How to Harness the Power of Challenging Emotions
Ever felt anxious or angry, rejected or criticized, stressed or lonely? Of course you have, no one escapes emotional pain. It's an inevitable fact of life.
Knowing that in your head, and dealing with it when it crashes through your front door, are two different things. Whether the pain is associated with a trauma, a loss, or a disappointment, the only way to powerfully move forward is to deal with it. So, how can you best deal with challenging emotions?
I've experienced so much chaos and trauma in my own world that I can solidly say that ‘coping with emotional pain‘ is not the way. It's much better to dance with it! It is SO much more delicious to harness the power of those overwhelming tsunamis when they come through to clean house.
It's obvious that painful emotions are difficult. [And if you're among the 20-30% of highly sensitive individuals in the population, you experience things more intensely, and therefore find it particularly difficult to play with these puppies.]That's why for a very long time I pushed them down, ignored them, even dismissed them. “Be gone you wretched wreck!”
Whether you try to numb them with your distraction of choice (booze, sex, drugs, TV, shopping, ‘love', etc.) or choose to isolate and ignore, they're not going anywhere. Emotions are here for a reason.
Rejection, loneliness, and loss are painful experiences caused, in part, by our need for strong connections with others and to fully experience life. Loss and trauma can shatter your world, your relationships and especially your identity. The experience of loss also shatters your assumptions about the world. All of these excruciating emotions are actually a clearing house to get rid of the old and bring in the new … the new YOU!
Pain is real, but suffering is optional. Say that again. Pain is real, but suffering is optional. Here's how to own the powerhouse of your emotions to bring into being a more powerful you:
1. Observe your emotions. Sit with your emotions. Name them, without making yourself wrong or bad for feeling them. Watch them unfold, as if they were being acted out on the big screen. (If this is still difficult for you, slow down the speed. This gives you more processing time.) The act of witnessing shifts the power back to you. You are no longer at the mercy of emotions.
2. Acknowledge your emotions. Claim your emotions. Accept them. “I'm feeling sad.” “I'm feeling angry.” Don’t judge your emotions, and trigger your default programming to avoid pain. If you've been pushing down your emotions for quite some time you may have to do a little more to claim them. Sometimes you need to cry, yell and stomp out those feelings. Own your emotions, but don't wallow in them.
3. Experience the energy of the emotion. Emotions are energy in motion. Allow yourself to expand into the emotion and experience it as pure energy. Take off the label of the emotion and experience it directly. When you do this two things happen: (1) You realize the emotion won't annihilate you (even though it feels possible) and (2) You get the gift of the emotion, the message it's trying to convey. There's a gift of awareness in the emotion. You'll get it in the next step.
4. Focus on the present. Bring your awareness to this moment. The quickest way to do that? Focus on the in-flow and out-flow of your breath. A curious thing occurs when you are present, you are able to pull the curtain back on the emotions and glean their gifts. There is something in you seeking a shift. You now know what it is.
When you learn to dance with your emotions, instead of being dictated by them, there is flow and movement in your world. There is acceptance, without approval. A portal to evolution opens and you step through it.
There is nothing negative about feeling so deeply. On the contrary, it is a super power. The sooner you learn to wield your power, the sooner you get to shift your world and life becomes a glorious playground. Let's play!
PS Ready to glean the gifts of your powerful emotions?