You are not alone in your suffering
"Most people live with a great deal more suffering than is visible to even the most proximate and sensitive onlooker."
So began an article I read recently and in some strange way, I found it very comforting.Not, of course, that people are suffering, but rather the reminder that suffering is something very human that we all, to lesser or greater degrees, share.
Sometimes I can find myself wondering if i'm the only one struggling. If i'm the only one who feels unhappy, out of place and constantly overwhelmed with everything going on around me. Everyone around me seems so happy. So at ease. Why can't I just be like them? Reading the opening lines reminded me that I really have no clue what's going on in the life of the person smiling on the tube I sat next to this morning or the man sitting peacefully in the park I walked past this weekend. I really have no clue what they've been through or what they're going through.
Most of us hide our hurt as something shameful that would best be forgotten. We rarely seek to really understand what's going on for the people around us. We shy away from asking, afraid that it'll force us to have to do something about it, or to protect others from embarrassment or having to talk about something difficult. Imagine how liberating it would be if instead of hiding our troubles we wore them like badges of achievement? If instead of doing our best to avoid talking about our struggles we could share them with our friends and loved ones? How comforting it would be to know that we aren't the only ones struggling.
Making space to both think and feel
Sometimes we’re so full of thought that we forget to feel. And sometimes it’s the opposite.
“I can’t stop caring what other people think”
It's absolutely normal and okay to care about what others think about us and our actions but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to live the life, be the person and do the things we want to do.
Motivation and The Goldilocks Rule
To maintain motivation through uncertainty and setbacks, make sure to remember that Goldilocks Rule when planning your day.
Emotional granularity, colors and rainbows
Imagine describing a rainbow without knowing any colors. It’s the same with our feelings. By learning more feeling words you improve your emotional granularity and you can more precisely describe how you are feeling, make yourself understood and develop specific strategies for managing each feeling.
Habits are meant to help us but they can also make dealing with feelings more difficult
Our brain developed habits to help us survive, but they can also get in the way of managing our feelings in a productive way. Understanding how our habits are formed is the first step towards devising better ones.
Our brain’s wiring doesn't always help us
Our brain is constantly taking in information but its filters, formed through evolution, leave a lot of data out. This filtering has many implications on our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.