In almost all my client sessions this past week we have discussed resisting emotion and how the ego plays a role. We often think of the world as black and white, right or wrong, good or bad. This is a big reason we resist feeling a negative emotion—such as shame, guilt, insecurity, etc. What really happens is that we judge the emotions we don’t want to feel—it usually sounds like “I don’t want to feel this way” or “I shouldn’t feel like this” or “it’s stupid that I feel _____.”
What I want to offer you is that what we resist, persists. I first heard that phrase from a good friend who has helped me on my spiritual awakening journey several years ago and it has held true. What would happen if we didn’t judge our negative emotions? For starters, stress and burnout would absolutely not be as intense as they are. None of our negative emotions would be as intense as they are! That alone leaves you with more physical energy and mental capacity to live a more fulfilled life where you can truly connect with others, actively pursue your passions, and become authentic in every aspect of your life.
Typically, when we resist emotions, it revolves around our egos. If you’re familiar with the yin/yang concept from our eastern friends, everything has both light and darkness within it. We as humans are perfect examples of this (look at our politics, religions, entertainment, etc.). But one thing I love about the yin/yang concept is that there is always a little of each no matter whether you’re more yin or more yang. It’s balance.
If we take this concept and apply it to ourselves, what if the same principle applies to our egos? There is healthy egotism (confidence, philanthropy, etc.) and non-healthy egotism (overconfident, wants the spotlight for selfish gain, and judgement). Applied, this means that there isn’t a right or wrong (non-healthy ego), just action and consequence (healthy ego). When we switch our thinking to action and consequence vs right and wrong, the judgement of our emotions decreases significantly! Action and consequence are neutral whereas right and wrong are usually emotionally charged.
Helping decrease the intensity of the emotion will put you on the path to allowing it vs resisting it. Now it’s time to learn how to process the emotion. The next time you feel an intense negative emotion, follow these steps:
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath and slowly release (repeat 3-5 times depending on intensity)
- Give the emotion a name (stick to just one emotion)
- Where do you feel that emotion in your body?
- What does it look like? (color, texture, movement pattern, etc.)
- Continue to visualize it and try to separate the emotion from yourself so you are just the observer.
- Start talking to it (yes, this may sound crazy; but trust me, it works!) and ask why it’s there and how you can help move it along in processing it.
- This may be a short internal convo or may take longer—no matter the time it takes, keep going)
- As you continue that internal conversation, visualize the emotion transforming or flowing through and out your body. You may feel some physical sensations as you do this—that’s completely normal.
- Take another deep breath in and slowly release.
- Check-in with yourself. What did you learn? How could this processing experience help you gain more clarity
- BONUS: You can do this with a positive emotion as well to learn how to better create helpful emotions that drive you towards your goals.
A word of caution: since we know that our emotions are created by our thoughts, don’t try to change your thought when you have an intense emotion just so you can feel better. It will compound and the ego will double down on its judgement. This exercise is meant to help you allow and process the emotion so you can get to the place of creating your intentional thought/emotion.
I recently did this exercise with a client, and she described her emotion as swirling blackhole pulling her down to rock bottom. I asked her if she could see the bottom and she couldn’t. So, I offered to her that maybe there isn’t a bottom. As infinite beings made of star dust and all that, there is not ceiling to our potential, so why would there be a bottom? I then asked her to surrender and visualize herself floating in the ‘eye of the storm’ like she was in water. Then I asked her to then imagine herself floating upwards because she was the one in control, not the blackhole storm of emotion. She pulled herself out and felt SO MUCH BETTER! It was at this point; we could then talk about what she wanted to create for herself. It was an amazing session!
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic of resisting/allowing emotions, right/wrong vs action/consequence, or anything else post related. If this is something you need help with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on my socials, email, or through my website. Also, please let your friends and family know about this exclusive blog/newsletter–especially if they are a leader over a team (corporate, entrepreneurial, community, etc. who are stressed and/or dealing with burnout. When they subscribe through my website, I will send them 5 Reasons Why Leaders Experience Burnout and How to Fix Them for FREE.
Have a great week and I’ll see you in your inbox next Saturday 😊