In this series of posts examining the themes from Bruce D. Schneider’s book, Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core, we’ve explored the power of learning to lead your own energy and the essential role of emotional intelligence in that process. Today, for a deeper dive into the role and nature of emotions, I’m sharing an excerpt on the importance of self-compassion found in chapter four of my own book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!
Noticing and embracing all of our emotions is essential to finding flow and making it a way of life. It is nearly impossible to know how to nurture ourselves optimally if we are not willing to go inside, root around a bit and discover what makes us tick.
I know that when you are going through something painful you might feel you can’t bear the added anguish that might result from additional data. The opposite is actually the case; the fear festers and grows in the dark, taking over our lives precisely because we refuse to look at it closely. When we expose it to light and air by examining it with love, respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude rather than judging, the fear immediately begins to lose some of its power.
Emotions are important messengers. They help us notice the implications of what is happening and gain the maximum benefit from everything we experience. They are powerful indicators of where fear may still have a stronghold and be blocking our growth. They point the way to where we might go exploring for untapped veins of developmental gold.
Knowing how to recognize, process, express and release emotions is essential to our well-being. When we don’t do so, the resulting buildup of fear-based emotional toxins can be energetically lethal. Our systems bog down from the poison and we become stuck in an endless loop of replaying past pain, injuring and crippling ourselves even more.
When I first began coaching, I was surprised by the number of clients, men and women alike, who were ashamed of crying, even in the presence of a licensed professional coach. Some cited a special appreciation for the norm of coaching by phone because they believed I wouldn’t know when they were crying. (Though it is unlikely that an experienced, intuitive life coach won’t know that you are crying, even if you do so silently.) Tears are a common human response to strong emotion, especially fear and its cousins. For many, the only way to avoid crying is to avoid feeling.
Why is shedding tears so important and beneficial? There is a great parallel in the example of therapeutic massage. Every massage therapist I’ve ever worked with encouraged me to drink lots of water for the twenty-four to forty-eight hours after a massage. Deep tissue work releases copious toxins into your system. For the net result of the massage to be beneficial, it is necessary to flush those toxins from your system as quickly and completely as possible. When you don’t do so, your body may become overwhelmed, resulting in illness. Water is an essential element in ensuring that the massage is therapeutic and not detrimental. Water fosters flow.
Think of crying as the emotional equivalent of water after a massage. When you’ve done deep emotional work on your own or with a guide, stored emotional toxins are released into your system. Tears are one of the common ways to release those toxins and gain the full benefit of the emotional work. Some clients who are carrying a lifetime of unacknowledged, unfelt stored emotions say they are afraid that if they start crying now, they will never stop. While I empathize with that concern, I am happy to report it doesn’t tend to happen. Even a little bit of crying can do a world of good. The stored-up tears do stop, and then, by remaining aware and fully embracing all of your feelings all of the time, you’ll find a little bit of crying goes a long way. Just respecting your feelings enough to notice them and demonstrate compassion rather than continuing to tell yourself to suck it up and stop being a wimp will result in far greater emotional equilibrium and resilience in the face of life’s ups and downs.
When tears arise, it’s an indicator that we are in the presence of a big insight that bears deeper exploration once the strong emotions have been respected and cleared. Other times, there is nothing of note, just a need for a little release of pent-up stress. How do you know which you are dealing with?
Once the tears have passed, breathe, close your eyes and recenter yourself. Once centered, ask yourself if something bears deeper examination. Notice subtle responses throughout the major energy systems in your body, especially any tightening in your head, neck, chest, solar plexus or stomach. Such responses may mean there is more to be worked through. An overall feeling of well-being usually means there is nothing to look at, or nothing to look at right now. In all cases, just trust your intuition. This powerful technique may also be applied to decision making. While it may feel too subtle to notice at first, with practice you will become quite adept at reading your energy.
Remember, emotions are not automatic—they stem from how we interpret events and situations by labeling them as “good” or bad.” Every time you notice yourself experiencing unpleasant emotions, stop and demonstrate genuine compassion for yourself. When you feel “heard” and ready to dig deeper, neutralize the judging voice with curiosity so you can begin looking for the important messages and opportunities buried within the experience. With practice, you’ll be amazed by how adept you become at shifting your energy from catabolic to anabolic through the power of compassionate conscious choice.
Eager to begin exploring the goldmine of valuable messages underneath your emotions? Sign up below for a 60-minute complimentary coaching session.
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“With the same energy and determination she applied in the professional world, Deborah has taken her considerable expertise in human potential and has now set her sights on the largest co-op in the world, humanity. ‘Choose Your Energy, Change Your Life!’ tackles what I believe are the most important questions we each must ask: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and what’s love got to do with it (cue Tina Turner)? These are not trivial or philosophical questions for the answers change what we do, why we do it, who and what we love. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk with Deborah on this critical journey.” JD Messenger, Award Winning Author of “11 Days in May: The Conversation That Will Change Your Life”
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