Sometimes I remember this. Sometimes I get this. Sometimes I can stop myself as I sink into worry or fear or frustration and pull myself out.
Sometimes I can, and sometimes I can’t. But I’m working on it more and more each day.
I don’t mean ignoring or glossing over the “bad” feelings, but I do mean not plunging into them and letting them ruin my day as if I have no other choice. Because I, at least usually, have another choice. If not immediately about how I feel, then at least about what I do with and about those feelings. Or what I choose to think about…which affects how I feel.
Yesterday was my nephew’s bar mitzvah. It was a wonderful, joyous occasion and also tough. There was so much family in the room, which was wonderful. My mom and Danny, my dad, were there, which was wonderful. It was also tough.
I think, in many ways, my relationships with both of my parents are shifting and evolving. I think, perhaps, the same is true for my brother. All I know is that I was overwhelmed, many times, at the weirdness and the joy of being there with my brother, mom, and dad. First, it’s not often that the four of us are together, and second, I was aware of where we’ve come from and what we’ve been through, and I was amazed at the love I felt for my parents. Robbie and I took a picture with Danny, with him sitting in his wheelchair, and as I smiled for the camera I thought of when we lived with him. Yeah, in many, many ways it wasn’t easy. And it was scary. And I didn’t want to be there. He embodied, in many, many ways, Satan to me, living – and exposing me to – a life that was the antithesis of all that I knew was good and holy. But if I hadn’t lived with him then, I wouldn’t really know him now. And it must have been such a shock to his carefree, hippie lifestyle to take us in. And, in his own ways, he did try to put us first, and he did (and does) love us, even though it was – and often is – so difficult for him to show it and for us to feel it.
I could look at Danny – at both my parents – and have oodles of reasons to only stay in anger and hurt. I probably have too many situations in my life where I could, at least in my own mind, justifiably have too many reasons to stay in anger and hurt. Or worry and fear.
But I get to choose what I feel, no matter what. Besides, I learned many decades ago that “feelings aren’t facts.” Even when they feel like they are. Sometimes my perceptions may be skewed. Sometimes I’m hurt or angry about something, or by someone, and it’s actually more about me than them, even though I can’t see that in the moment. And often I can, again, choose what I think about – my hurt or something else – and that can affect the way I feel.
I’m learning more and more to acknowledge my feelings and to let them be. And then to ask myself how and if they’re helping me and how and if I’d rather distract myself with something else. Or soothe myself with something else.
There probably will always be people and situations that I feel hurt by. There probably will always be memories of the far and not-so-distant past that cause me pain. And I get to choose how I breathe through that hurt and pain – that anger and fear, that anguish and worry – or not. I get to choose if I can and will accept my feelings with loving self-compassion and then let them go. Or not.
I get to choose what I feel.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
As our lives progress, we may (or may not) become siblings, parents, grandparents. But one position each and every one of us holds — from birth to death — is that of child.
We all come from two other people who, for better or worse, impact us mightily even after we are grown, and yes, even after they are gone.
A good post to chew on. Thanks, Lisa!
Thank you Lisa! Yes they impact us. How much do we get to choose how they impact and respond rather than react??? Thank you!
Thank you! As I travel through this journey of life I am constantly reminded there are good people all around me experiencing hard things!! It’s so easy to stay in the hard, bad, dark places even when it hurts and endangers us! Mostly because changing our circumstances takes work and work is again a hard thing!! I frequently don’t want to inflict pain and discomfort on myself because so much has already been placed on me by others. Yet what you said in this blog is the absolute truth!! “I get to choose what I feel.” And today I choose to feel the hard and then leave it and soak in the good! Thank you!
Wow. Thank you. Yes, I sometimes run away from the hard and resent having to do the work, but when I lean in and feel it…and then leave it and soak in the good, it is often beyond amazing. Thank you for reminding me again (and again) to choose to soak in the good.
I have years of abuse in my past. After 44 years, I’m finally dealing with how to sort out my feelings. I recently posted in my group I was struggling with the day to day stuff, struggling with deep depression, not being able to get out of bed some days. A school friend I felt, in her own words ridiculed me for how I was dealing that day. People rush to criticize you for their pains, by telling you you’re healing wrong, your seeking attention, or etc… I don’t have a close knit group of friends. I have 1 initimate best friend of 30 years, we had babies at same time, lived through husband’s, boyfriends, death, even worked together at one point. Shes the only person i know who lets me be my authentic self, without judgement. Some days we just need to be angry, confused, sad, mad, even indifferent. Thank you for justifying to me that it’s ok for me to feel what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it. ?
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Thank you Brandy. It is so easy to feel judged and to feel like we’re doing the feelings “wrong.” At least for me. Yay you for having a friend who lets you be you, and yay you for being you. Sometimes I have to lean into the suck in order to the suck to lessen. Sometimes I have to give myself permission to be angry, confused, sad, mad, and indifferent to let those feelings flow through me and past me. Thank you!