“Everybody wants a magic solution to
their problems, the issue is, everybody
refuses to believe in magic”
~Lewis Carol’ from Alice in Wonderland
We grow painlessly and effortlessly when we are willing to let go of the idea that we are broken, that we need healing and fixing.
The outcome of our experiences is not one of un-healed, but one of uneducated, we lack the knowledge about our emotions that we need for us to manage and understand them, accept them as normal and inevitable and to eventually love them for the wisdom they hold.
Human beings are made up of four aspects; the mental, physical, emotional and soulful but when the sum of what we are taught about the emotional is ‘celebrate some emotions and demonise others’ and the soulful is nothing more than some vague mumblings about religion or ‘physic stuff’ it’s inevitable that suffering is the only outcome.
We are feeling, sentient beings, we have these things called emotions and we are stuck with them like it or not.
…and if we really want the changes we need to make and if we really want a lasting solution to our pain, fear and disconnect the question we must ask ourselves is ‘how is avoiding, fearing and attempting to heal that which we are raised to avoid and fear, working out for you?’
Often, in order to move forward we have to be honest, open and brave and admit that the dozens of strategies we have at our disposal that help us to temporarily relieve our misery have simply taught us to cope with that, that never changes.
The gathering of knowledge is never a painful process, we know this because most of us have studied something, attended college, university, a night class, even if it’s something non-vocational such as sewing or baking.
Fear and resistance to the changes you fear and yearn for in equal measure disappears when you begin to learn everything you should have learned in childhood if we all lived in an ideal and perfect world.
Acquiring the knowledge you need is not painful, lengthy, complex or time consuming, instead it’s fascinating, addictive and astonishingly quick, producing tangible results in hours and days.
I understand why it’s so difficult to believe in magic, I’ve been there and it scared me too because I was aware that if something simple and magical existed then I would be left with no excuses, I would have to make the changes my sore and exhausted heart wanted and needed and in reality that was the fear.
…but none of the things I feared happened, not one of them, you see they were all made up by mind and thinking, mind’s only reference is the past so it makes all it’s decisions based on that, but it’s not mind’s job to deal with all the tasks we assign to it everyday in an attempt to solve our emotional pain, it’s soul’s job!
There isn’t a second of the day when you don’t have access to the wisdom of your own soul but fear is preventing you from listening.
Where knowledge is, fear can’t be.
Do you want an example of simplicity + knowledge + magic= fearlessness?
When children cry, emotionally literate parents say, ‘let me hold you while you cry’.
The child will grow up learning that sadness is an inherent part of life, that it happens sometimes and it’s safe to cry.
A child raised in a climate of emotional illiteracy will at best be given an avoidance or distraction technique ‘here’s a sweetie, a dummy, a toy, or look there’s some moo cows’!
At worst a child experiences actual harm for expressing sadness, pain or disappointment, he or she may be scolded, be made fun, ignored or rejected.
In both scenarios the message that’s been internalised is that sadness is wrong, crying is bad.
We emerge into adulthood with this scant information and so the sweetie, the dummy and the toy become the new car, bigger house, a flashy vacation.
…and on and on the cycle goes as we attempt to fill the aching void with more and more stuff, meanwhile we spend a small fortune trying to fix what isn’t broken and fear remains.
We Suffer when we are Inauthentic People, Living Inauthentic Lives.
Inauthenticity, just like every other issue we want to resolve has fear at its core but that fear can easily and quickly be overcome when we begin from a place of love and compassion.
Bottom line, we were instructed to become inauthentic from as far back as when we were toddlers, the fact that the step-by-step, easy to navigate instructions were given to us inadvertently and our primary caregivers were well meaning doesn’t alter the fact that we were taught to wear masks.
The inevitable outcome of the conditions of worth that we are raised with i.e. ‘I will love you if you are never angry and grade A student’ and the values we adopt as our own to fit in and remain emotionally safe was only ever going to be our inability to be ourselves.
We learned a very long time ago that real, unique and individual self gets us…
- Shouted at
That hurts a lot.
It hurts as much as it does because children need the love and approval of their parents to survive, literally!
