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Feelings Aren’t Facts

For some time now, sustaining my mental, spiritual and emotional well-being has equipped with me numerous “tools” like meditation, prayer, as well as building relationships with people on a similar journey.  I am on the phone everyday with at least one person to check-in, connect, get outside of myself and my worries and find out how someone else is doing. PAIN SHARED IS PAIN LESSENED. Additionally, I have found myself heavily reliant on something that I was told repeatedly early in my recovery journey. Feelings Are Not Facts.

I am stuck at home, homeschooling. Essentially spending every waking moment with my chatty, inquisitive, and precocious 11-year-old. In addition to missing my friends and colleagues. I remind myself often during the day, my feelings are not facts. I feel I won’t make through the day sometimes, but I do. I feel fearful that my practice will not survive this, but that is a premature conclusion. The fact is, I have the power to not feed the fear. Regardless of how I feel on any day as of late, which admittedly has been pretty challenging; the fact is I am in the care of something greater than me. The fact is, for every day so far, my needs have been met. How I feel is often not how things are. How I feel comes to pass, not to stay. Happy, sad, laughing, crying, faith-filled, skeptical, courageous or afraid it’s always changing. This too shall pass.

Another lawyer reflects:

I hadn’t yet been to many recovery meetings when a I heard gruff old guy bark, “Feelings ain’t facts!”  I didn’t understand that then, but I think I do now.  We all have feelings.  They’re not wrong or bad.  I don’t want to live a life without joy, compassion, love.  The problem is that I sometimes confuse feelings with fact and act on or live for a while with the feeling rather than the factual reality – to my detriment and maybe the detriment of others.  I’ve learned that the better course is to acknowledge the feeling and analyze it – get the facts straight.  Meditation or talking to a person I trust can be helpful.  When I’ve got the facts straight, I can integrate them appropriately with my feelings and act or react effectively.  And I don’t wallow in emotion.

It’s normal, rational, for me to be anxious, even fearful, about the coronavirus pandemic.  But instead of living my days in that fear, when I analyze the facts I can appropriately act upon them.  I see what I can and should do (or not do), take any necessary action, and live my life – carefully.