So in last week’s post we talked about the importance of emotions. How, the only way to really get through them, is to feel them fully, to not resist them.
And often when I share this concept with friends, family, or clients, they’re all like “ok…yeahhhhh…I mean what do you mean, of course I feel my feelings or else I wouldn’t be so upset right now, right?”
The thing that actually happens is that tough emotions are tough (obvs). And they’re tough because they’re painful. They’re emotions that we don’t like feeling. Like that ache in our heart when the love of our life breaks up with us. Or the disappointment we feel in our gut when we don’t get the job of our dreams. Or the fear we have in looking towards the future and not being able to see how it is going to ever possibly work out the way we want it to.
And these tough emotions are so painful that we’ll do anything we possibly can to resist them. And we do this by distracting ourselves away from them, either by telling ourselves we’re stupid for feeling that way, or we’ll drink alcohol to numb it out, or we’ll seek attention from others in order to fill the void that these tough emotions are creating. We do pretty much anything, other than feel the feeling. And then when we wonder why the feeling comes back again. Why we have recurring feelings.
The answer is that it keeps having a hold on you because you’re never actually allowing yourself to feel it.
Emotions are like two year olds going “Mommy, mommmmmy, mom, MOM, MOMMMMMY.” Your reaction might be to ignore them because they’re annoying. But they are just trying to get our attention. And the more we ignore them the louder they get. All they want is to be acknowledged. And just like the two year old, once they are acknowledged, they go away. If you resist the two year old, the “Mommy’s” will just get louder and more destructive.
So…I get it. This is a funny concept. And completely counter intuitive to what you think you should do when you’re feeling a tough emotion. So I created a little guide for you to make it easy. It’s an acronym and I use it anytime I’m feeling really tough emotions that I don’t want to feel. So here it is:
Sally Hope’s Fancy Pants L.O.V.E. Technique, for when you feel like CRAP
L – Let whatever feelings that are there FULLY be there. Really feel them and let them wash over you. Say: “I’m experiencing myself feel _______”
O– Observe. Observe where in your body your feel these feelings. Ask “where in my body do I feel this right now?” and “what does it feel like?” Keep feeling that feeling in your body.
If you truly feel it, and observe and feel it in the body, the emotion if likely to shift into…
V– Vulnerability. This is the next level emotion (closer to truth, hence the word vulnerability) underneath the one you started with. Ask “What’s here now?” And then go back to “L” by then letting that feeling be there.
There isn’t ALWAYS another feeling underneath the one you started with, so if not, just keep feeling the original one.
You’ll know you’re done with the exercise when you get to “E” which is
E– Ease. You’ll know you’re done with the exercise when you feel a sense of ease or calm. You might still feel the emotion, but it won’t have the same hold on you that it did before. That’s when you know you’re done. If you don’t get to ease, it’s likely there is still an emotion that you haven’t let yourself feel yet.
The point here is that pain is a part of being a human. We all experience it often. But even though we have pain, we don’t need to have suffering. By practicing this technique, you eliminate the suffering that is attached to our pain. Try it. I promise it’ll work if you really give it a go.
Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions in the comments below.
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