You are not your feelings.
We often identify so closely with our feelings that we believe we are them.
I am happy.
I am sad.
I am lonely.
I recently listened to a podcast where I heard a great life metaphor described by Martina Barnes. I am paraphrasing it and taking a few creative liberties because it really helps us to understand that we are not our feelings (but we can learn from them).
Think of yourself as a bus. Your true, authentic self is the driver of the bus. Imagine that your different feelings are passengers on the bus.
Depending on the situation you are in, sometimes one of the passengers will want to jump into the driver’s seat. Anger might hijack the bus and take you down a road you didn’t want to go on, filled with twists and turns, rocks and potholes that are damaging to the bus and other vehicles on the road (you and others). Anger might take you to an undesired destination and then you have to try and find your way back.
We don’t want to kick our passengers (feelings) off the bus. They signal to us what’s important to us. Our feelings are clues to our unmet needs or ways we are not living in alignment with our values.
We just don’t want to let them drive!
With practice, we can learn to recognise and acknowledge our feelings without judgment and then look for the message they are trying to send us. They can help us identify our unmet needs and then motivate us to take action to meet those needs.
Personal growth occurs when we realise that our feelings are trying to get into the driver’s seat or we take action soon after they start driving. The more our emotional awareness increases, the quicker we are able to do this!
If you are not used to thinking about your feelings or can’t even find the words for them, The No-Fault Zone® Game is a tool that can help you. The mat and cards guide you through a simple, visual process to help you understand your feelings and needs and decide on what actions you want to take going forward.