..but when the signal ‘ That you that’s authentically you is not acceptable’ we begin to hate ourselves and develop the idea that if we act, behave, say, do think, feel and believe as somebody else wants us to then we are acceptable, lovable and worthy.
So how do we begin to drop the masks and live freely?
The answer is simple; we learn about what the payoff is.
Us humans don’t do anything without a payoff, we are not created that way, even altruism produces a payoff; you got to feel good about yourself for doing a kind deed without expecting anything in return.
…or you sleep better at night knowing you gave to that charity, or that homeless person.
So, what are the payoffs for us when we drop the masks?
- Not everyone will love you but the right people will – this ends unhealthy relationships, unhealthy relationship dynamics, dealing with the elephant in the room within friendships and squirming around in your swivel chair at work – believe me when I say you have enough wisdom, strength and courage within the real you not to give a flying f*** what your colleagues think. Remember your suffering wasn’t an accident, a coincidence or a cosmic cock-up, it happened so you can learn of love and go on to change the world so who’s going to remember your colleagues, desk and swivel chair a year from now?
- Success and unlimited abundance. Often, we put of making the changes to the way we earn a living by telling ourselves stories about our mountains of unsurmountable issues, how scared we are and how afraid we are of failing and what other people think. Twenty years of doing my job has taught me that sometimes these issues don’t exist, and when they do, they are easily overcome with an emotional and soulful education – the real issue is exhaustion. The kind of soulful exhaustion that no amount of sleep will assuage that arises from wearing five masks before lunchtime – dropping the masks produces unlimited amounts of exuberant, joyous energy, passion and enthusiasm!
- An authentic life. We were not created to live in a prison of fear, anxiety and self-doubt, but far more importantly it’s not in the true nature of any of us to live within the stifling confines of time, schedules, routine and rules.
Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook about a self-sufficient lady who lived in a treehouse, in a beautiful forest close to a beach.
The post had one million, seven hundred thousand and eleven comments, I’ll repeat that;
ONE MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND AND ELEVEN COMMENTS.
Naturally, when I saw this eye-watering number I had to have a good scroll, I had to read some of these comments…
99% of them said the same thing or a variant…
“I so wish I was her”
We sit on packed trains to sit in windowless offices to spend the day having to be nice to nitwits because we want to remain emotionally safe and free from hurt so we stymy, hide, deny, disguise and distort every thought, feeling and belief that makes us real, we contort ourselves emotionally and soulfully, we literally bend ourselves out of shape to fit into a world we don’t want, don’t need, don’t belong in and that runs violently contrary to our true nature.
…so, every day we struggle and strive to be happy, but the only way to do that is to create more of what we don’t want, don’t need and doesn’t resonate.
Have you got an old script running that says your worth depends on your productivity?
There’s been a common thread that has run throughout my previous career as a Psychotherapist and my current career as a teacher of Emotional Literacy – that of many of us living our lives with an old, worn out internalised message from childhood that says that our worth is dependent on our productivity.
We drown in guilt at the thoughts of resting, even when we have the opportunity to do so.
The scrips we have running remain powerful not so much because of what was said but because of who said it…
As children we are desperate for the love and approval of our parents or primary caregivers, if they repeatedly told you…
- You are lazy
- That hard work and productivity are of value
- Lazy people are slovenly, slobby and of no value
We internalise that message so powerfully in order to gain that love and approval we need to thrive and survive, so it literally is a case of…
“Yes, okay I agree with everything and I
all of those things if it means you won’t disapprove
of me or caste me out”
…so not only do we internalise the script, we actually believe the script.
The energy signature here, the imprint that’s left behind is one of fear, so each time we need to rest the scrip reminds us of that fear, brings into to the forefront of your awareness, it feels dreadful – outcome, we don’t dare entertain the idea of resting, let alone taking time out of work.
Are you able to sit with that fear the moment it strikes?
- Allow your shoulders to slump and let your tummy muscles out
- Scan your body for the fear (it’ll be in your solar plexus)
- Say hello to it
- Allow the tears to fall
If you feel it the moment it’s in your awareness you will…
- Notice the energy collecting from all around your solar plexus into a ball
- The ball will begin to move
- Up and up it goes, when it reaches your heart, your heart will ache, when it reaches your throat it will constrict
- After 1-2 minutes the energy belonging to this trapped script will move out through your mouth; you will sigh or yawn.
