breaking a habit; an addiction to a way you've always been, up until now.
You are in charge of how you want to feel. And you have the right to feel GOOD.
As always, if you have any questions or inquiries about this post (or any other post of mine) feel free to send me an email or comment. If you're struggling with this concept or anything in your life at all right now, you don't have to go it alone. I am available for sessions online worldwide. Contact me for a free 20 min conversation to see if we can work together to help you live out your best life.
Lots of love,