Sunday, August 5, 2012

You are Not Your Feelings

“We are not our feelings. We are not our moods.  We are not even our thoughts.”

~Stephen R. Covey.  The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People

Recently, I had a client ask me to revisit the statement I had made to her at one time.  I had told her, “You are not your feelings.”  She wanted to better understand this statement.  Stephen Covey takes this further with stating we are not our feelings, moods, or even our thoughts. So what does this really mean?

Feelings come, feelings go.  All day long we have feelings moving through us. And if we over identify with our feelings, we can think that the feelings are who we really are. But feelings come and feelings go. When you are feeling angry, that doesn’t make you the anger.  When you are sad, you aren’t the sadness. You are having a moment of sadness. So remove yourself from the feeling. When a feeling comes up inside you, you can notice it and state that you are feeling anger at the moment. And as you watch the feeling, observe the feeling and then let it go without judgment. Just notice it and let it go.  Watching your feelings come and go allows you to detach from the feeling. Observe the feeling.  Let it go. 

You can do the same with thoughts. We have thoughts moving through our mind all day long and often the same thoughts we had yesterday we will have today. Noticing the thoughts can be helpful because as we catch the thoughts we might become more aware of what leads to our feelings and our moods.  But again, just notice the thoughts that come up. Pay witness to the thoughts. You are not your thoughts. Nor are you your mood.  Pay witness to your mood.  And as you notice it, your mood, your thoughts, your feelings will change. Just like the ocean with the waves washing into shore.  There is ebb and flow.  Just notice and breath. Be the observer rather than the emotion.  No judgment.  It just is.  Today spend time noticing and being the observer of your day. Notice it, let it go.

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