You Don’t Need to Fix Your Feeling (Good, Because It’s Impossible Anyway)

You Don’t Need to Fix Your Feeling (Good, Because It’s Impossible Anyway)

For overthinkers, worriers and anxious little stress-squirrels, it can feel like we are the only ones living in misery. We watch, with mournful eyes, as the rest of the world splashes around happily in the swimming pool of Life, while we cower in the shade near an ants nest; immobilised, stuck, fretful.

(or something like that)

It can be heartening to know that Every-Single-Person-On-This-Earth-Yes-Really gets caught up in thought from time to time. Even Pema Chödrön, the Dalai Lama, your local fishmonger, your boss and even your serene-seeming dog-walker who always has a smile on her face even when trudging through a snowstorm and picking up poop from 7 energetic alsatians. All feel stirred-up thought and bad feelings sometimes.

There’s nothing wrong or bad about being caught up in thought. It just doesn’t feel nice. It feels frenzied and urgent, or heavy and slow, or a weird combo of both. We feel anxious, irritable, restless, worried, confused, overwhelmed, depressed and many others. ⠀⁠

Misunderstanding the problem

The ‘problem’ – if you want to call it that – is believing that we are seeing reality right now. That our thoughts are true. That whatever we’re getting frenzied over is Real Life. 

The ‘problem’, in short, is that we think we need to do something. Fix a thing. Change a thing. Solve a thing. Out there, in the world. Or inside; change how we feel. 

But, good news! We don’t need to do anything. Because that feeling is not a call to action.

It is not our life, our circumstances, our environment or the situation that we are experiencing. When we are feeling all anxious and worried, we are experiencing a shit ton of THOUGHT. And because we are a living human being (yay to that!) and all humans experience what they think about, that bunch of thought looks like our reality. 

It’s not reality. 

A thoughtstorm is not real life (but it can feel like it)

When we are caught up in thought, we can’t see clearly. We often don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to solve our problems. We find ourselves ruminating, overthinking and worrying our little butts off. 

Many of us turn to unwanted habits – drinking, shopping, drugs, procrastinating, eating doughnuts dipped in ice cream and many others – to try and quieten our minds. ⠀⁠

We think it’s up to us to ‘get out’ of this feeling. To solve the issue, secure our safety, ‘sort it out’. But everything looks so hard, so overwhelming, so insurmountable, so bleak. ⠀⁠

Stop, friend. ⠀⁠

Nothing for you to do, solve or fix

You don’t need to do a thing right now except see that you *think* everything is hard, overwhelming, insurmountable and bleak. You THINK it is. ⠀⁠

Your mind will settle if you let it. In the weird irony of the human condition, the more you stop trying to figure our way out of anxiety and worry, the more easily our thoughts will settle and calm and clarity will be ours once again. 

You don’t need to see clearly right now. Just see that you aren’t, and that’s plenty. ⠀⁠

I’ll just stick a hangover metaphor here

It’s like having a hangover (drinking used to be one of my experience-numbing habits of choice,  so I was an expert on hangovers). Imagine not knowing what a hangover was and thinking that the sense of sadness, apathy, pain and existential dread we feel after a night of cocktails was ‘real life’?! Urgh.

We all know, intellectually speaking, that when we are feeling pretty awful, it’s only temporary. But when we are IN IT, this logic evades us. It feels like this state of angst will be permanent this time. 

(Then we pop out of it and see clearly and realise we were being silly. Then we fall into it again and think it’s permanent. And repeat… forever!) 

It’s so human of us to want to ‘sort it’. But by looking for a problem which isn’t really there – because the ‘problem’ is only a lot of thought, not a thing in the outside world – we innocently keep our mind in a stirred-up state. 

Here comes the awesome news!

I have some awesome news for you. When we can come to see that our bad feelings don’t need any action, that they aren’t alerting us to a thing in our life which needs changing, that they don’t mean anything at all except some revved up thinking that will settle if left alone….we stop caring when we feel shit. We don’t even notice it as much. This is incredible. 

Next time you’re feeling like ASS (and you probably won’t have to wait very long, due to being a human and all that), maybe just hang out in the feeling (or on the feeling or near the feeling or whatever occurs to you in the moment, take my specific words lightly), knowing that the less you try and change it, the quicker it will move on. 

Well if Mark Twain said it..

Mark Twain reportedly said about New England: “If you don’t like our weather just wait a minute!”

I say ‘reportedly’ because Mark Twain seems to have said a lot of stuff according to the internet, and the internet isn’t always full of the facts. 

But whether or not he said it, it’s a great quote for me to grab and shape into my final point. 

We are New England. Our weather is our constantly changing psychological experience of life. Thoughts, feelings, moods, perspectives. Wet, dry, cloudy, sunny, hot, cold, windy, mild. 

If you don’t like your weather, wait a minute. 

P.S. If this sounds just too simple – or, actually, too hard! – come over here and say hello