The Simplify Project: Week 4, The Soul

You have done beautiful work these past three weeks of The Simplify Project! This week, let’s simplify the crowded soul. All too often my soul feels crowded with agitation, frustration, and anger. Let’s see if we can notice what’s going on there, validate the feeling, identify the obstacle, and make a change.

This is the Anger Iceburg you often see in anger management education. This resource is from here.

Anger-Iceberg-1.png

Anger is so often something else in disguise, but we need better emotion words! I try to use these with my kids to help them sort through their big feelings. I also have to give myself permission to feel; I often beat myself up for feeling angry and want to shove it way down into my soul. Which never goes well. The soul can only ignore so much before it spills out.

Today, take a minute to write down what you find yourself angry or agitated about these days in your life.

Identify the obstacle: If you are actually overwhelmed (or any other feeling under the tip of the iceberg), take the time to notice more there. Hmmm. I am overwhelmed. No big deal, I am not going to judge that or condemn that. I am just noticing. What’s tripping me up here? What am I overwhelmed about? Why?

This quote is so helpful: “Anger is often caused by an obstacle blocking a goal. For example, if your partner’s goal is to feel special on their birthday and their family member missing their special day makes them angry, identifying the obstacle will give you insight into why they’re angry. The bottom line is that people feel angry for a reason. It indicates other emotions, but it is also a valid emotion on its own. It needs to be validated.” - https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-anger-iceberg/

Validate the feeling: Maybe you need to be compassionate about your feelings: “I feel overwhelmed and that’s ok. I will get through this.” Taking the time to calmly notice and acknowledge your anger is such an important soul simplifying task. Often our soul is twisted with anger and we don’t know why.

Problem Solve: What is in your power to change about this? Does something need to change about your schedule? Do you need help? Could you talk with a friend about your overwhelming feelings and get some outside perspective? Do you simply need to change your perspective or your attitude if you cannot change your circumstance? Do you need counseling?

Identify. Validate. Solve. These steps have helped me walk through the many emotions I can feel, but I realize they are simple tools and a counselor may be what you need to work out more layered and complex thoughts and feelings. May this be a start for you. May you have more language today than you did before. May you find your soul just a bit more relaxed, cared for, and simplified today.

One last tool for us today as we simplify the soul and even the little souls with big feelings we may have in our homes:

Tools in the Anger: I love having tools in my toolbox for when I or my kids are actually angry in the moment. We practice using these tools at home a lot. These are in-the-moment tools until you can calm down and calmly process like we did above:

I can calm myself by: 
-Deep breathing
-Punching a pillow
-Taking a break
-Talking about it

When I am angry, I use the Anger Rules:
-Don’t hurt others
-Don’t hurt yourself
-Don’t ruin things

Hope you feel a bit lighter in your soul….
See you tomorrow!

Amy

 

Amy Seiffert