It’s September and time for a new focus for a month of Playful Self-Discipline. After thinking about my responsibilities in August I gathered up my courage and decided to focus on being playfully self-disciplined when it comes to taking care of my emotional health this month. That sounds good, right? But what does it really mean?
Emotions: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Way back in December I had a really low point. I was mad, I was sad, and worst of all, I was sulking around the house and being horrible to my family. I was acting pretty childishly, to be honest, and I was simultaneously ashamed of how I was acting and yet stuck in this loop of feeling sorry for myself and acting those feelings out on those around me. It wasn’t pretty. But it inspired this year-long Playful Self-Discipline project, and I’ve learned a lot over the past eight months.
I started with some of the easier, less sensitive issues I wanted to work on. Staying active with my family, flossing, appreciating beauty. But what I really want (and need) to have is more self-discipline over the intersection between my emotions and my behaviour. How can I effectively deal with my emotions as they arise without stuffing them down or letting them spill out and make a mess of things?
Mindfulness and Feelings
I’ve recently started reading Natalie’s Feeleez blog, and despite the fact that Feeleez are a tool to help adults educate children about their feelings, there’s a lot of food for thought regarding adults and their feelings on Natalie’s blog. Her post on Choosing Happiness Despite the Whining really resonated with me. Ditto for Audio Stories and Inner Stories.
The crux of the matter is this: the way we respond to our thoughts and feelings is within our control. It is OK to be mad, sad, frustrated, jealous, insecure or ashamed. It’s not OK to take those feelings and use them as justification for poor behaviour. And yes, it is difficult to redirect our thoughts, or to realize when we are telling ourselves a story woven from fear and irritability, but it’s a practice worth working at.
And I am working at it, every day. Oddly enough, I felt very zen through most of our car journey this summer. Emotions came and went like the hills and mountains outside my window. I noticed them for a while, and then they eventually passed. I wondered why this process seemed to work more smoothly in the confines of our car when it was so easy to lose my cool at home. Could it be because I wasn’t trying to get anything done other than keep rolling along the road? No housework, no laptop, no expectations of productivity? No distractions to cover up my feelings, and nothing to do other than watch the emotional weather systems pass by and look out for the next town coming up along the road. Perhaps.
I know emotions can be a sensitive topic, but rest assured, if you feel like sharing your experience here I’ll make sure the comments are a safe place. There will be no judgment passed here.