Overwhelming Emotions & How to Negotiate with themApr 14, 2022
Fast forward to today, after working on this emotion for the last 40 plus years, I have learned so much about negotiating with loneliness. Within the first few minutes of noticing that loneliness is showing it’s face, I can take myself from resistance to allowing and then welcoming this unpleasant emotion.
I used to find myself resisting the feeling by staying in my head and judging everything that was happening. Why are you feeling this way again? I can’t stand feeling lonely anymore…I just want it to go away. Agh, will I ever feel like I belong? Will this feeling ever go away?
I can get stuck in this mode, stay in my head and go down the dark rabbit whole. The more I stay in my head, the worse the feeling gets and it becomes hard to even imagine being normal again.
The next phase for me was to notice that “loneliness” is back and allowed myself to tolerate it. I tried not to resist it, because that just made things worse, but I was not fully letting it in either. I was breathing through the emotions but still wishing it would go away ASAP. Just waiting & waiting for it to pass.
Recently I have been practicing WELCOMING “loneliness”. What? How can you welcome something so unpleasant? After reading the poem “The Guest House” by Rumi, I decided to experiment and see what it felt like to truly welcome the feeling as if it was a guest visiting me for the day.
Yesterday, I felt lonely again and all the stories that accompany that emotion. “I have no one to hang out with…No one ever calls me or cares for me….” Blah, blah, blah. I went from wanting to push the feeling away, to allowing it. Noticing again that I was breathing through the emotions but still waiting for it to pass. Then I decided to fully welcome it.
I switched my focus and treated my lonely part as if it was the most important, wise, lovable guest that was visiting me for the day; became super kind and compassionate toward my lonely part. I asked her what she wanted to do; if she would be willing to go for a walk, or coffee? I listened to her and was attentive and loving.
We ended up going for a long walk on the beach, grabbed coffee and sat on the beach for 15–20 minutes.
Next thing you know, I got a text from a friend that invited me to lunch. And from there, we went shopping and out for dinner.
The day turned out totally fabulous. And I have to say, if I would have resisted my loneliness, I would have be spiralling in negativity all day.
This is Rumi’s poem…. changed my perception of how to treat my overwhelming, un-wanted emotions.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
What if we could lean into all our emotions without making them so bad? Life would not be hard afterall.
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