Do you ever get yourself busy in order to distract yourself from what you know would be best for you to be doing or feeling? Doing this blog post on 'busyness and distraction' would be distracting me from what would be best for me to share this week. So instead, I am going to share feeling sad about my emptying family nest and the importance of allowing feelings.
It is important to allow our feelings rather than to ignore or suppress them or equally unhelpfully to express them in unhelpful ways with blame and criticism of others or ourselves.
Sometimes we need to have a good cry or to connect with others for help and support. It is important to understand however that it is never helpful to over indulge these negative feelings or to express them inappropriately. We can be unkind, blame, or criticise ourselves with untrue negative self-talk and do the same to others too.
It is helpful to remember we need the negative emotions as much as we need the positive ones. How could we know happiness if we did not experience sadness. We need the light and dark and to learn to be brave enough to look at our darker side in order to shine the light of wisdom on it.
This weekend I have had my second 'chicken' leave the family nest. I have had some sadness come up and have been processing this situation.
When the feeling of sadness came up for me this week I forgot much of the helpful wise advice I have been given and slipped into some unhelpful habits. I fortunately remembered this sad feeling was going to keep popping up to remind me to stop pushing it away and to accept, allow and listen to the message it has for me. I could then learn a more helpful way to relate to it.
I am so thankful to my son for the beautiful reminder and to you all for allowing me to share my experience.
Some helpful things that I remembered are -
Be Aware of Allow and Accept so called 'negative emotions'.
It is not helpful to try to push away 'negative emotions' or to pretend they are not there. This causes us to shut down and be unavailable and unkind to ourselves and others. I do this when I go into 'shut down' mode (or as my kids often remind me- I have that 'look' that is unkind and its accompanying unsettling voice) and get myself really busy and distracted. I shove those dishes into the dishwasher, push that vacuum around forcefully or cook nosily, in order to avoid the uncomfortable feeling. As I am 'huffing and puffing' around the house I am unhelpfully saying to myself, and sometimes to others too "It doesn't matter; there is nothing wrong; I am ok; you just go and do what you want; don't worry about me."
How does this 'shut down' help anyone? It doesn't! Others have no idea what has happened or how to help. It is much more helpful to be Aware of Allow and Accept so called 'negative emotions' and to remain open. We can then get on to do what needs to be done from that wise spot. How do we do this? I find remembering to do 'ABCD' (outlined below) helpful.
I was also reminded this week it is unhelpful to try to negate others' emotions too. I can do this with comments like "it has obviously come up for a reason'; I think you should do learn to deal with it by............advice. Most times all that is needed is an acknowledgment of the feeling without a need to 'fix it' both for ourselves and others. I have been kindly reminded a few times that my 'advice' was not asked for. Maybe you feel this way about these blogs. Please feel free to take what you may find useful and try it or not.
Be aware not to overindulge the so called 'negative emotions' by expressing them in unhelpful ways
While it is important to allow the feeling, (and this may also include a good cry or to seek the help of someone), it is unhelpful to let them prevent us from doing what needs to be done. What needs to be done does not include overindulging the feelings, and/or expressing them inappropriately to others or ourselves. I express unhelpfully when I wallow in sadness, as I did last week with untrue unkind thoughts like "It's my fault - if I had not over mothered, under mothered, cared more or less, then he would not be wanting to leave home." These untrue thoughts are 'all about me' and make me unhappy.
Equally unhelpfully at times I think I need to give all sorts of advice about what he should and should not do, when it is not asked for. It may have been appropriate and necessary when he was younger, but he a 23 year old! It is much more helpful if instead I remember I have done my best as a mother to bring him with a firm foundation and that he has all at the resources he needs to go and be free to learn, make all the 'so called mistakes' and have the experiences he needs to in order to learn life's lessons. A friend reminded me today the two most important things we can give our kids are firm roots to ground them and wings to fly. I am here if he wants advice or needs me, without expectation. It is liberating to do my best with whatever situation arises and then let go of expectation of control, or having the outcome be the way I want.
So instead of 'push away' or 'shut down' or overindulging in negativity with inappropriate expression we can learn to stay open.
Things that have helped me do this, when I remember or am kindly reminded are
A. Aware; Allow; Accept
Doing what needs to be done from that wise spot
So once I allowed myself to feel sad, breathed and didn't believe those negative untrue thoughts I was free to act in more helpful ways. So what came up for me to do was
1. To write a letter to my son
I love to write letters, I don't always give or send them but this time I did. In the letter I.......
Some Thanks You's to end
As I said gratitude is and instant fix for feeling sad. So it is great to have the opportunity to say thank you to all those who have helped me so much. So THANK YOU