Who hasn’t continued sludging through heavy emotions hours after a situation ended? Or lashed out at an innocent person after someone else hurt us? Or started warming up in preparation to whop some ass because a careless, murderous, non-driving-son-of-a-you-know-what dam near mowed you over with their car?
That last one might be a little too specific to relate to, but that’s what happened to me and Whiskey one morning.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that when I saw the car coming back, I assumed it was because they heard me bellow out “F*ck you!” and were going to angrily confront me. So I looked for a safe spot to plant Whiskey while I slammed their head into their car hood.
See, if you put my dogs in danger, I’m coming for you.
By now, you may see that I, like most people, wrestle with very strong emotions from time to time.
I hope you trust me when I say not even 24 hours before this situation, I listened to a webinar given by Tree Franklyn at FindYourInnerHappy.com that led to a surprising twist to the end of this story.
You might find it helpful, too, so let’s take a look.
Bad mood food
Even though there was supposed to be an agreement between the housing developer and the county government, sidewalks were never put in our neighborhood. People park on the shoulder and there are hills and turns, making it a bit of a danger in places. But everyone who lives here knows it and most drivers swing wide to avoid hitting walkers and bikers.
Even so, whenever a car comes, I call Whiskey in closer to me and we scuddle off the shoulder into front yards to make everyone more comfortable.
This car coming toward us, however, drifted closer to the middle of the road. I also noticed it seemed to be going fast, so I motioned to slow down.
It didn’t. Instead, it veered toward us. By the time it passed me (Whiskey was a safe three or four feet further away), it was so close, I literally couldn’t see inside the car.
That’s when I growled after it, along with accompanying sign language.
I stared daggers after it until it was out of sight a couple minutes later.
I had to release my anger for Whiskey’s sake, but I could have exploded.
And even moreso when I spotted the car creeping back toward us. I either had to get myself in order or someone was going to get hurt.
In my head, I already assumed many things about the driver – they were a low-IQ, worthless, zero care or concern about hurting anyone, no buisness driving, probably does drugs and fights dogs, and just basically doesn’t care about any life, not even their own. (Isn’t it interesting, the stories we tell ourselves when we don’t know the facts?)
Once I realized these were made-up details, I dropped them. But the fact still remained this person almost hit us. And that still pissed me off.
Enter Tree’s webinar.
She had presented a four step process for working through emotions. This seemed like a good time to try.
The steps are statements you say out loud. It’s important to vocalize because our voices are energy, and by verbally expressing that energy, you’ve already started the process of release. Here they are:
- Say “I am (fill in emotion).” Let that sit for a minute and feel it. Once that edge softens …
- Say “I feel (fill in emotion).” Now you’ve moved from identifying yourself as the emotion, to acknowledging it’s just a temporary state of feeling. After that softens …
- Say “I feel energy.” This is my favorite step, because here you strip away the story of what you’re feeling and just be with sensation. It’s similar to letting go of the story you tell yourself in favor of sticking to the facts.
- Finally, say “I feel.” This is when you acknowledge youself in the present moment, being here and now, alive, and experiencing life. Suddenly, your emotion becomes a cause to celebrate!
Or not. If the situation that led to the emotion hasn’t resloved yet. But still, when the time came to be face-to-face with that driver, I could do so minus the I’m-going-to-kill-you-because-you-tried-to-kill-me emotion.
I’m soooo glad I did.
The driver wasn’t a cold-blooded criminal afterall. She was a lovely, young girl, shaking, red-faced, and teary-eyed, terrified she hurt us. (Well, not so much “us” as Whiskey, but that endeared her to me even more.)
Any further emotion I felt gave way to respect. It took tremendous bravery for her to circle back and check on us, especially after my ferocious outburst. She didn’t know who she was coming back to or what would happen either. I acknowledged that and thanked her.
I believed her when she said she learned her lesson to not drive distracted.
I learned that people make really stupid mistakes. It doesn’t mean they’re terrible people.
I also learned that some advice may sound overly simplistic and may make you feel a little awkward, but, by golly, try it. It just might change your emotions and your story, too.
Thanks for stopping by today.