I had hung up on him. I was fuming.
I had been trying to get details about a health insurance plan and the guy said he wasn't supposed to help me unless I signed with him as my insurance agent.
So he wouldn't answer basic questions that he obviously knew the answer to unless there was something in it for him. That pissed me off.
At the same time I was thinking, I shouldn't let this bother me. I'm experienced enough in life to know that I shouldn't take this personally.
Emotions: Information or Obstacles?
Emotions can be incredible sources of information about how aligned we are within ourselves and with the world around us. This information can help us to make decisions and act on them.
At the same time, it's hard to make a clear decision when we're smack in the middle of an emotion and haven't yet dealt with its presence. This can lead to reactive behavior such as hanging up the phone on someone.
So how can we resolve this dilemma?
Emotions are Part of the Human Experience
Emotions are part of the human experience so we're going to have them.
But they are also temporary – often compared to ocean waves, they ebb and flow.
So how can we benefit from emotion without falling victim to it? Here are the words I tell myself when this question comes to mind:
- When you have an emotion you want to have, enjoy it while it lasts.
- When you have an emotion that's not so pleasant, know that this too shall pass.
Mind the Wave
Either way, I've come to realize how important it is to "mind the wave" – to be conscious of both the physical sensations I'm having and the story I'm telling myself when an emotion is present.
So after I had hung up on the insurance guy, I sat on the couch and resisted the urge to check my email or make a cup of tea. I was determined to sit there in silence – to be mindful of the wave of emotion I was experiencing – until some clarity arose.
I allowed the wave to roll through me as I tuned into my body and paid attention to my thoughts.
I didn't enjoy the experience at first, but then I began to find it interesting. At the same time, I felt the emotion begin to ebb, which gave me the courage to face the information that flowed in:
- Health insurance is complicated. The system needs work.
- I needed help. This guy wasn't helping me.
- The process wasn't going to be easy. I needed to do more work than I had expected.
- I needed to find additional resources so that I could make an informed decision.
For me, the treasure I uncovered was Information and mobilization. But to find it, I had to accept that I was experiencing an emotion, maintain awareness of it as it moved through me, then take responsibility for my actions along the way.
© 2015 Dr. Kristin Rose