In a previous blog post I wrote about states of mind. States of mind and emotions are like weather: variable, unpredictable, and transient. One day your husband brings you flowers, white roses. You feel happy–a cherished wife, a thoughtful husband. Another day your husband brings you white roses. You are annoyed–unimaginative husband, he forgot I only love yellow roses. The very same act can provoke a very different set of feelings depending on your state of mind.
Do you remember the tale of Sleeping Beauty?
There was to be a celebration of the princess’s birthday. Because the king and queen only had 12 golden cups, they invited 12 fairies to the party and left out the 13th.
That 13th left-out, uninvited fairy angrily showed up at the birthday feast anyhow.
And she put a curse on the baby: One day the child would prick her finger on a spindle and she would sleep for 100 years.
As you know, that’s just what happened. There’s more to the story, but this part of it is a good lesson about what happens when something is left out.
We all have states of mind we don’t particularly care for: boredom, anxiety, sadness, lethargy, anger, frustration, impatience, and the list goes on. When we work at suppressing or excluding these feelings from awareness, they act like the 13th fairy. They turn more negative and cause trouble. Shut out of consciousness, they gather strength, and then when they finally come out, they ambush us, take us down a rabbit hole of sadness, anger, despair, etc. It’s like the prick that causes the 100 year problem. The suffering is longer and more intense.
We need to invite all of our feelings to sit at the table.
If we exclude certain feelings or try to push them aside, we’re acting like a bad parent who says,
- “You’ve got nothing to cry about!”
- “Just go to your room until you can come back with a smile.”
- “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
Parents probably didn’t welcome all the states of mind when you were a child. That’s how you learned that not all of you is lovable. But now that you are a grown-up, you can make room for parts of yourself that have been unwanted by others, and that have grown to be unwanted by you.
The good thing that will happen when you let all parts of yourself, yes, even the angry and unhappy parts, come to the table, you’ll find that they don’t have as much power, they are more transient, and sometimes, even the bad feelings, when they show up can even bring a smile to your face….like you recognize an old familiar friend!