This is a part of a special FLTP Blog Series, that follows Two Fearless Living Training Program students as they documented their journey going through the program each week. Laurie Weaver created the beautiful images and Juile Panhke Nelson wrote about her experience, both inspired by each week while in the FLTP program.
FLTP Week Three – The Power of Feelings
Complaining, and Gratitudes and Feelings, Oh My!
Julie Jahnke Nelson, Guest Blogger
“I don’t mean to complain, but…” Do you ever find yourself saying that? It seems like I was always complaining about something. After all, everyone does it. I didn’t even think twice about it; it was so automatic. But what I didn’t realize until this module is that it drags us down and keeps us stuck. We use complaining to pre-empt judgment of others, and it advertises our fears. Complaining steals our time, energy and money. Revelation time for me! That’s so true!
So, what can we do when we find ourselves complaining? Along with being aware that we’re doing it, Rhonda gives us a tool called “gratitudes.” Gratitudes are a special way of recognizing what we’re thankful for. When we’re complaining, we feel like the world is against us. When we’re in gratitude, it feels like the world is for us.
Once I started doing gratitudes, my perceptions and attitude started shifting from negative to positive. For example, this week something at work was bothering me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and it kept eating away at me. I was focused on the problem, and looking all around me for validation to confirm my negative thoughts. When I finally realized I was in complaining mode, I started writing a list of gratitudes about my job:
“Today I’m grateful for the people I work with.”
“Today I’m grateful that I get to do work that I’m passionate about.”
“Today I’m grateful that I get to use my skills and talents.”
“Today I’m grateful that I work for a company that cares about my personal and professional development.”
And guess what? Once I started to focus on the positive aspects of my job, the one thing that was bothering me seemed to disappear. The positive things I was grateful for far outweighed the one negative thing. I started to focus outside of myself, and my negative feelings vanished, and I was able to move forward and complete my work.
Learning all of this about complaining was a life-changer for me. It opened my eyes to what’s actually happening when I complain. Once I stopped complaining about everything, I started to feel lighter, and my overall outlook on life became more positive. It seems obvious now, but when I was complaining, I was in negativity, and of course, that had an adverse effect on me.
Another area we might struggle with is our feelings. We have a right to our feelings, but we may deny them. We might hide them, stuff them inside, ignore them, and bottle them up. We may even be unaware of what we’re feeling. But when we don’t acknowledge our feelings, Rhonda points out that we never move past them. This is one way fear keeps us safe and stuck – by hiding our true feelings from us.
At one point this week, I found myself feeling really anxious, but I wasn’t sure why. I was telling myself over and over, “I feel so stressed.” My wheels were spinning, and the anxiety was getting worse and worse. Then I remembered what Rhonda said about naming our feelings and acknowledging them. She said we should allow time to process our feelings and let them move through us, but not to indulge them. So I paused, took a deep breath, and identified what I was feeling. “I’m worried about my mom.” (She’s been sick, and in the hospital, but she’s better now.) “I’m nervous about choosing the right contractor to remodel our bathroom.” Once I became aware of my feelings, I allowed them to move through me, and then I was able to take action instead of being stuck in anxiety and stress. It was really freeing. Woo-hoo!!
So the next time you find yourself saying, “I don’t mean to complain, but…,” pause and write a gratitude instead. And when you’re not sure what you’re feeling, take time to name it, acknowledge it, and let it move through you, so you can take action and move forward in your life. Don’t let fear use complaining and feelings to keep you stuck.
Links to FLTP Blog Series: