Identifying with emotion

About ten days ago I found myself very upset following a small incident. I absented myself by going off to take a shower. As I stood in the warm spray I found my mind coursing over and over what had happened. My mind switching from upset to anger to frustration with a beautiful background beat of self-recrimination. The emotion filled my body.

And yet even as I stood there I knew I had to let it go. And letting it go wasn’t about solving a puzzle, or creating control. There was an element which I recognised could have been implemented and in the same circumstances again, I’ll make sure I put that in place. But freedom wasn’t situated there. My mind still resounded with the raw emotion.

What fascinated me was how much I have come to allow my emotions to consume me. It really is the swing of the pendulum – having started as a young adult being completely unaware of my emotional state, to now allow myself to be consumed by it.

This small incident was still paralysing me an hour or so after the drama was genuinely over. Even as I sat there in the discomfort, I realised I needed a new strategy.

I realised I needed simply to acknowledge and welcome my feelings. I needed to accept the whole spectrum from frustration and anger at the circumstances to my own self recrimination. And I needed to allow myself to grieve the outcome – what I had so well intended has turned out badly in the end. After just a few minutes of this embrace I was able to let it go.

Not let it go with gritted teeth and ascent to not saying anything whilst allowing the thought process to continue in my mind. But genuinely I was able to let it go.

It was a great lesson for me – I hadn’t realised the extent to which these unproductive purposeless thought tracks can occupy me. It was both illuminating and humbling.


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