It is the day after England has beaten Germany in Euro 2020 and I feel happy. I am sure you have noticed a lot of happy people around you. It really does give us an emotional boost to see something we invest in emotionally do so well. As a result many of us are full of joy, happiness and have a spring in our step.
I was booked on a local radio station to talk about post match emotions and was asked the question, what should we do with this happy feeling? My answer was “bask in it, revel in it, enjoy it for as long as it lasts.” We all know it is temporary and it will either drift off into the ether or be replaced by another feeling that is less positive or euphoric.
Sit with the feeling. Let it wash over you.
Most of us are happy to do this and entirely capable of sitting with the feeling of happiness. When, however, it comes to our other feelings that evoke vulnerability such as fear, shame, hurt and sadness we are less able to.
We find it emotionally painful and difficult to sit with our feelings of sadness, hurt, shame and fear and so we push them away. Most of us reading this will be experiencing a “duh...yeah” moment. Of course that's what we do, doesnt everyone?
The answer to that is yes, almost everyone in our culture where happiness is the only feeling that is really valued.
I made an obvious statement that we find it emotionally painful and difficult to sit with our feelings of vulnerability but I make it because it represents a faulty form of thinking.
The challenge is that when we push our vulnerable feelings away they do not stay away. In fact the emotional effort we use to hide them away and try not to think about them, actually feeds them and gives them power. Power to push back until they overwhelm us.
To quote Bill Spinoza “what you can’t be with, will not let you be.”
Yet we use the opposite logic for our happiness and try to hold on to it despite knowing it is temporary.
Despite knowing our feelings are temporary we seek to hold onto happiness and push away the rest. In pushing the rest away we give them more power to stay in our lives.
So why not just sit with our feelings.
It is natural to not want to sit with your sadness but by doing it you limit its power. By sitting with it you acknowledge your sadness and after a while it will drift off or be replaced by another feeling.
Try it. Try sitting with your happiness today and letting it be. That could be practice for you to sit with your other feelings and let them be as well. As I said, by allowing them the space they need they will eventually drift off into the ether or be replaced by another feeling….may be that feeling will be happiness.