It’s vitally important to your emotional health to press delete on this script because often what we perceive as complex, overwhelming, lengthy and even expensive – simply requires a nap.
…but instead we feel the emotion, freeze in fear, begin to panic, a brand-new internal dialogue starts about how dreadful we are feeling, the numbing narrative then begins to include a long list of all the when’s and what if’s…
- When I’m prettier, thinner, richer I’ll be happier
- If I wasn’t so depressed, scared, self-loathing I would be able to…
We connect with our Soul the moment we feel the emotion, Soul then says to your mind “sit down and shut the f*** up, I’m in charge now” and mind faint with relief replies “oh okay then!”.
Soul is aware that there is no such thing as an emotion that needs to be feared, healed, avoided or demonised.
Allow soul to move it out, we live in busy and stressful times, the power and value of a nap is immense but the powerlessness and lack of value in the creation of a new story of suffering to avoid a nap is keeping you stuck – and soulfully exhausted.
Freedom to Feel – Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Illiteracy; Emotional Mastery.
Once you have become comfortable and accustomed to giving expression to your (now, previously) difficult emotions you will very quickly begin to experience the next stage of emotional mastery; that of welcoming all the emotions you would have formally regarded as terrifying and overwhelming.
It’s identical to being on a weight loss plan. You begin by feeling wretchedly sorry for yourself, you moan and complain to anybody who will listen about how much you want that slice of cake, you feel sulky, deprived, miserable and find yourself counting down the hours and minutes when it ends.
You lose six pounds in your first week and your perspective changes – dramatically!
Now you’re telling everyone how fantastic this weight loss plan is and how they should try it, you’re now looking forward to next week and even cut down on a few other naughty treats completely voluntarily, all of this is because there was a pay off in it for you, you got a result.
The exact same experiences emerge when you begin to simply be with what you are feeling.
You will very quickly grow into somebody you don’t recognise and are delighted with, you will find yourself, seemingly out of nowhere being able to;
- Say no without feeling guilty
- Stick up for yourself without being rude, aggressive, confrontational or hurting anybody’s feelings
- You will believe in yourself and have faith in your own skills and abilities
- Have access to your innate wisdom and intuition
- Always trust yourself to do the right thing – dropping your dependence on ‘the expert’
- Establish firm boundaries and stick to them
- Act around facilitating changes, creating a life of joy, peace and success
- Stand in your power -drop all the masks live authentically, unapologetic-ally
This of course means that the next time you wake in the morning aware that you are feeling deeply sad, angry, fearful or bitterly disappointed and you allow it without judgement a new and happier you will emerge each time and you will begin to actually welcome these emotions you would have previously wanted to desperately avoid and get rid of as quickly as possible – you will now be armed with the knowledge that the only way these emotions can be resolved is to acknowledge them and with every one you extend your love and compassion to, you simply grow in emotional maturity, dignity, tranquillity, spiritual interconnectedness and wisdom.
Freedom to Feel -Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Illiteracy; Freedom and the Fully-Felt Feeling.
We morph magically, painlessly and effortlessly into the kind of person we dream of becoming with every emotion we accept as natural, normal and inevitable.
No time needs to be found and set aside for this, there’s no rituals, affirmations, meditations and visualisations to squeeze into your already hectic schedule.
When we allow ourselves to experience an emotion, to simply let it be there without forming a judgement around it, beginning a new numbing narrative, phoning a friend or doing anything at all to avoid it or heal it – we grow.
The growth comes from letting go of the trapped emotion that has been stored inside your physical body since the time you felt it when whichever event caused the emotion and it was regarded as unacceptable for you to express it because doing so would have made you a drama queen, a pest, a difficult child, ‘soft’ or simply not right in the head according to the wisdom of your loving parents.
I use the expression ‘up and out’ to describe this beautifully simple but miraculous change in consciousness.
Up and out is a physical thing more than a spiritual or emotional one because we get to experience the energy belonging to the trapped pain leaving our physical bodies, this usually manifests as a deep sigh, a yawn, a juddering; that feeling of ‘somebody just walked over your grave’ type feeling.
