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Ridiculous Shoes, yes

Make it a habit to notice how often you judge your feelings. I regularly hear people say their feelings are silly, stupid, or ridiculous. There are ridiculous shoes and TV shows, but not ridiculous feelings. They just are what they are. A judgmental reaction to emotions sets you up to be hating and struggling with what you feel.

It seems that what people actually mean if they say their feelings are silly is that it’s hard to understand why certain feelings happen at certain moments. Why would I feel sad on my long-awaited day off, when I finally get to the beach? There is often a logic to feelings, but it’s not always so easy to perceive. If we are thoughtful and compassionate with ourselves we may realize that finally slowing down on our day off may allow less pleasant feelings to come up, which a busy life hasn’t made room for. At other times we may not be able to understand why any feeling arises when it does. Drop the expectation that your feelings should always make sense. Do your friends, or the weather, always make sense? Feelings are like the weather. Various atmospheric conditions cause our local weather, but we can’t always see what they are. Consider getting more comfortable with thinking of feelings as mysterious. I once heard Joseph Goldstein, one of the pioneers in bringing meditation to the west, say that one of his most useful mantras is “who knows?”. It reminds him that he doesn’t have to have an explanation for everything that happens.

Take the pressure off you and your feelings. Shrug your shoulders, smile, and say “Who knows?”

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