Connect With Your Kind, Wise Self: A Surprisingly Powerful Practice to Manage Difficult Feelings!

This article was written during the COVID pandemic—a strange and unprecedented time around the world when we all felt waves of fear and anxiety. It was so hard to sit there and wait, feeling powerless and uncertain as to what comes next…

One of most common mental health challenges is facing and allowing our difficult thoughts and feelings. We live in a society that teaches us to focus on the positive, and to use willpower and logic to overcome any thoughts and feelings that don’t fit the happy, positive model of how we could and should be.

During the pandemic we all had to deal with difficult feelings. And I saw it as an opportunity to re-learn how to connect with—and feel—our difficult and awkward feelings.

Because we’re taught that feelings are ‘irrational’—and to overcome feelings with logic. Yet one of the biggest issues I see when people are unhappy or dissatisfied with life is that they’re disconnected from what they really feel.

It’s our unhappiness and dissatisfaction, our fear and worry, that tell us what is most important to us! So it’s really, really important to look at and feel these difficult feelings—with kindness and compassion.

And here’s another really interesting reason to pay attention to your ‘difficult’ feelings:

  • Neuroscience research has shown that when we’re compassionate, our courage grows: having empathy, understanding and being willing to be with ourselves in difficulty actually increases our courage.
So when we’re going through a difficult time, apply Fierce Kindness!

How do you apply Fierce Kindness?

So what does this look like? Well, Fierce Kindness is a courageous kindness that doesn’t look away from difficulty or challenges. Fierce Kindness faces the truth of what is—with self-compassion and inner strength.

1) Start by imagining you have a kind, wise self

This kind, wise self is already a part of you. It’s unflappable, intelligent and sometimes fierce. And it’s never mean or petty. It unconditionally loves you. ALL of you.

2) Build out the image of your kind, wise self!

  • Take a moment to round out the image of your kind, wise self.
  • If you had a kind, wise self, how would they look? What age are they? What would they wear? What hairstyle do they have?
  • This should be a you that is you at your best, both physically and mentally. A kind, wise you that inspires and uplifts you!
  • Also consider how they sound, the facial expressions and energy you feel from them.

3) Connect with this kind, wise self whenever you need it!

  • Now, when you need it, imagine that kind, wise self is with you, supporting you. This could be, but is not limited to:
    • Giving you a hug.
    • Helping you see—and process what you feel.
    • Saying exactly what you need to hear (not just the sugary stuff, but also the tough love and common sense).

Because ironically, it’s looking closer at, embracing and soothing our unpleasant feelings that stops them from taking over.

When we ignore our difficult feelings, especially fear and worry, they don’t magically disappear. Whatever thoughts or fears you had are still there, we just plaster over them, stuff them down. And then they simply pop back up whenever we let our guard down. And if we ignore long or hard enough they can even increase.

Often our feelings just need to be seen, heard, acknowledged. The part of us that is afraid simply needs to know that we’ve got this, that we can handle this. And that’s where our kind, wise self can come in handy.

Our kind, wise self is strong, nurturing and wise. It reassures.

And when we connect to our kind, wise self on a regular basis, this practice leads to a larger feeling of acceptance and inner peace.

What you resist persists. And what you look at, disappears. Neale Donald Walsch

For some more tips on managing our feelings, you may like this “3 As Model” to Compassionately Manage your Difficult Feelings.

Wrap up

Our fears are not all of who we are—they’re just a part of us. But if we ignore this part of us, those fears can fester.

Our emotions have a mind of their own, one which can hold views quite independently of our rational mind. Daniel Goleman

So when you’re going through a difficult time, instead of avoiding your feelings, set aside time regularly to check-in with what you’re feeling.

Then using your kind, wise self, accept and actually feel your feelings as a way of mentally taking care of yourself.

Because when we look at our emotions and fears and acknowledge them, it helps that part of us relax. Our kind, wise self can reassure us. We can take action if we need to.

So when you feel uncomfortable—whether it’s fear, frustration, boredom, anger, sadness or something else, be KIND and compassionate with yourself.

Not only will this boost your courage, but this essential practice for happiness will also serve you in the decades to come.

I’ll leave you with a final quote:

Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for truth. Benjamin Disraeli

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