I’ve been thinking lately about dialectical thinking. The ability to view issues from multiple perspectives.
We could definitely use a bit more of this on the world stage. But I’m thinking less globally. More personally.
Despite all my work on myself and despite all the books and therapy and even the way I tried to raise my children and talk to my loved ones, I am a black and white thinker. Things are either this or that. So, if I feel sad, then I am sad. I am a sad person. I am sadness personified and there is no place inside of me for anything but sadness.
But the rational me, because there is a rational me (sometimes), knows that I am not only sadness.
And that is when the judgment begins…
Stop being so sad. Be grateful. Be positive. Look at all the wonderful things in your life. Yep. I bet we’ve all done this. Totally invalidate our experience to feel.
But what if I could feel sadness and gratitude? Then I am letting the feeling be. Feelings—all of them. And I am not making the situation worse by judging myself. And then comes the hard part of actually feeling the sadness or whatever primary emotion I’d rather not feel.
Which, I don’t know about you, happens a lot this time of the year. So much gratitude, but also a lot of heavy and hard emotions. Some of them are new. Some of them are very very very, and yes very old.
And it’s so hard. As psychologist Susan David says, Its hard to human.
It IS hard to human. Some days are easier than others. But when we have those particularly challenging days, maybe we could be a bit more loving with ourselves, put a hand on our hearts and love ourselves. And be gentle.
And remind ourselves that whatever we are feeling, it is there because it is asking to be heard, to be felt. Maybe we can dialogue with it and ask what it wants to say. And listen. And give it space.
And not rush the process. As we hold the hard stuff and easy stuff and the joyful stuff and the really painful shitty stuff. And maybe we could reach out for a loving hand to help us hold all this, because it’s really hard to human.