Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Guest Post: You mean I am supposed to feel? by Kathy Heinsohn

While I’m a big believer in the positive thinking movement, one of the first misconceptions I work with clients on is that you can’t just positively think, or will certain thoughts or feelings away.  There gets to be an honoring and accepting where you are in order to let go of what you don’t want.  Only then can you allow what you do want to come into your space.  The thought or emotion must be felt and validated in order for it to flow out of you.  And while what once was a beautiful ability to forge ahead into unknown territory, and what ultimately led our early pioneers to settle this American soil, learning to feel was definitely unknown territory that left much to be desired.  Processing emotions is not something that is well practiced or really accepted here in the West. 

From a very young age, how many of us were told “You’re ok”, “Suck it up”, “You are just fine”, “Don’t cry”, or a myriad of ways that stated what we were feeling was totally unacceptable?  And yet when we embrace the child that has an owie and is hurting, and who just wants to be acknowledged with a hug, a validation of their hurt, and possibly a band-aid, they are off running around again before you know it, their owie completely forgotten. 

I truly know there is power in validation and allowing feelings and thoughts to be expressed without judgment.  Who are we to say that what anyone else is thinking or feeling is not ok, let alone ourselves?  It’s what is thought/felt, so regardless, it is what it is.  Why not embrace it rather than deny, shove down, bury, hide, ignore, or detach from it? 

What we don’t realize that by burying or denying our thoughts and emotions, we are shoving them down further into the abyss of our very beings, giving them a place to reside and grow until one day, it has no other option but to come out.  Whether it manifests through a host of dis-eases, old stories and battle wounds that we carry around with us as justification to be angry, hurt, or with-held forgiveness, or some other awful drama or trauma, those feelings/thought will eventually find a way out.  The question is, wouldn’t you rather allow it to leave sooner than later without all the trauma/drama, giving you a much more fulfilling and vibrant quality of life?

So how do you honor your thoughts and emotions?  This question often comes up, especially when clients don’t want to condone and foster more of the thoughts and emotions they don’t like.  There are a couple of beliefs with this.  One, “if I accept where I am, I will never get to where I want.” Two, “If I accept this feeling/thought, then it means I condone it.”  And lastly, “By allowing this feeling/thought to be accepted by me, I will be dwelling in it.”  These are completely untrue!  The truth is that anything we resisting will persist (sound familiar?)  It’s why diets don’t work, and addictions are addicting.  When we focus on all the things we are deprived of or “shouldn’t do”, it isn’t any wonder why we bounce back into binging on all of the “forbidden” foods, or go running back to the addiction we so hate.  

There is SO much more I could write on this topic!  However, my intention is to keep it simple and share some solutions that bring quick results. In order to honor your thoughts and emotions, you can do several things.  I recommend trying them all out and going with what works for you.  Some may work better at different times in your life.  Don’t write them off immediately because they seem too simple or strange.  You never know what will be the key to your finding success in processing emotions and learning how to live a more rewarding life:

·         When faced with an unwanted emotion/thought, simply say, “Thank you” to it.  Your subconscious is reacting the way it is for a reason, and it is often out of protection.  By thanking the emotion/thought, you are telling the subconscious that you got the gift and it doesn’t have to keep protecting you.
·         Often times we can’t validate what we’re feeling because we’re so far removed from feeling.  In this case, I recommend searching on the internet for a list of feelings.  It can be basic or more detailed.  Just having a list of emotions was huge for me to reference and actually identify what I was feeling.  By simply noticing and owning what you’re feeling/thinking also honors that emotion/thought and allows it to move through you.
·         Write down what you’re thinking/feeling.  Write completely unhindered, getting everything you feel/think out on the paper.  Take all the self-critic and whatever else comes out on the paper to a metal trash can and match and burn it afterwards (ripping it into tiny shreds also does wonders).  It gives the subconscious something tangible to see that what was felt and wrote about is now able to leave.
·         Tap on your thymus (2” down from the middle of where the colar bone meets in the center) and say, “I’m ok that I feel/think __________.”  Or “I’m ok that I don’t like feeling/thinking __________”. This is tapping on an acupressure point that also sends a message to your subconscious.  It is greatly validating and allows the emotion/thought to easily flow through.  There is much information on the internet about the benefits of tapping, along with the other sequential points to tap on.  However, I’ve found tapping on the thymus to be just as effective as going through all the other points.
·         Deep breathe with the thought/emotion for at least 5 deep breaths.  Feel the emotion in the heart area, and allow the thoughts to gel for a few breaths.  Focusing on breathing makes it a conscious act, allowing the focus to be intentional.  When you allow the emotion/thought to be felt/thought while consciously breathing, it heightens the ability to flow the emotion/thought through.
·         Simply allow the feeling/thought to exist without judgment.  Just let it be.  Once validated, then you can choose what you would like to replace it with.  An example is to sit with discouragement for a while. Once it is allowed to have a voice and speak up, acknowledge it, thank it, and decide what you would like to feel instead.
·         Meditate on the thought/emotion for a while.  This works great with the deep breathing.
·         Forgive the emotion/thought that is unwanted.  Quite often, we resent that we feel/think a certain way.  When we have such rejection for a part of us, the message gets out to the rest of us and we find all kinds of limiting beliefs and ways that we hold ourselves back, all the while justifying our undeserving-ness because of the things we feel/think about ourselves.  It’s a cycle that can be broken by simply forgiving an emotion/thought for existing within us for a moment.
·         Realize that the emotion/thought exists only for a moment.  Allow it to be in that moment.  It’s when we judge that emotion/thought, or hate it, or reject it, or bury it that it becomes a whole lifetime of emotions/thoughts that are unwanted.  The patterns really can change, but first we must accept and embrace where we are at in the present before we can let go of the past, or move forward to where we want to be.

Quite often, after an emotion has been honored, answers to long-standing challenges are able to surface and a new door opens.  New insight about yourself and how you see yourself in the world are discovered.  Dreams seem to become a reality rather than impossibility.  And one of my personal favorites, peace becomes a common friend in your life. 

I hope this has been helpful!  I LOVE sharing information I have learned and look forward to sharing with you again!  Please contact me if you have any more questions and I would be happy to answer them.

Much Love, Light, and Courage in facing your own emotions/thoughts along this beautiful Earthly journey. 

Kathy Heinsohn



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