Hello, Emotional Human,
Humans are interesting.
Some of us only notice our emotions when we find ourselves “being emotional”, that is when we can no longer maintain “normal” neutral behaviors. Maybe we get so excited that we shriek out loud, or maybe we get so angry that we shout or growl or slam doors.
The reality is that emotions – or feelings, which may be a broader term – are with us and influencing each of us in every moment.
I believe that we have a program going on in the background, in our unconscious, that is constantly asking the following questions:
- What is the most important aspect of this situation?
- What am I supposed to be feeling in this situation?
- What am I actually feeling?
- Are there any feelings here that I’m not supposed to have?
And then many of us have other unconscious programs running that take care of obscuring, translating, or outright hiding those feelings that we are not supposed to have and that (our unconscious programs believe) will put us at risk.
For those of us with Developmental Trauma or prolonged unmanageable stress in our backgrounds, this “Feeling Factory” that evaluates and manages our awareness (or not) of our feeling tends to require a fully staffed team every moment that we are awake and sometimes while we are asleep as well.
I invite you to join me for a webinar on December 17, 19 or 20 where we will explore emotions in the context of developmental trauma and how to cultivate and maintain a solid Sense of Self in the midst of all of the conscious and unconscious emotional activities of our lives.
In the meantime, here is an exercise that you can try.
Sit quietly, notice your breathing, notice your heartbeat. Settle just as you are (or not!)
Now look around inside yourself to scan for what you are feeling.
Is there any fear? What is the fear about?
Is there any gratitude? What is the gratitude about?
Is there any excitement? What is the excitement about?
Is there any guilt? What is the guilt about?
Is there any anger? What is the anger about?
Grief? Shame? Hope? Anticipation? Anxiety? Dread? Delight?
When you identify a feeling and its target, you might want to write it down, then look around for what else is there.
I am noticing excitement. I’m feeling excited about sending out this email and blog post, and about doing the webinar this month. I’m realizing that the backdrop of fear around being a trauma coach – or whatever exactly it is that I’m being – has become much smaller and that there is a pretty steady backdrop now of hope and excitement.
And what else is there? Guilt – that my front porch is chronically more untidy than the porches of all of my neighbors. I’m thinking about the porch because I picked up the Christmas/Winter Solstice lights from storage today and I’m planning to deck out said porch in colored lights.
And guilt is often a doorway to shame. I’m so slow at getting things done. Everything has been so difficult, like slogging through mud. It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult. “What’s the matter with me?” Yes, there is still shame in there. “Hello, Shame. I know I am beloved and that I matter, even though you can name 1000 ways that I am or have been a hot mess.”
Gratitude. For all of the people and places and organizations and processes that have taught me, millimeter by millimeter, how to find the place where I FEEL that I am beloved and I matter. “Take that, Shame!”
And also holding the shame gently because it’s connected to some very young and very tender parts of myself.
Sadness. I’m not as close to some of my beloveds as I would like to be. Which refers back to the shame, and then to the counter to shame, “I DO matter, and maybe it shouldn’t be this difficult but it IS this difficult, and that is tender and sad, not shameful.”
So, like that. See what’s there in you as you explore your emotional weather in this moment.
Feel free to reach out and share with me if you discover anything novel or interesting.
I’m excited a second time, anticipating getting the Holiday Lights put up. I love driving around at night in December looking at everyone’s lights. And I’m always tickled and grateful when I see lights on people’s houses still there in February.
Don’t forget to sign up for the webinar!