Every morning I start my journaling practice by doing a heart-centered meditation with my Inner Balance Trainer. Before I begin I'm asked to select how I feel on a feelings wheel. This sometimes is the hardest part! I'll look at the options and wonder, where does tired fit in? Or how do I answer "I'm feeling confused"?
Often, the options on the feelings wheel do not accurately match how I'm feeling so I just try to find the one that most closely resembles my internal state.
I find that describing and characterizing my emotions is often elusive. Words hardly seem adequate for the many visceral states of being I experience throughout the day. More often than not, I know I sense something within me but I cannot put it to words in a succinct or clear fashion.
That is why journaling is so helpful for me. Journaling is a safe space for me to process, name and make sense of my feelings. This is especially important as I work out how to best relate to those around me.
When I'm feeling amiss, I might get short and curt with those I love. In fact, this happened recently when I had a less than proud parenting moment. I got mad at my daughter for something she did right before bedtime and could not hold back my venom.
What was going on? Not only did my reaction not fit the situation, but I was also doing exactly the thing I don't want to do - shaming her.
The next morning I wrote in my journal and was able to tease apart the things that happened leading up to that moment that made me unnecessarily explode! I was able to identify the feelings I experienced earlier in the day and how they grew with spite because I did not fully acknowledge them in the moment. You see, I'd been feeling hurt by her words and actions before all this happened.
Gaining this clarity not only helped me to make sense of the situation. It also enabled me to go back to my daughter, to apologize for my behavior, and to directly express the feelings her actions caused within me. Then, I calmly and lovingly told her that if she wants to have certain privileges, I expect her to show me she can be kind (being an emotionally in-tune parent - or leader for that matter - does not mean we have no boundaries).
It was a conversation where we were both able to express our feelings openly and without judgment. We each aired what needed to be said, we listened to the other and agreed to a course of action moving forward. We both felt a sense of relief and a closer bond afterward.
I offer this story as an invitation for you to turn to your journal to help you make sense of your feelings in relation to the people in your life. To tease apart what's happening around you from your internal state of being and see with clarity how those things create a recipe for the way you're showing up in the world.
It is only by possessing such deep self-awareness that you're able to make intentional shifts and show up as a closer resemblance to the person and leader you want to be!
Need to process a situation where you're not showing up as you'd like?!?! Join me for the next Journal Jam on August 26th and I'll guide you to gain valuable insights with just 20 minutes of journaling.