My kid turned two a couple weeks ago and I made her this cake. I am so proud of it! Not because I made it up all by myself (nope, I found it on Martha’s website), but because I made something colorful and beautiful and fun to honor my kid. What I really want to talk about, though, is how the creation of this cake felt. That, my friends, is what I want to talk about all of the time, as corny or cliche as it might sound coming from a therapist, I want to talk about your feelings. Oh, and you’re safe here. Really, you are.
Let’s talk about my emotions first. In making this cake I felt excited, happy, proud, nervous, frustrated, scared, anxious, and delighted. Being able to track my feelings like this (excited: saw the cake on the internet, wanted to make it, great anticipation; happy: purchased all of the ingredients, loving that it would require eight sticks of butter…) took some practice. Life used to happen at me. Emotions hit me and I accepted them without question and took the ride. Now I can experience an emotion and recognize where it comes from and intentionally experience how it affects me. I’m not trying to say that I have control over my emotions; I simply have a better awareness of what’s going on. Why is that important? Being able to track my emotions helps me to know when I’m getting triggered and allows me to make a decision about how to proceed in life, versus allowing the emotion to take me over and make poor decisions. Ever say or do something in the heat of the moment that you later regretted? That’s what I’m talking about. Staying grounded if and when you want to stay grounded.
Try it out for a bit. Track your emotions while you are going through your morning routine, or at lunch, or whenever. Check out if you can identify your emotions and why you are feeling them. It’s a step in the direction of greater self-awareness which ultimately points toward living a happier life.