How to Feel Tough Feelings: Meanness

Posted by Joanna Rubini on

If you start to pay attention to your 1) thoughts , your 2) reactions and your consequent 3) body responses, you’ll notice that for every emotion and event that you are resistant to, your body has a sympathetic response. We were gifted with bodies to be able to experience life on a very tangible level. The good: heart fluttering, butterflies in our bellies, tingling in our feet, etc. And the challenging: jaw clenching, hip tightening, shoulders hunching, etc. The only only only thing that’s required of us to heal is to acknowledge our feelings. 

Yes, it is helpful to have a positive outlook, to be kind, to be optimistic, to be self confident, to be faithful. But we literally were created to be flawed, to experience happy and sad and kind and mad and every single feeling you can think of. So if we are made to be emotional and have reactions on purpose, why is it that some emotions and thoughts feel so bad inside. And why do they get stuck in us. I think we must have been taught or learned by trial and error as children that certain reactions are good and acceptable and earn us love, and certain emotions and thoughts and feelings should be buried for their undesirability in attracting the love of others.  So we allow ourselves to fully feel and express love, but embarrassment or shame or guilt, for example, are squirreled away under the rug of our outer persona. Thus, lurking inside our perfection is a veritable storage house of the emotions we don’t permit to come out.

Example: It sucks to be a mean person, to have mean negative thoughts. If we are aware enough to acknowledge that we’re having mean thoughts, we certainly don’t admit them out loud or other people will know we are mean and withhold their love. Or if we verbally express our mean thoughts, we’re fueling the fire of our own self hatred because not only do we have mean thoughts but we also behave meanly. A viscous cycle that grows stronger over time and eventually manifests as a specific discomfort in our bodies. How to feel better? We are not mean intrinsically. We are having a mean thought, and a thought of meanness does not define us, it’s simply a cloud passing by that happened to match our vibration. So we explore our why’s with compassion. Why am I mean? Am I mean? Do I actually feel mean spirited? Maybe I'm just feeling insufficient and insecure during this 'shelter at home' experiment where all that gives me value is gone so I'm feeling mean to climb upon the shoulders of the other people I'm trying to step up on? Maybe I'm in a temporary mean state, that is actually shielding my very soft vulnerable feeling underbelly? Is it better to feel mean than feel vulnerable? Ok- yes sort of. But who likes meanness?  Maybe it just feels safer to feel mean than feel vulnerable? That is very childlike reasoning, to be sure. So if, underneath, our inner child feels vulnerable and subconsciously drives our adult self to act out in a (misguided) self protective way, then the only solution is soothing our inner child. Gather him/her up in your arms, and let him/her cry, scream, wail...let him/her be afraid and worried and insecure and acknowledge every single one of his/her emotions and feelings. They are all valid and worthy of attention. My higher self bundles me up in her arms and I sob and scream to her, and she just listens and rocks me and rubs my back and tells me infinite times that she loves me and love me and loves me. Once this storm of emotions passes, clarity is much easier.  I suddenly understand my meanness and can gently redirect it with compassion, with relative ease rather than wrestling myself into good behavior.

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