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Do You Avoid or Drown in Your Feelings?

How to self-reflect without judgement.

With fall setting in, you probably notice your mood dipping, your motivation dropping, your energy slowing down, and everything just feels like so – much – work!  Some people call this Seasonal Affect Disorder, but really, we are just synchronized with the cycles of the seasons.  Just like the bears, we are slowing down and settling into a quiet phase of the year.  Hibernation, here we come. 

This is a perfect time to self-reflect with a warm drink and comfy blanket. Not in the self-judgemental kind of way, but with an open mind and a loving heart. When you reflect with loving kindness, in a non-condemning way, life becomes crystal clear. When you see things as they are, this is the middle road.  But, very few walk the middle road.  

Which road do you walk? 

Do you avoid looking at things? You like to stay so busy, you don’t have time to focus on what is most important.  Maybe you give away all of your time, energy, attention and care to everyone else, that there is nothing left for you.  Giving away so much of yourself.  Or, perhaps you can’t stand the hurt, so you shop, eat, drink, gamble, or some other thing, to soothe your emotions and push them down.  

Or, do you drown and feel overwhelmed in your emotions? You ruminate on the past or worry about what might come. You find comfort in the old feelings of sadness, hurt or disappointment. You long for “the good old days”. You “wish things could be different” or “should be better”.  You find yourself so overwhelmed by emotions and thoughts that you don’t know how to come out of them; drowning in feelings.

And then, there’s the middle-road. This road requires you to have the courage to create a conscious, consistent practice. When you reflect, in a middle-road kind of way, you identify and acknowledge your feelings without judgement. You merely observe and allow emotions to be there without pushing them away.  But you also set a limit on how long you will allow yourself to be in the feelings.  When you reflect with an open mind, it is easier to see the value of your feelings; to truly hear what they are trying to tell you. Only after you validate your feelings, then you will become crystal clear on what is your responsibility and no one else’s responsibility to make you feel better.  Then you can take action toward solutions.  This is the middle-road: validating your feelings and taking action without avoidance or drowning. 

So, as you take time to self-reflect, keep self-judgement at bay, by:

  1. Identify and acknowledge your feelings.

  2. Allow yourself 20 to 40 mins to be in your feelings: journaling or saying them out loud. 

  3. Validate your feelings to learn what they are trying to tell you.

  4. Take responsibility and take action based on what you learn from your feelings. 

  5. Come out of your feelings by doing something physical, such as a cold shower, brisk walk, or hanging-out out in the rain.  

If you would like more support, download your FREE Self-Compassion Workbook HERE.

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