We have a tendency to become over identified with what we’re feeling.
In the moment when we’re feeling sometime intense, it’s as if we BECOME that feeling.
We forget that we are a person, EXPERIENCING a feeling— and that feelings pass.
Feeling something doesn’t make you a “(fill in the blank) person.”
Feeing anger doesn’t make you a fundamentally “angry person.”
Feeling hate doesn’t make you a fundamentally “hateful person.”
Feeling sad doesn’t make you a fundamentally “sad person.”
We feel lots of things in the course of a day, let alone over the course of a lifetime.
We even feel lots of things that are at complete odds with other things we’re feeling.
I remember, when I was a kid, I was absolutely AGHAST that people were LAUGHING at my grandmother’s funeral.
How can they LAUGH?, I wondered. This is a time for grief. We are grieving people right now.
Fast forward to the funeral of my father— where I found myself simultaneously enormously sad…and also laughing at the memories and stories that people who knew my dad were taking the time to share with me.
We feel LOTS of things.
And none of those feelings fundamentally define us.
We can develop the skill of stepping away from whatever we’re feeling at the moment, and remembering that we are a person— whole, complete, autonomous— outside of that feeling.
Even if we experience a particular feeling regularly, more more often than other feelings, we are STILL more than we’re feeling at any given time.
A big part of healing is remembering— or even discovering— who we are, independently of what we feel.
Who we are independent of our pain. Independent of the losses we’ve experienced. Independent of the trauma we’ve endured.
We don’t have to compartmentalize our inner experiences.
We can feel multiple things simultaneously.
We can even “be” multiple versions of ourselves, simultaneously.
I just did a video where I was talking about psychology— and my cat interrupted it. So what was I in that moment, a psychologist or a cat dad?
After I came back to work following the death of my dad, who was I— a grieving son, or a therapist whose function it was to contain and validate and teach others how to handle their grief?
You don’t have to choose between being a victim of trauma, and a strong, autonomous, together human being.
You are both.
You don’t have to choose between being sad and being grateful. It is very common to be both.
You are both someone who has mastered certain tools and skills— and someone who struggles with other tools and skills.
You are not defined by either what you’ve mastered or what you have yet to master.
You are not defined by your failures— or your successes.
And you are not defined by what you feel at any given moment.
Remember to nurture, honor, and see— really see— who you are.
Don’t be fooled by all the things you’re feeing or all the things you’ve experienced into thinking you’re just the sum of those feelings and experiences.
You. Are. More.
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