The need for emotional self-responsibility

I feel like one of the most important things I’ve done for myself is learning how to objectively (and compassionately) observe my emotions.

Often, when something outside of ourselves triggers us into a feeling, whether it’s anger, jealousy, fear, or any other uncomfortable emotion, we instinctively blame whatever or whoever caused it. “You’re making me feel this way!” And though this is true, deeper understanding comes when we can turn that experience back inward, to stop and ask ourselves, WHY do I feel this way? What am I holding onto that is causing me to react to what’s being said/done? What other experiences is this emotion connected to? What is the core belief underneath this feeling? What does this emotion feel like in my body? Being able to ask (and answer) some of these questions, whether in the moment or reflecting on them later, is the start towards becoming more emotionally agile. This is how we build deeper relationships, so that we can have more nuanced, difficult conversations without taking things hyper personally.

A lot of us are at the mercy of the external world making us feel a certain way, causing us to shut down or lash out at it, but it’s possible to strengthen our inner world by learning to instead use triggers as catalysts for becoming more self-aware. However, this is a process that involves taking more self-responsibility for how we feel/react and to develop a healthier relationship to our emotions, which essentially just means becoming more loving and compassionate with ourselves and our own life experiences. Self-compassion is the doorway to which we can better understand and relate to ourselves, which can then lead to a deeper understanding and acceptance of others. And with the increasing division right now, I feel like this will become an even more pivotal skill for us to learn.

If we just keep projecting our emotions onto others rather than compassionately questioning our own reactions, we’ll miss the opportunity to extract the lessons or insights so that we can actually release ourselves from the energetic hold they have on us. We must become more curious and less judgmental towards ourselves and how we feel. We need to learn how to sit with our emotions, to question, explore, express and give compassion to them, rather than suppress or project them. If 2020 was the year that all of our fears were triggered, 2021 is the year we must actually begin to face them so that we can move forward in a more loving, compassionate direction.

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