You begin to accept your difficult and uncomfortable emotions when you understand that it’s you and nobody else who is responsible for giving legs to the issue, it’s you that grows the monster, builds the energy and in so doing gives momentum to the build-up of fear of the three issues we have explored in this book;
- Fear of permanence
- Fear of the reaction of other people
- Fear that you are losing the plot
It’s not set in stone anywhere that we must attempt to do something to feel better, happier or something different from what we are truly feeling, this is the script we have been taught and the questions we need to ask ourselves is;
- How is this serving me?
- How is this helpful
- What’s the payoff for me in keeping this rigid life script?
Us humans don’t do anything without a payoff, even kind things because we do them to gain a feeling of satisfaction for having helped another, so an emotional education is about understanding that there is a payoff in learning about emotions so that we can manage them, accept them and eventually learn to love all of them, including the ones we have been raised to fear and avoid.
The powerful, super-confident, fun-loving person over brimming with self-belief, worthiness and with access to the innate wisdom you were born with emerges with every emotion that you are willing to give your love, acknowledgement and compassion to because that’s all the emotion is seeking, it’s all it was ever seeking.
If, right now you are thinking that what I have taught you makes sense but it’s all appears to be a little easier said than done; maybe you have a job that requires a cheerful disposition or you have a family to take care of and you can’t just take time out to be sad, angry, frustrated or shameful, but you don’t have to worry.
The belief that you may need time out to have a meltdown is also formed from an old script which is running at the back of your mind based on what you was taught about your unwanted and difficult feelings, giving expression to your emotions doesn’t have to involve time out or a meltdown, the feeling becomes something which is ‘just there’ there is usually your solar plexus because every issue we have is underpinned by fear, the sensation isn’t doing anything, it can’t harm you and once you get into the habit of not forming a dialogue around it you will soon master the art of going about your daily business with that feeling simply being there.
It may be helpful to tap into your intuition which blossoms and awakens beautifully with this course, you may feel the need to provide a few soothing words to this energy such as ‘there, there it’s okay there’s nothing to be afraid of’ or you may simply just want to say a quick hello acknowledge it because often this is more than enough for the energy to move out quickly and painlessly, sure there might occasionally be a few tears but hey we cry a lot anyway when we are dragging around 30 or 40 years’ worth of unresolved pain, if you’re going to cry you may as well get a payoff!
Freedom to Feel – Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Illiteracy; Sadness isn’t an Illness.
In the three previous chapters of this e-book we explored how the fear of permanence and of how the responses of other people to our difficult emotions are barriers to our freedom to feel and allow ourselves to give expression to what and how we are feeling in the moment.
In this chapter we will explore the fourth barrier – that of fearing we are or are about to become a mental health statistic when we are experiencing emotional trauma – the fear that there may be something wrong with us, that we may be in need of treatment and how that impacts on our fear of what other people may be thinking about us if they find out.
…but it’s not ‘mental, it’s emotional.
Our heads and minds don’t ache for the life we dream of instead of the one we are stuck with; our hearts and souls do.
Our heads and minds don’t ache because of unresolved emotional pain resulting from traumatic childhoods and past experiences; are hearts and souls do.
What we are really experiencing when we find ourselves in a state of despondency, fear, shame, blame and overwhelm is emotional health not mental health.
The fear that we may be going mad, losing the plot in some way is an old, worn out and useless script replaying from the past when we were raised on stories of Mrs such-a-body down the road who ended up in a lunatic asylum because she didn’t stop crying for a month.
This teaches us two things; that crying is bad, wrong and unacceptable and that there is a time limit assigned to how long we can cry for before we are thought of as ‘fragile’ at best and ‘not quite right in the head’ at worse, heartbreakingly this even applies when we have something very real to be sad about, when sorrow is the only inevitable outcome of whatever we have experienced.
Breaking this cycle of emotional illiteracy begins with re-framing our understanding of our emotions and becoming comfortable with the realisation that there is no such thing as a ……. (insert label) emotion, there are only emotions and once we begin to understand this through the medium of an emotional and soulful education we realise that even the emotions we have been taught to fear and avoid the most have value.