“But who considers my feelings nanny?” said my friend’s granddaughter, after unloading that she is always being asked to share and to consider others. A good question for all of us to ask.
Who cares how you feel? You should.
Thinking about others before you is something many of us do, although it shows up in many ways. Symbio yoghurt in New Zeeland produced an ad recently about incredible women, it was a poignant reminder to look after you, rather than put others before yourself.
However, I would argue that those of you who can’t relate to the motherly image are still putting others before yourself. The messaging that starts from the moment we are born, like the well meaning advice to be considerate of others, puts others in the driving seat of our life’s experiences. Of course I’m not saying it’s wrong to consider others, what I am saying is consider you first.
I’ve just finished reading Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard, in which a young man, engaged to be married, faces some truths about his life. In his story he was physically abused by his father, and the messaging he continually replayed and built upon over the years was about him just being a pest, therefore his ideas and his needs not being worthy of consideration.
We all have some version of “I’m not worthy” in our heads. It can start as well meaning advice or expectations, or be an act of cruelly born out of others’ low self esteem, but is it the way to your best life?
How about making it a priority to feel good before making decisions, helping others, attending meetings? Think about it, how often are things asked of you, or expected of you when you are not in a great space? Too often. That is not about the demands and expectations; it is about the way you feel much of the time.
For most of us, we tend to let the things we observe dictate the way we feel. A regular meeting that follows a predictable unproductive pattern. A child who always seems to behave in a certain way towards a sibling. A partner who seems only to consider themselves.
Our experiences are wide in variety, yet predictable in their patterns. Another event following the same path as previous ones, our feelings navigating the stories in our minds reinforced again and again. Stuck in endless loops of some version of what happened in your childhood.
Yet consider the times when you have felt on a high. Perhaps you’d just had a breakthrough, or received good news. The same events (the predictable meetings and behaviours of others) take on a different story, this time one that is much more positive.
Good moods are infectious, they create hope, momentum. So do bad ones, except they perpetuate fear. We know this stuff. You know that you and you alone are responsible for the way you feel. It’s not what happens, it’s the how you respond to what happens that determines your experience.
You are not that child any more, you have a choice. What if you simply made it your job to feel good, despite everything you observe around you? By putting in the effort upfront, and holding it as your goal to first and foremost feel good, can you consider how it would change your experiences?
When we feel good, we are always more open and giving. Instead of it being an effort to share or consider others, it would simply be the natural flow of things.
I heard this a long time ago, it even made sense. Yet it’s taken me many more years to begin practicing it. When you do, realization dawns just how much we run on automatic pilot and let the momentum carry us.
Most of my articles are borne of the struggles I’ve had in injecting a conscious effort to feel good in the everyday things, yet it’s made a difference. I’m much more conscious of my actions. Often, a tirade gets stopped in its tracks as I feel myself (metaphorically) take a helicopter ride and look at situations from a broader perspective.
I do feel insane when one moment I’m automatically reacting to the kids fighting with each other, yelling at the top of my lungs, then, poof, quick as a flash, realization dawns as I become conscious of what I’m doing. “Oops, sorry kids I say, mum’s being grumpy. I need to get myself in a good space.”
I find I’m looking people in the eyes more, especially those I’m closest to. If I avoid eye contact, I know I’m not in a good space, so I make it my priority to feel better.
For each of us that means different things, it might be as simple as stroking the cat, stepping outside for a breath of fresh air and a look at the view, putting on some rousing music, or it might mean meditating, going for a ride or a swim or a run. Whatever works for you, make the effort to do it.
Effort it will be, because it’s easier to let your energy continue to be pulled in the vortex of whatever energy is already in play.
It’s harder to step away from that and do something different.
But if you don’t at least start, you will continue to live constrained by the voices of the past, disguised in some current circumstances. As a child you wished you were grown up so you could make your own choices, your own decisions. So go ahead and make them.
If you want to create a better life, care about how you feel, and make it your priority to feel good.
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