You're on Instagram, reading comments on the image of you lounging poolside in Cabo. But your scrolling stops when you see something like this, "How dare you have fun when there's so much suffering in the world. I hope you feel SO guilty!!"
And immediately - you do. You might experience a wash of shame, worry, anger, or even unworthiness. Soon, your emotions are in a downward spiral, and you're headed toward a six-pack of Budweiser or a feel-better shopping spree.
What if, instead, you choose a different thought? It works like freakin' magic.
Here's an easy process that guides you in choosing better-feeling thoughts and lifts you out of the shame and anger spiral almost immediately.
Acknowledge what you're feeling, without judgment. For instance, "Wow, that comment made me feel really selfish and angry."
Notice how that feels in your body. Do your teeth clench? Does your stomach turn over? Do your shoulders hunch? Make a note that this is what your body feels like when you feel selfish or angry.
Take five deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly through the nose five times and consciously relax the parts of your body that went into defense mode. Maybe close your eyes and pay attention as your body unclenches.
Recall a time you felt really good. Perhaps you can reconnect to the emotions you felt when you snapped the image in Cabo. Were you relaxed? Happy? Excited? Content? Or maybe you think back to a time you felt at peace. Were you hiking? Reading? Writing? Hiking? Baking cookies? Let those emotions wash over you.
Remind yourself we're here to experience joy, love, and abundance. Hurtful comments, whether on social media, email, texting, or in person, come from a sense of lack. People often react to positive images with anger because they're disconnected from their own joy and abundance. We're on this planet to love and be loved, to experience happiness and connection, and to acknowledge the incredible abundance we have. Some people are still figuring that out.
Sit with those better-feeling thoughts. As you reconnect to higher-vibration emotions like passion, enthusiasm, happiness, and appreciation, you might even send the nasty person some love. Because they definitely need some.
We're all just doing our very best - and sometimes that's shitty - but as we train ourselves to identify and release the negativity that holds us down, we're free to fly.
Peri Kinder is the owner of Life & Laughter Coaching. She's a happiness coach, yoga and meditation instructor, and award-winning freelance writer.