My rollercoaster of emotions is very real right now in the midst of quarantine. It’s like every morning, my mind says, “Alright Mere, keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle, because we are about to go on a RIDE today!” Sometimes it seems like I am just trapped in my feels and can’t escape. Maybe you can relate to this? It’s like I can’t get a hold of my emotions and I become frustrated when my feelings fluctuate. I can start a day feeling motivated and joyful, but by 3pm I am sad and anxious. Well, that was my Saturday.
I was becoming frustrated because I was giving my feelings too much power. I was letting myself feel them, but it got to a point where I was ruminating on my anxiety and it was only making it worse. Luckily, I had been listening to the “Shine for Anxiety” series via the Shine Text App which had equipped me with tools to use when I begin feeling this way. My anxiety was spiraling as I began to feel sad and worrisome about the unknown. My negative thoughts were taking over and I wanted them to stop.
So instead of numbing my feelings with food or alcohol or distracting myself with a task or tv show, I took some breaths, closed by eyes, and got curious about my feelings. I noticed them and asked myself, “Why?”
Why am I feeling sad in this moment?
Why might I feel more anxious than I have all week?
Why did this onset of emotions come?
And from there, I was able to learn and grow. I was able to acknowledge how I felt and move forward with confidence. Today I want to address two ways that curiosity is serving me right now and why I think it is super important to employ in our lives if we wish to grow. I believe we need to be getting curious about two things – our feelings and our opportunities.
Get Curious About Your Feelings
So when I became anxious, sad, and frustrated on Saturday, I got curious about why I was feeling that way. I concluded that I was feeling frustrated because some of my friends in states that were reopening at a faster rate than North Carolina were getting to do things I wanted to do once again. I was frustrated to have to continue to stay home. I felt sad that I was “stuck” at home yet again on a weekend. I missed my friends and getting to explore. This is just me being super real, y’all.
With this new information about my feelings, I was able to move from being a victim to my emotions to being empowered by them. Because I discovered the source of my feelings (I felt out of control), I was able to make a decision that provided a solution. I decided Michael and I would go on a hike the next day. Nature always heals our souls and there are so many beautiful trails we have yet to explore near where we live. The weather was going to be sunny and breezy, so it seemed like the perfect day. And indeed, it was the healing for my soul I needed.
I don’t know if I would have made this decision to hike if I hadn’t taken time to investigate my emotions. I may have just felt sad for myself and ruminated in them for longer than what was healthy. So the next time you find yourself in a mess of emotions, try and get some distance from them and simply ask yourself, Why am I feeling this way? Maybe by getting to your source, you can also get to your solution.
Get Curious About New Opportunities
This morning I attended a virtual session held by Shine where members of the community listened to a psychologist share insights and answer questions about anxiety. Part of the session including breaking out into pairs and having discussions about the various topics. These one-on-one sessions were only five minutes long, yet they still made me nervous.
At the beginning of each pairing session, the screen would ask me if I wanted a match or if I wanted to sit this one out. I’ll admit, even as someone who is hungry for connection, I thought about opting out a time or two. I just didn’t want it to be weird or awkward. I don’t know, something about talking to a stranger about anxiety is just a little nerve wracking! But wow am I glad I channeled my nervousness into curiosity and said yes every time.
I connected with a woman in Singapore, where it was 9pm at night, about our values and we learned how similar they are. I spoke to a woman in Canada about honoring my real feelings. And I was encouraged by a woman in the Bronx to speak self-compassion to myself when I’m engulfed in negative self-talk.
Y’all. It was incredible. It was soul care in the best way and I almost didn’t say yes to connecting because I was afraid I’d be awkward. Yeah, it felt weird at first, but don’t all new experiences? Don’t they all scare us a bit?
So I encourage you, the next time a new opportunity presents itself to you, no matter how big or small, instead of shooing it away because it is new and might make you uncomfortable, get curious about what it could provide. What might you gain? How might it serve you? What if it was good? You’ll never know unless you try.
So my intention this week is to continue to get curious about my feelings and my opportunities. So far, this practice has served me well and has led me to speak to myself with more compassion. It’s helped me feel empowered when sticky feelings arise and helped me grow in ways I didn’t expect.
What can you get curious about this week?