The other day I was out walking with a friend, who told me about a class she had taken about mindfulness and fear. One of the questions they asked in the class was, “who is it (in me) that is feeling this fear?” I think that is such a useful question to ask, and it can be extrapolated to a number of situations in life.
“Who is it in me that’s stressed?” “Who is it in me that’s worried?” “Who is it in me that wants this second piece of chocolate cake?” When we only feel the stress or the worry or the craving it is easy to just react to the feeling, which isn’t always productive. When we ask the question we disidentify from the feeling and the feeling loses some of its power over us.
The question helps us begin to understand where the feeling comes from and the reason behind it. Perhaps we’re stressed not just because we have a new presentation coming up at work, but also because we have a belief that if we don’t please everyone we will be abandoned. When we recognize that our work stress and our core belief about abandonment have become intertwined we can then separate them. We can begin to question if our core belief is really true and give support and acceptance to the part of ourselves that fears abandonment. Doing so, we free up energy to focus on what we need to do to create a presentation we feel proud of.