I was working with a client the other day who told me about an experience she had where she was at a friend’s house and one of the children came out and said, “I’m cold.” The mother looked at the child and said, “You’re not cold, but do you feel cold?” The child thought about it and then said, “Yes, I feel cold.” The mom then asked, “Would you like a blanket?”
I don’t know about you, but this story got me to think about all of the times I have identified with being my feelings. I have taken something that I feel and made it into who I am. Has that ever happened to you? It’s innocent enough. We feel something, internalize it, and then decide that we are such and such feeling. Thankfully, we are not our feelings. And what a gift this mother gave to her child by reinforcing that at an early age. Here’s why that’s important.
When you identify with being your feeling, it then takes root as something that you are. It becomes a character trait, the way you live, and a way that you show up and present yourself in the world. When feelings are internalized and turned into “I am” statements, the feeling, which can come and go, morph and change, takes root instead of being something that is fleeting. When a feeling becomes who we are, we are short-changing ourselves and the view of the world by behaving as this feeling.
Here are some examples of what it sounds like when we internalize our feelings.:
I’m not good enough.
I feel angry.
I feel sad.
I feel frustrated.
I feel happy.
I feel not good enough.
I feel unable.
I feel complicated.
I feel excited.
I feel powerful.
I feel down.
Feelings pass and crash onto the shores of who we are like an ocean tide. When you are able to capture your feeling, you can ask yourself what you need and what you want to do about it rather than making the feeling who you are.
If you are experiencing anger, you can ask yourself, what made me feel angry? What do I need? Instead of deciding that you are angry. When you make a decision that you are a certain feeling, you will behave that way in the world instead of looking for the solution to the feeling or allowing the feeling to pass.
When you feel hungry, you can eat.
When you feel tired, you can sleep.
When you feel cold, you can get a blanket.
When you feel frustrated, you can ask for help.
When you feel angry, you can express yourself.
When you feel sad, you can cry.
When you feel happy, you can create joy.
Remembering that you are not your feeling but instead that you were created by a beautiful higher source (that I refer to as God) who made you perfectly out of love and light is important. We are powerful vessels full of hope, joy, love, abundance, and we have resilience. That is who you are at your core, even if your feelings tell you something else.
Feelings come and go. You can feel a certain way and still be true to yourself. The next time a feeling comes up, catch it and ask yourself what you need without internalizing it and letting it define your world. It’s powerful!
If you feel as if you need help recognizing the feelings you are internalizing, schedule your complimentary 30-minute phone session here.