For many years, whenever I felt upset with what someone had said or done, I very comfortably blamed them for ‘making’ me feel upset.
- e.g. When someone was regularly late, they made me feel annoyed.
- e.g. When someone spoke to me disrespectfully, they made me feel upset.
- e.g. When someone passed an unkind remark, they ruined my day!
- And some people, I believed, were just plain rude and they always annoyed me!
For this reason, one of the most difficult concepts for me to understand, during my Relationship studies programme, was that ‘Our Feelings are Our Creation’, ie that we create our own feelings, no one else creates our feelings for us.
On the one hand, I was open to seeing how my ‘feel-good’ feelings were my creation, as feelings of joy and love and excitement felt heart-warming and nourishing for me.
On the other hand, I disagreed wholeheartedly with the suggestion that my ‘feel-bad’ feelings, which left me feeling upset, irritated and frustrated were also my creation. I initially dug my heels in and argued that these upsetting feelings couldn’t possibly be my doing. They were definitely not my wisdom (see blog on feeling all my feelings) and absolutely not my creation. How could I be making myself upset when someone else was obviously upsetting me? It was their words or actions were upsetting me. Not mine! I wasn’t doing anything to upset myself. They were making me upset!
I was strongly attached to this belief because I was very reluctant to even consider that my upsetting feelings were my own creation because then I’d have no one to blame for feeling rats, cranky or cross!
And then, with much toing and froing and loads of practising self-observation and conscious awareness, I slowly (and a little reluctantly 😊) realised that yes, I create all my feelings. And despite my early resistance to embrace this concept, this practice has been one of the most significant practices in healing my relationships and creating a calmer, more peaceful life.
I learned that whenever I have an ‘upsetting’ or ‘uncomfortable’ feeling, I have two choices:
1) I can choose to react and blame someone for ‘making’ me feel, or
2) I can own my feelings and choose my response.
For example, if my friend Tu interrupts me every time I’m speaking.
Choice 1) I react and blame
When I blame Tu for ‘making’ me feel upset or annoyed because they consistently interrupt me or speak over me;
- I take no responsibility for how I’m feeling;
- I take no responsibility for creating my feelings, and
- I take zero ownership for my feelings.
- I point my finger, looking outside of myself and blame Tu for making me feel upset or annoyed, and therefore,
- I am suggesting that Tu has the power to make me feel upset or annoyed, and
- I am suggesting I am powerless in how I’m feeling!
- I will feel justified and comfortable speaking accusingly to Tu, saying
- ‘You’re the worst listener I know.
- You can’t even let me finish my sentence.
- You constantly interrupt me’,
- (Note all the ‘you’ messages, blaming and attacking Tu), and/or
- I will comfortably bad-mouth Tu behind his back to anyone that’ll listen to me, saying
- ‘Tu annoys me so much.
- He is so rude.
- He doesn’t even notice how rude he is.
- He’s always interrupting me mid-sentence.
- He drives me nuts.’
When I react and blame, I really am handing over my power to someone else. I don’t feel centred. I feel ruffled. And it’s very hard to begin to listen, understand and learn from my feelings, when I believe someone else is ‘making’ me feel them.
Choice 2) I own and respond
When I’m owning my feeling as my creation:
- I am taking full responsibility for how I’m feeling
- I am taking full responsibility for creating my feeling, and therefore
- I take 100% ownership for my feelings, and so
- I look inwards and ask myself ‘how is it I’m feeling this way?’, and with this curiosity and compassion for myself,
- I begin to uncover the full range of emotions behind my ‘upset’ feeling.
- I may be feeling ignored or belittled or disrespected, but I now have an opportunity to create a pause and listen to and explore how I’m feeling, (which I cannot do as long as I am looking outside and blaming someone else for ‘making’ me feel how I’m feeling)
- I feel solid in myself and empowered, (not disempowered by Tu),
- I trust that this feeling I am creating is my wisdom and my intuition
- When I embrace my feelings as my creation, coming from me and for me, I feel empowered to take action for myself. Rather than labelling Tu as ‘rude’ or bad-mouthing Tu behind his back, I am in a solid place of speaking my truth and taking self-caring actions for myself, saying eg
- ‘I feel disrespected when I’m interrupted.
- I feel unheard.
- I feel ignored.
- This conversation doesn’t feel respectful for me, so I’m not going to continue it.’
- Note all the ‘I’ messages owning how I feel and taking responsibility for all my feelings
*Owning our feelings as our creation gives us a wonderful opportunity to look for the wisdom in our feelings, to hear what our feelings are communicating, to speak our truth and to take action for ourselves.