Living in the present—and being fully in the moment—is one of the hardest things for humans. Or I should say for most adults. Children seem to excel at being in this moment.
What often takes us away from the now is either worry about something that might happen, or revisiting a past event.
Last week an interaction with someone left me feeling hurt. I felt a disconnection. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt.
Fortunately, I caught myself doing this (though I admit it took me longer than I had hoped). So I consciously took time to ground and asked my intuition what was going on.
Instinctively I knew something was off. Except where I thought the other person was disconnecting, something else was at play: an old story was dubbing over the present situation—distorting my perception.
Realizing that helped me see things in perspective. That change in perspective allowed me to understand it was all in my head. None of what I thought had been happening was even real!
If you’re human, chances are you do that, too.
In fact, 9 out of 10 times our hurt is imagined rather than real. Chances are you’re playing a past hurt over the movie of the present. When you believe you’re in that past (painful) film again, your fear feeds you confirmation of what is “off”.
Remember, what we focus on we attract. That’s how our brain works.
Being tied to that past event ensures you misinterpret any cues—because you’re watching through the skewed lens of hurt.
Most of the time whatever you think is happening has nothing to do with the truth and everything with pain from the past.
It’s so important to catch yourself at doing this. Because it’s usually something that’s happening only in your imagination and has very little to do with reality or how the other person has intended the interaction.
Most likely they have no idea that this interaction or situation has triggered you.
It’s not about trying not to feel your emotions. It’s about being conscious that certain events trigger certain feelings, and consciously choosing how you allow those emotions to be present. How you allow yourself to be present—given what you feel.
When you give yourself the gift of taking a pause to gain some perspective, you’ll be better able to respond from what’s actually happening rather than disconnect to avoid the pain, or react through the red haze of hurt.
The tricky thing is that even though the hurt is ‘only’ happening in your head, it feels very much real. And you are feeling it in this moment.
The fact that your feelings are technically not warranted given what actually happened, doesn’t take away the pain.
So give yourself a moment to feel your emotions first. Be present.
I know it’s not easy to stay present and connected when you’re feeling hurt or afraid.
Here’s what I recommend in that situation:
- Focus on your breathing. Place a hand on your lower belly and allow your breathing to slow down and deepen.
- Ground yourself. You can use this audio-recording for that.
- Allow your emotions to be present. Be angry, cry, vent. Do whatever you need to give space to what you feel and let it out of your system.
- Journal about what is being triggered for you. Or talk to a coach, mentor or trusted friend (but not the person involved!).
- Sort through your feelings and the actual event. See what belongs in the past, and what is part of the present.
When we don’t stop to wonder whether what we are feeling is the result from something that happened today or whether it’s born from a past hurt—then we set ourselves up to relive that pattern over and over again.
When we assume the other person is to blame (because that’s usually our first assumption when we’re triggered) we never heal our past.
Doing your inner work is not always easy or fun. But I believe it’s crucial if you want to live a happy, healthy life and enjoy connecting with others.
My book Radiant not only helps you gain more energy, but it helps you do some of your inner work as well. Because that’s where many of us lose a lot of energy!
Have a wonderfilled day full of energy!
PS This is what Pamela says about my book Radiant:
“Loved this book. Iris writes with a sense of humor while addressing the often-overlooked fundamentals of a life full of energy. I found this book is easy to read, well-structured with surprising tips. It is all woven together by personal experiences that make it very relatable and allows me to look at my life without shame or guilt, but with an accepting smile….and change it. I highly recommend this book; it has given me new tools to take better care of myself and have that spring in my step to create the life I desire!”