Ever have one of those days when you feel everything?
One of those days when your head and your heart are just so full?
Of your stuff? Of other people’s stuff? Of the world’s stuff?
Well, that was me yesterday.
I woke up feeling out of sorts. I was mentally and physically exhausted, nursing an unexplained headache, and overwhelmed about the mental checklist of things I needed and wanted to get done over the next 12 hours. And I felt sad and down on myself and annoyed at others for reasons that I still don’t understand.
Honestly, it was a lot of emotional baggage to be carrying at 7 a.m.
Then there was the constant buzz of anxiety. I’d be working calmly and as soon as I’d get up to grab some water or stretch my back, I’d frantically start to feel like I was supposed to be anxious about something—but I couldn’t remember what.
Have you ever felt like that? Anxious because you forgot what you were supposed to be anxious about?
Yep, it’s just as weird as it sounds.
By the time I sat down for dinner, most of the big feelings had subsided and my head and my heart felt less full. I’m still not sure what caused those feelings to wander off—maybe it was clocking out of work, maybe it was my 20-minute cardio workout, maybe it was washing my hair and putting on sweatpants. But as I sat on my couch scrolling through my phone, I came across a quote from one of my favorite authors, Augusten Burroughs.
It’s a quote I could’ve used 12 hours earlier—and maybe it’s one you could use now:
“But feelings, no matter how strong or ‘ugly,’ are not a part of who you are. They are the radio stations your mind listens to if you don’t give it something better to do. Feelings are fluid and dynamic; they change frequently.
Feelings are something you HAVE, not something you ARE. Like physical beauty, a cold sore, or an opinion.
Admitting you feel rage or terrible pain or regret or some old, rotten blame does not mean these feelings are part of who you are as a person. What these feelings mean is, you have to change your thinking to be free of them.”
I read and reread these words so that they’d sink in. Feelings are something you have, not something you are.
I am not the big feelings. And neither are you.
Remember that the next time your head and your heart feel too full.