What was your #1 problem today?
- Did your chronic pain piss you right off?
- Did your stomach fall over your pants too much?
- Was your bus driver too angry, or too happy, for you?
- Did you feel like eating everything within a 1 mile radius of you?
- Did your cat piss you off by shedding too much hair?
- Did people ask too much of you?
If your problem involves some sort of complaint, worry, or self-critical thought or judgement, I assure you, that THAT is NOT your REAL problem.
Let me say that again.
Whatever your #1 problem was today, or any problems you had today, or yesterday, or the day before, that problem is NOT the real issue.
The real issue is almost always something much deeper.
The real issue is almost always an emotion that needs to be felt.
When we get lost in mental activities like worrying, ruminating, thinking about the past or future, obsessing about something, criticizing ourselves or others, etc. that is the ultimate sign that we are disconnected from ourselves. We subconsciously engage in this mental behavior to disconnect from our bodies when we are trying to avoid feeling an emotion. It’s like the mind’s way of protecting us from discomfort. Unfortunately, it is actually feeling the emotion rather than avoiding it that will lead us closer to comfort within our body and our life. Because as you all know, avoiding emotions can lead to physical pain in your body, which sure ain’t comfy! And when you are more connected to your body and emotions you become much more comfortable in your own skin.
But don’t beat yourself up about engaging in this mental behavior! You most likely picked it up from a very young age when you learned that emotions like sadness, anger, frustration and fear were, in a nutshell, no good to feel. This avoidance behavior happens on such a sub-conscious level that you don’t even realize you are doing it, so you fall for your mind’s tricks by getting sucked in to those stories about your pain, your fat thighs or stomach, and your bus driver (or insert whatever frustration YOU have here), instead of dealing with the real issue, which is an emotion that needs to be felt and released.
Come on, did you really believe you were too fat or your cat was too hairy?
Here’s my challenge for you: every time you notice yourself worrying about something, like your pain, criticizing yourself or your cat (can you tell I’m speaking from experience here? “I mean come on, Mila (my cat)! Why the f&@# do you shed so much? Who do you think you are anyways?”), worrying about your future or ruminating about your past, or anything that really just ends up being mental clutter that serves no purpose, flip your attention away from that and go inward. Ask yourself what you are feeling emotionally. Ask yourself what feeling you might be trying to avoid in this moment. Answer with a one-word emotion: mad, sad, glad, frustrated, happy, etc.?
So before you open your mouth to complain about something, or before you get lost in that mental junkyard of yours, curiously see what emotion you might be avoiding instead. If you don’t know, just guess. The more you do this, the easier it will be to pinpoint what emotion you are feeling. Not only will you be more in tune with your body and emotions (which means pain relief!!!) you will also notice yourself worrying, complaining, and self-criticizing way less! Wahoo! You won’t need it to divert your attention anymore!
Hmm…anyone else feel the need to end this post in song and dance?