I consider myself a bit of a junkie when it comes to books that are personal develpment in nature.
I recently started reading Atlas of the Heart, the newest book by Brené Brown.
Prior to this book, I read The Art of Surrender by David Hawkins, which taught me to go inside and look my feelings in the face, rather than submit to my internal ostrich and bury them in the sand. In doing so, I realized that I have anxiety…. Like, literally. I had no idea. There is this feeling of stress that has lived in my chest for so much of my life that I just assumed it was normal, I didn’t stop to think that this was not how I actually could or should feel on the inside.
It’s kind of fortuitous that I read The Art of Surrender before starting Atlas of the Heart, because this new trick I’ve learned at paying attention to my feelings makes Brené Brown’s analysis of said feelings that much more poignant. (Note: If you want to get the most out of Brené’s years of research analysis, don’t ignore the truths that live inside you.)
I am currently reading the section regarding expectations, and it is so spot on in my life. So many of my frustrations and disappointments have come because of unexamined expectations that I set up in my mind, both big and small. A lot of these made up scenarios occur because I’m an introvert, and an INFJ, and I basically live in my mind like a snail in a shell. But just because it’s something my personality is prone to, doesn’t make it useful or healthy (hence this life-long build up of anxiety that I now need to backpedal through). Now that I see this tendency (Hawkins), and now that I understand it (Brown), I can actually apply positive changes to my life to correct something that really only brings me pain.
This is the shit, people. This is really the shit.
I am currently applying these practices to my life at home with children who are, once again, doing distance learning. Expectations of the kids, fulfilling teacher expectations, expectations around what should be possible with my time, all are out the window. There is freedom in just allowing things to unfold in the most humanly possible way, without pressure to do more than we can realistically do. Our best is our best. Knowing this from the outset keeps the frustration, disappointment and anxiety at bay. So much more healthy than, let’s say, March of 2020.
If you are interested in the understanding of feelings from a researcher’s perspective, I highly recommend this book. The insights it provides from a clinical POV are valuable, helping to make logical sense of emotions that continuously bubble to the surface, every day of our lives.