On my walk today, I found myself trying to convince myself how fortunate I am, and how happy I must feel. The only problem was I wasn’t feeling very happy. I had just made some really big changes in my life, and I was trying to congratulate myself on how well I had navigated some very grown up decisions and interactions. But again I wasn’t having it.
It reminded me of when my kids were little and my son would be sad, and I would send my daughter to his room to try and cheer him up. Okay. Not good parenting, I admit. But it’s awfully tempting to just try the bypass. Sometimes it does work, and it’s a lot easier than the alternative, which is really tuning in to your loved one and listening with unconditional love and an empathetic ear, especially if you are the reason they are upset.
Back to my walk, I decided to take a detour from the trail to a grassy spot where I could just lie down and relax. I found a sunny outcropping with some shade for my face and settled into the soft green grass. As soon as I did, I realized how tired I was from all the exertion lately in my life. Then I noticed that my stomach was gassy from the tasty chili I had devoured late last night. Slowly I began to give myself a lomi lomi massage I learned for digestion. Ahhh… That was better. Then I realized it was true that I wasn’t feeling particularly happy. The truth is I was spent!
Being able to attune to one’s own feelings is one of the most important life skills I can think of. If we don’t, we create inner conflicts that drain us of available energy and make us more sensitive to misunderstandings with others.
How to attune to oneself? It’s simple. All your have to do is to get quiet and ask yourself – What’s happening inside right now? It’s easy to get focused on what’s going on outside of ourselves, especially these days with critical news stories bombarding our psyches all day long. Since most of us are craving unconditional love from difficult childhood family dynamics in the past, it can be challenging to direct our attention inward, but well worth the effort. You can close your eyes and focus your attention on the sensations inside your body. The heart area is a good place to start. The belly and throat are also places where we store lots of undigested emotional stuff. (That’s a technical term!) You can also find a part of the body that feels tight and tense and ask it – What’s going on with you right now?
So, in conclusion, remember this – It’s not what’s happening outside. It’s what’s happening inside! Acknowledging what is really going on inside is key not only to a good relationship with yourself, but with your loved ones as well. Enjoy the many and varied facets of yourself and the emotional landscape that is you!