We all have times when we feel like a tidal wave is coming right at us. It might even feel as huge as a tsunami. Our instinct is to turn and run or to dig our feet deep into the sand and hold tight while we fight against the waves’ power.
But what if you tried letting the waves rush over you rather than trying to outrun them or fight them? What if you trusted those waves to carry you to a new place?
Those overbearing waves of life come from many sources. You might lose your job and have a rush of fear regarding your finances and future. A relationship could end unexpectedly, leaving you feeling alone and like a failure. You could get that phone call, about a loved one’s passing, entering you into a time of deep grief. Someone might do something that causes you much pain and leaves you seething in anger.
It’s inevitable that you have these dark times in life – everyone has suffered. It’s instinctual that you want to run and hide – everyone feels fear. The suffering and the fear are great teachers who will continue to show up even if we want to avoid the lesson.
Imagine instead that you decide to allow it. Imagine, no matter the pain or the cause of your distress, that you decide to feel it all without judgment. Imagine trusting that the pain would cease and that you’d reach the other side where the clouds pass and the sun shines on your face.
One of the biggest blocks to joy is perspective. As a culture, most people have come to expect life to go a certain way. We want immediate gratification. We want to avoid the pain and discomfort of anger, grief, sadness, loneliness, or fear.
Those times when you feel strong emotions, that nearly take your breath away, those are the times to tune in. Those are the times when you need to pay more attention rather than look away.
Shifting your perspective about all emotions – viewing them as guideposts rather than out of control parts of your life – will change every day for the rest of your life. Next time you feel a strong emotion, welcome it. Ask it a question like you would an unexpected visitor. Perhaps meet it with the thought, “I didn’t expect you today. Why have you shown up now? What do you have to show me?”
Those tsunamis that threaten to whisk you away to a place of emotional distress can then become a gentle sign, reminding you to allow life. A sign to let the waves rush over you, carrying you to a new and better way of experiencing your life.