Right in the Feels

Right in the Feels

A friend of mine – a GOOD friend of mine – hurt my feelings recently. I saw her the next night and I was a complete bitch to her. I was. I admit it.

I went home, totally embarrassed that I acted that way. I had ignored her. I had looked away. I was rude and it made me uncomfortable.

This person would give me her heart if I needed it. There is no way on earth she meant to hurt my feelings in any way. I knew that. But still…I treated her poorly, and that was wrong.

I texted her the next day and apologized for my behavior. She apologized for hurting my feelings and asked what she had done.

And this is the point of this little post: SHE hadn’t done anything. Not anything at all. MY REACTION to what she hadn’t even done was what caused the drama in my head.

I realized that I needed to control my reaction to things that happened. Instead of being this big ball of feelings, the feelings needed to be a separate thing that I was simply experiencing. Feelings change – my actions in response to those feelings are a big deal because I bring other people into the drama I’m creating in my head.

What am I talking about? Glad you asked. Let me set some things up for you.

Situation 1

Dishes are in sink instead of dishwasher. I immediately get frustrated and want to move to the beach. Alone. This is my thing – I HATE dirty dishes in my sink. They should be in the dishwasher OR if said dishwasher is clean, then by all means…you know – UNLOAD IT! I’m chill about every other household chore, but this one thing drives me crazy. Everyone knows it. It is not a secret. It’s not a secret because I call a family meeting almost every single day about this one thing. It is discussed. I demonstrate the way to load and unload the dishwasher. Eyes are rolled. “We know, Mom,” is uttered a hundred times. I may yell and threaten. People may cry. It’s a fun part of the day.

Situation 2

Someone says something snarky and rude to me. On purpose. It is meant to hurt. It may be about the fact that I homeschool, the fact that we don’t eat pork or shellfish, our choice of holidays to celebrate/not celebrate, my looks, my kids, I mean…c’mon. It could be anything. I’m a semi-Jewish homeschool mom who owns a tech related business in Arkansas. Just pick an aspect of that and run with it.

Situation 3

Other people are innocently living their lives, doing what they do, and not thinking about little ol’ me at all. The creeps. Anyway, they face their own situations and react to them to the way they do. I am not in their brain at all, but they way they react to the situations in their life cause me to experience my own feelings of whatever the heck I’m feeling that day. So, for example, someone has a crappy day at work, I see them and they are rude to me, and then I spend the rest of the night wondering what I did to that person.

Each situation happens a lot. A lot. I can’t control other people – and believe me, I’ve spent most of my life trying. I just can’t. It’s not my super power. What I can control is my reaction to other people and situations. This is what I’m trying to do – and I think this may be the key (or one of the keys) to living a happier life.

So…anyway, what I’ve started to do is separate my feeling from the rest of me. Yep. If I could hold the feeling in the palm in my hand and examine it, what would it look like? What caused me to feel that way? Is this a real feeling or just something I’m making up? Should I say something about this feeling or just let it go? Is this feeling so heavy that it’s weighing me down or is this something that will be gone by morning? Is this feeling worth treating the people around my crappy and making them feel the way I do or this just a gut reaction to a temporary situation? Why react with hate, anger, and tears to someone that is trying to make you feel those exact emotions? Why give them that power over you?

I’m not trying to preach or anything, but this really has helped me the last couple of weeks. Instead of reacting to things like I normally would, I’ve taken the time to separate myself from what I’m feeling. I’m in control instead of letting my ever-changing feelings take over my life.

And the dishes? Yes, the dishes…my reaction to that has changed as well.

I eat on clean dishes.

If the rest of them want clean dishes, I’m quite certain they know all about the dishwasher.


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  1. Angie

    Great post! I just finished Brene Brown’s new book, Rising Strong, and she goes over this territory about wrestling with our feelings and figuring out where they really come from. The line she came up with when feeling a “thing” is to approach the other person she’s having the feeling about and say, “The story in my head right now is that you are mad at me/think I’m an idiot/etc.” You two are saying the same thing! Instead of reacting simply in the moment, we can pause and think about why we’re really feeling that way and maybe take a different approach. Maybe also get a happier life!

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