You have some sort of holiday leftovers in your fridge, right? : a little crust of this, an ignominious ball of that, a glop of something resembling nothing which is leaning up the inside of a tupperware bowl.
Your emotions can be leftovers too! And they can feel a lot gloppier than whatever is growing in your fridge. And, for many of us, including me, the Christmas holidays bring up old feelings of Christmases less than perfect, or even downright ugly.
Usually the stronger the leftover feelings of loneliness, frustration, anxiety, and sadness are, the longer you have been carrying them around with you.
If you are among the lucky ones who have a long history of joyful, warm, loving, and strife free Christmases as a child I’m so happy for you!! Please share here some of your happy memories and warm leftover emotions.
Back to the unpleasant leftover emotions for a moment: How do you know if an emotion is a leftover emotion or an emotion firmly planted in the present???
Let’s see: Does the emotion seem out of synch with the situation? Are you reacting more strongly to a family member than seems reasonable?
Are you flying off the handle or going into a funk over something that seems”simple”?
If so, you are witnessing an emotion that is leftover from long ago; it has popped into your present life to stink it up, like the leftover stinky cheese in the refrigerator!
This leftover could be guilt: This is stirred up for a lot of us, especially women, thinking we have to create perfect experiences for our families to counter-balance what we feel like are failures in Christmases past. The imposter leftover guilt often comes with the thoughts “I haven’t done enough, or I’ve done the wrong thing,” or images in your mind of past Christmas “failures.”
So what to do? If only it was as easy as getting rid of old food in the refrigerator!!
If you’re like me, your favorite part of the year is clearing out the old and making a space for the brand new.
But leftover emotions are a little trickier than a quick dump into the garbage. 😉
Trickier, yes! And I’ll tell you the trick right here:
You can learn to choose to be with your stinky leftover emotions rather in them, and, surely as the sun comes up in the morning, wean yourself from them.
And of course you need Eight Steps for this task!!!
Ta Da!! 8 Steps to Wean Yourself from Unpleasant Leftover Emotions!!
1. Notice when you are anxious, angry, or irritable, or tearful. This part–the noticing– is huge!!! Once you’ve noticed, you’re halfway to freedom.
2. Feel which part of your body is going all spasmodic on you– stomach doing a back flip, head starting to pound, your shoulders and neck knotting up?
3. Reassure yourself that the deep emotion you’re feeling is a leftover one from an earlier day–or you wouldn’t be feeling it so strongly, right?!!!
4. Ask yourself “what do I want to feel right now? Do I want to re-experience this strong negative emotion–this echo from my past?
5. Affirm that you can chose a different emotion. You can chose peaceful or relaxed or joyful. You can chose loving and charitable with even the most irritating people and circumstances. Ok, I’m looking for some push back on this one. It’s really hard to do.
6. Pace yourself. This is a process you practice one day at a time.
7. And by the way, practice does not make perfect! Remember, even doctors practice medicine and those who have to endure their practicing are called patience . . . or is it patients? Hehe.
8. Be victorious: A wonderful benefit of being present with your leftover emotions is being able to notice what is going on around you–to be the observer of your own experience.
Folks who are observers of their experiences rather than being trapped in them are able to tell wonderful stories.
Want to become a storyteller? Observe your leftover emotions and tell us your stories!!
I would love to hear from YOU!