We see in all the colors of the rainbow, and yet we tend to think in black and white. Up, down. Cold, hot. Good, bad. Love, hate. Empty, full. Yet, all these opposites have middle grounds.
Think of the canopy of the rainforest. It is up from all the creatures who dwell on the ground, but down for all the birds in the sky. Between cold and hot we have the many degrees of warmth. Who decides what is good and bad? And how do you account for a “good” person whose done “bad” things but for “good” reasons, and a person whose done “good” to serve their own self interest? Does that make them “bad?” Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is. The truth about love and hate is they are both stops on the same emotional spectrum and can be felt at different levels on any given day. And how do you classify the glass filled with water only halfway? Half empty or half full?
There’s more than shades of grey in between black and white, and the colors will look different to all of us. Just like there are more levels to awareness than simply unaware and aware.
Perhaps you’re aware of your feelings, but not what causes them. Perhaps you’re aware of your reactions but not the emotions behind them. It is difficult to make change if you’re unaware of where change needs to happen.
Practice awareness every day. To start, when you become upset, pause and take note of where in the body you’re feeling upset. Is your chest constricted? Your stomach clenched? Do you feel lightheaded? Is your jaw clenching? Simply practice becoming aware of where your body reacts to emotions and don’t try to change it, just breathe. Take these moments to practice your belly breathing and allow the emotion to pass.
This is a daily and lifelong practice. You will not catch yourself every time. And that’s okay. Perfection is not the goal here, practice is. And practicing sporadically is better than not at all. Over time, you will begin to notice patterns and triggers. You will be more aware of your emotions in certain situations and better able to recognize what is going on with your body. You will be better able to accept the emotions as they rise, and allowing them room to pass will help them move along much more quickly.