Is Life Not Working For You?

Some of us have had the experience when life doesn’t feel like it’s working, we either explode or collapse. We can have emotional outbursts, they just happen, they erupt. We have this anger that needs to be felt and expressed. What happens after this explosion is this felt sense of a neediness. We need to feel close to the person again, and if that doesn’t happen the way we anticipate it, then we can collapse in a puddle of tears.
This can look different for each of us, we are unique beings. Yet, there is this cascade of emotions that are like a roller coaster that we can go on, when life just doesn’t seem to be working.
What can happen when we are sitting in that collapsed state can be, “Dang, I don’t even know who I am any more, especially in relationship with this other being. I thought we were in this together!” This might be some of the things we say to ourselves.
Don’t give up. You know, on this path in life, it is possible to feel the emotional roller coaster and have less intensity in response to the exchange between you and others you are in relationship with. It’s possible to recognize the sensations and emotions as they are beginning to arise, to recognize them early on in your conversations.
Instead of judging them and getting upset with them, you are able to meet them with warmth and compassionate understanding. Because you’ve taken the time to do this, you know who you are because you live rooted and grounded in your values, and they inform your next steps. So, it’s totally possible to live life without exploding or collapsing, even when if seems as if life is not working for you.
So, what’s the difference between these two ways of experiencing life? It comes down to what is it that we are telling ourselves, or what is the underlying belief system that is operating? Rather than believing – “I’m just a really bad and angry person! Why can’t I just keep my emotions under control? I’m just really trying to control everything.” We can develop the capacity to understand that our emotions make sense – “I’m learning to listen to the sensations and emotions to receive the messages that my body’s wisdom holds for me.”
A practice that I invite you to explore, if this is something you experience in your life, or if you know somebody who has, the practice is to notice when you are triggered and to slow down, right then. To pause, and take a breath, and recognize and begin to name what the sensations are in your body, and where in your body you are feeling something.
For some of us it can take a while to begin to name sensations. After you notice where this is in your body, begin to tune in to what is the emotion here? Then, one thing I like to do is to rewind time, back to the moment right before I got triggered. Notice, as I make an observation about that moment; what was it that was missing? What was the need that was missing, or what was it that I value that I wasn’t seeing was there? Name that out loud, and when you do that, check back in with your body and notice what’s different.

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