November 13, 2021 by Molly Patrick

When we want something to be different than it is

When we get upset, it’s usually for one of two reasons:

  1. We have something we don’t want.
  2. We want something we don’t have.

Those two things can be condensed into the one thing that causes suffering:

Wanting something (or someone) to be different than it is.

This causes suffering because when we argue, fight, resist, or avoid reality, we lose the battle 100% of the time. When we do not accept that something (or someone) is exactly the way it is, we will always be disappointed.

That doesn’t mean you have to excuse a behavior or like a situation; it just means you accept the reality of it. As I’ve talked about before, we can accept something and work on making it different. That’s the prerequisite for change. We must first acknowledge that something is not working and then take action to make the change we want.

The next time you notice yourself wanting something to be different than it is, I have something for you to try.

Let's say you're in bed one night, unable to sleep because your cat didn’t come home, and you really want her home.

Or maybe you're upset because you want to be healthier than you currently are.

Perhaps you're pissed because your partner did something you did not want them to do.

Instead of thinking, “I want my cat home,” think to yourself, “This is how I feel when I want my cat home, and she’s not.” Name the emotion and where you feel it in your body. Maybe it’s unsettled and you feel it in your chest.

Instead of thinking, “I want to be healthier than I currently am,” think instead, “this is how I feel when I want to be healthier than I am right now.” Name the emotion and where you feel it. Maybe it’s disappointed, and you feel it in your stomach.

Instead of thinking, “I wish my partner had not done that,” think instead, “this is how I feel when my partner does something I don’t want them to do.” Name the emotion and where you feel it. Maybe it’s annoyed, and you feel it in your shoulders and neck.

This technique will allow you to start processing and feeling your feelings instead of fighting against them.

Now do this:

Ask yourself: “How would I feel if my cat came home right now?” Name the feeling, maybe it’s peaceful. How you can feel some peace right now, even when your cat is not home? Can you focus on how safe you are right now and know that you will still be safe whether or not your cat comes home?

Ask yourself: “How would I feel if I were the healthiest person in the world?” Name the feeling, maybe it’s proud. How can you be proud of yourself right now without changing a thing about you? Can you remind yourself how awesome you are for accomplishing difficult things in the past?

Ask yourself: “How would I feel if my partner did not do that thing?” Name the feeling, maybe it’s loved. How can you give yourself some love right now, regardless of what your partner did? Can you remind yourself you are capable of giving and receiving love no matter what?

This allows you to focus on things you can control instead of grasping at things that are out of your control at the moment (or ever).

To dive deeper into processing feelings and letting go of shit you can't control, join me for Office Hours, held every Wednesday. All of our Meal Plan subscribers get access.

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Written by ex-boozer and ex-smoker, Molly Patrick that will
help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down
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