Updated: Dec 17, 2019
We all want the same things in life: to be happy and be free from suffering. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try to avoid suffering, we can never run from it completely. It is unavoidable. The best thing we can do is to learn to accept our feelings.
Are you in the habit of resisting your feelings? We cause ourselves so much extra pain by judging our feelings and refusing to accept them. (I’ve found myself falling back into this a lot lately). If we can allow ourselves to feel without identifying with our feelings and then learn to accept them for what they are, we allow space for them to move though us.
When you feel anxiety/negative feelings coming on try these steps*:
1) Don't panic - remind yourself that these feelings are temporary, just a bit of bad weather in the sky of the mind. They cannot cause you lasting harm.
2) Avoid identifying with these feelings - rather than thinking, "I'm so anxious" you can change that to "feelings of anxiety are arising within me." (Doesn't that feel so much better?) Remember, you are not your thoughts. Feelings come and go but your remain.
3) Patiently accept the feelings - instead of judging yourself or rejecting your feelings, see if you can just allow yourself to be with them. By not giving extra energy to them, the feelings begin to fade.
Learning to accept your feelings is a practice. Your mind is likely not very accustomed to this practice, so like learning anything else, it will take time. Have patience. If you continue to put in the effort, acceptance will become easier and easier. And remember, don't judge yourself for making a mistake or forgetting. Always be patient and loving with yourself. You are doing the best you can!
*Words of wisdom with great inspiration from Gen Chodor and the Kadampa Meditation Center Sarasota