Often, when we are overtaken by an emotion, we fight it, suppress it, or get taken over by it and start making up stories.
When I recently missed summer camp registration for my kids, my inner dialogue said; “I am a terrible mother who is never organized enough to sign my kids up for summer camp, oh, and I am pissed at the patriarchy for setting up this whole system whereby mostly the moms are the ones doing these damn sign-ups in the first place.”
But I am not that story. Emotional agility starts with recognizing that you are not your feelings.
When a tough mood passes through, it’s like a grey cloud that has temporarily blocked the sunlight. You are not the cloud, you are the sky.
Labeling your thoughts and feelings is a powerful way to begin accepting what you are feeling without being overtaken by it. When you say; “I am sad,” you become fused with sadness. It is now your identity. You are the grey cloud of sadness. When you say; “I notice that I’m feeling sadness,” now you are more the observer. You are the sky. The grey cloud of sadness is simply passing through.
I’ve found that my mindfulness practice helps me approach my thoughts from this more objective place. Having a consistent meditation routine has helped me feel more centered, grounded, and able to respond to whatever life throws your way with greater acceptance. (I’m now teaching my method in a 30-day meditation challenge, if you’re curious!).