This isn’t semantics, guys, so grab some chips and dip, and lets dig in.
Words are powerful. Words hurt people and heal people. Words start wars and end them. And although this post might initially seem like a play on words or a clever attempt to get you to see something from a new point of view, it really isn’t. Take a moment to breathe while you read through this one. This subtle but important shift in the way we see (or say) things has helped me through countless episodes of depression, frustration, heart ache, and disappointment.
Words, in and of themselves, can’t actually hurt anyone. They are just sounds. These sounds are created by changes in air pressure made by the movement of our jaws, the shape of our lips and our tongues, the volume and rate of air passing through our throats and the frequency of the vibrations coming from our larynx.
But these changes in frequency and pressure can make you cry tears of heartache or tears of joy…so we do need to recognize and respect the power that they have.
Saying something, verbalizing…naming something…it somehow makes it more real. Hearing someone say, “I love you.” matters. Hearing someone say, “I hate you.” matters. But I’m going to ask you to be very mindful of something we all say far too often. Maybe as these days and weeks turn into months and years we can create a healthier relationship with our words our labels and our emotions.
Pay attention to how often how often we say “I am…” then follow those two words with an emotion…an adjective…such as angry, happy, or frustrated. We are not adjectives. We are complex spiritual beings experiencing this human life.
So let’s see what happens when do our best to stop saying, “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am aggravated.” or “I am happy!” Lets stop tying ourselves to ever fleeting emotions, especially those that don’t serve us.
If we “are angry,”…let’s first recognize our emotion as such. Then, when describing how we are actually feeling, let’s say “I’m feeling pretty sad right now.“ or “Oh my gosh! I feel so happy right now!” The difference between “being” and “feeling” is pretty significant.
Honestly! Stop for 10 seconds right now. Think about how you are feeling. Are you feeling happy or sad? Excited or nervous? Grateful or resentful? Then once you have identified the emotion that you are most prominently experiencing say this out loud. “Right now I am feeling…” then use the appropriate emotion.
“Right now I’m feeling very disappointed.“
Then I want you to try to share how you are feeling with others as opposed to telling them how you are.
Maybe we can even start asking people how they are feeling rather than asking them how they are.
It “I’m feeling disappointed right now.” may seem like a small difference from, “I am disappointed.” But recognizing the difference between who you are and what you are feeling, and giving power to the difference between them can bring you peace. It can make what feels like a painful situation fall in line as it should…a temporary emotion that certainly will pass.
We aren’t sad or miserable or happy or elated. If we were, when our emotion changes…when the sadness goes away…that would mean we go away too. We certainly know that is not the case.
Like with every new habit, it will take a moment to learn that we are not our emotions. But we can coach each other through it.
I love you guys