(willingness to feel)
If you are on this skills page, you are likely experiencing a painful or difficult emotion.
Creating space or opening up to feelings reduces suffering.
Remember, you don't have to like or want the feeling, but can you allow it to be here as part of your experience right now?
Explore skill descriptions, audios and videos below.
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Where do you feel the emotion most intensely? Lay a hand on the part of your body. Send some warmth and kindness to the feeling. Hold the emotion gently with compassion for several cycles of breath.
A Kind Hand
Breathe into It
Breathe into the emotion that you are experiencing. See if you can visualize the emotion (maybe give it a shape or a color), and as you breathe, imagine your breath flowing into and around it.
Human beings experience painful thoughts, feelings, and memories just as a result of living: Life turns on the pain switch. We don't get to control that. We do get to control the struggle switch: the extent to which we struggle with our pain. When the struggle switch is on, our pain is amplified. See if, in this moment, you can turn off the struggle switch and allow pain as it is.
Consider how much time and effort is going toward avoiding feelings. What would it be like to stop wasting energy on avoiding pain, and instead turn that energy to things that you care about or are meaningful to you.
Invite it In
Feelings are guests in our home. Some are here only for a moment and some stick around longer. Notice what you are feeling in this moment. What would it be like to invite that feeling in, as a guest in your home? Could you find a way to welcome it (even if it is an unwanted guest that is loud and disturbing)?
What's On The Other Side of The Coin?
When we have difficult thoughts and feelings, there is almost always something that we care about close by. For example, if we are experiencing fears of rejection, we probably care about relationships and being with other people. They are 2 sides of the same coin, and you can't get rid of the difficult thoughts and feelings without giving up something that you deeply care about. Right now, you might want to get rid of pain, but what would you be giving up?
Emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle, the more you sink. It's counterintuitive, but the way out of the struggle is to maximize contact. Practice contacting your emotional experience.
Practice allowing a difficult thought or feeling to be present. It is here anyway. See if you can say to the thought or feeling, "It is OK that you are here now."
Explore the Feeling
Slow down and notice the feeling that you are having. See if you can be curious about it, rather than needing it to go away. Where do you experience it in your body? (in your chest? your stomach?). If it had a color, a temperature, a texture, or sound...what would it be? If this feeling could talk what might it say? Does it have a need?
Is this a LIFE feeling? When we are engaged in our lives, doing things that matter to us, there is the potential to feel and feel deeply. The potential for pain comes from caring. Only if you have loved do you know loss. Can you let yourself have the feelings that come from living a full life as a conscious, human being?
Take a moment to notice the feeling you are having. See if you can create a little more space for the feeling to be there, maybe by breathing some air around it. You don’t have to want it or like it, but can you make space for it? Making space for it can allow you to approach or stick to things that are hard.
Give it Space
Take the Feeling Along for The Ride
Feelings are like passengers, they can come along for the ride, but they don't get to drive! Anxiety shows up when your headed to a show? That's OK. Let it come along. Sadness shows up as you think about shows you have missed? It can come too! All of these feelings can come along for the ride while you travel in the direction of your values.
Emotions are like waves. Practice letting them have their natural rhythm of rising and falling. Imagine that you are standing on the beach, and the waves wash over you while you stay standing. See if you can sense. the gentle rise and fall.
Urges feel like they will last forever and that we need to listen to them in order to experience relief. Try this instead: Acknowledge the urge, but don't do the action, Delay it. Use the urge as a signal for self-reflection (What else am I feeling now? sadness? anxiety?). Address any need the urge is communicating (for example, the need for social support), and ride the wave.
The Unwelcome Party Guest
(Video - 4 min)
The Struggle Switch
(Video - 3 min)
(Video - 3 min)