|Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash|
been through a year of more trouble than usual, and sometimes the bad feelings
can get kind of overwhelming. So here’s a list of the four questions to answer
anytime you're faced with ANY emotion you'd just as soon not be feeling.
Number One: What IS this feeling?
Dread? Sadness? Envy? Boredom? Incompetence? You name it. Just being able to
identify the feeling gives us more of a sense of control...and a sense of
control does wonders for our self-esteem.
Number Two: Where did this feeling come from?
The new project not working? My friend forgetting my
|Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash|
birthday? Having my idea
rejected? A bad hair day? Whatever it is, identify the source. You need to know
what got you started feeling this way.
Number Three: How long do I want to keep this feeling?
minutes? Two weeks? Four hours? For something like a death in the family, it
could last for years. But even so, you want to break it into manageable chunks.
Let's say if my cousin died and I was looking at our old photos and it made me
feel sad, I might choose to really FEEL that sadness for fifteen minutes. After
fifteen minutes, I have to stop.
a minute," you say. "I'm sad! I can't just stop being sad."
let's say I'm looking at the photos feeling sad, and all of a sudden a crazed
drug lord breaks into my house with an assault rifle and says, "I'm going
down and I'm takin' you down with me."
I going to sit there being sad?
-- I'm gonna get away from the drug lord.
I've raced next door and called 911, I can go back to being sad if I want to.
But for that two minutes of fleeing from the drug lord, I WASN'T sad.
not? After all, none of this changed the fact that my cousin died, that I miss
her and my life will never be the same and these photos remind me of how great
she was and I'll never see her again. Nothing has changed except that for two
minutes, I quit feeling sad.
you know how we never do anything without a reason? Whatever my reason, I chose
to quit feeling sad.
I didn't consciously stop and make the choice: "Let's see, I think I'll
quit feeling sad for the next two minutes in order to save my life." Or,
in order to save my sanity. Or, to save myself from feeling lousy. But for
whatever reason, I made the choice to quit feeling sad. And I can make that
choice anytime I want to.
|Photo by Daniel Gonzalez on Unsplash|
can make that choice anytime I want to.
means I can decide how long I want to feel sad about my cousin before I quit to
save myself from the drug lord...or to save myself from the misery. An hour?
Ten minutes? Whatever. You have a pretty good sense of how long you can
experience a feeling before you want to move onto something else. So I might
decide that I'm going to feel sad for half an hour. But after that, I have to
quit and move onto something else.
that doesn't mean I can't feel sad again later on. But what's important is to
decide how long I want to keep this feeling right NOW. And then to stick to
whatever amount of time that is, and move onto something else.
leads to our last question, and it's the most important.
Number Four. Once the time is up on this feeling, what am I going to
replace it with?
has to be an action, not just another feeling. I can't decide, "Okay, in
ten minutes I'm gonna start feeling...let's see, ecstatic." What I CAN do
is choose an action -- and if it's an action that’ll make me feel ecstatic, then
I'm feeling sad about my cousin, what I might put in place of that sadness is a
quick run around the block. Or a phone call to a friend. Or a trip to the
grocery store. Some specific action that will get my mind off the sadness.
what's amazing is that this works. You might find yourself driving to the
grocery store and suddenly feeling sad again -- but when that happens you
remind yourself, "Oops! Time's up. Right now I'm doing the shopping; I
already DID my half hour of sadness." You can do another half hour later
on if you want, but right now you stay focused on the grocery store.
you see how it goes? And you can do this on your own, anytime you want to.
hard to believe how well this works until you've actually tried it. Next time
you're mad at your husband or hurt by your critique partner or frustrated with
your car or whatever, pick how long you want to keep that feeling -- don't
cheat yourself, pick as long a time as you want -- and then pick what you're
gonna put in its place.
guarantee you, it'll work. Because it reminds you of something we all tend to
forget, and that is:
are in control of our choices. We're not always in control of our
circumstances, but we ARE in control of our choices. We can choose how to deal
with rejection, frustration, boredom, fear, you name it. We can choose how long
we want to grieve, who we want to share the pain with, what we're gonna do in
pursuit of our goals -- those are all our choices, and nobody else's.
So celebrate the fact that you are in control. And
|Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash|
regardless of what you decide
to do when faced with any bad situation, you can make whatever choices you
it. Use it. You'll be amazed at how powerful you are.
Laurie Schnebly Campbell teaches creative people about ways of improving their
life -- like in the two-week class called “New Year, New You” starting on Monday
(January 18) at https://rwasd.com/classes/.