I was in a group recently and a woman talked about wanting to be happy. The group leader handed her a set of Mixed Emotions cards (see below for a link). She asked her to select ten. In order to explain this better, I’m going to do the same activity.
Step One: I’ve gathered my Mixed Emotions cards.
Step Two: Grab ten cards to represent how you feel and how you want to feel. Don’t take hours to do this – flip through the cards and find ten that “hit” you. Today, I’m feeling very overwhelmed and discouraged because some of my writing plans are not coalescing. And, this is happening because I just don’t understand some important concepts. Based on how I feel and how I want to feel RIGHT THIS MOMENT, I chose the following ten cards:
In case you can’t read the picture, my ten are: inadequate, confused, overwhelmed, confident, proud, encouraged, frustrated, discouraged, hopeful, excited
Step Three: Put the cards in order from the most difficult emotion to the most wanted emotion. This would vary for every one of us. It would also vary based on the day or even the time of day. Today, I put them in this order:
inadequate – discouraged – overwhelmed – confused – frustrated – encouraged – hopeful – excited – confident – proud
Step Four: The woman I mentioned in the opening paragraph spoke of feeling despair and her desire to feel happy. She built her cards starting with despair and ending with joy. Between those she had eight cards that moved her one step closer to joy. Do you get the point?
We can’t go from despair to joy in one step. I can’t go from feeling inadequate to proud in the blink of an eye. BUT I CAN move from feeling inadequate (which is the worst) to feeling discouraged (which is slightly better). Then I can move from discouraged to simply overwhelmed.
I acknowledged I feel inadequate and I became INTENTIONAL in doing something to feel less inadequate. What actions can I take in the next few minutes to stop this inadequate feeling?
Just making this list makes me feel less inadequate. I’m not proud yet – but that was NOT my goal. My goals were simple – 1) be honest with myself about how I feel, 2) acknowledge that this particular feeling will not go away just by wishing, 3) find ways to feel just a bit better.
I’ve spent exactly 20 minutes on this activity (including writing this blog) and I feel so much better. My energy has returned. I have a tiny (very tiny) plan that I know I can handle. Once I’ve done that, I’ll reassess. I may drag my Mixed Emotion Cards back out. Oftentimes I’ve found that finding the most accurate word for my emotion is cathartic.
It’s 2018. Let’s not make crazy resolutions. Let’s resolve to be authentic. Realistic. Intentional. Let’s plan to move ONE SIMPLE STEP towards a better life.
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