Welcome to my 11-part series of How to Transform Your Life where I share my favorite tools and resources that I implemented and improved my life with. Today is the fourth transformational tip on processing negative emotions. Enjoy!
Unresolved inner conflicts impact our health, career, and relationships. This robs us of enjoying our lives. If you are triggered, agitated, or apathetic, and depressed it could be from holding onto unprocessed painful experiences. This prolonged suffering is reflected in the body as explained by Bessel van der Kolk in the book, The Body Keeps the Score.
I realized I was an emotional hoarder of wounds after my body went into sudden cardiac arrest from buried away resentments and disappointments from decades before. There are five major wounds and fears: abandonment, betrayal, humiliation, injustice, and rejection. Not knowing how to process pain, I told myself to “get over it.” or denied being upset, or minimized my experience by saying it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t know there were methods to release it. Doesn’t time heal? When a similar situation arose it triggered me to believe another negative situation reminiscent of the past would occur and my body would have a visceral reaction.
Studies have shown we do not emotionally develop beyond the age of unresolved conflicts. Mark Oliver, explains in the book The Four Intelligences most people in the United States don’t emotionally mature past the age of eight. This explains why a grown adult can go into a fit and act childlike.
In nature, when an animal is in a dangerous and stressful state, its heart races, cortisol, adrenalin, and norepinephrine flood the body. Once out of danger, the animal has the capacity to return back to homeostasis within ninety seconds. Dr. Joe Dispenza states humans have the same capacity. When we hold onto the stress long after the experience has occurred it is possible we are addicted to those hormonal states. The good news is addiction can be overcome by processing negative emotions as a daily practice.
Imagine the light feeling of prioritizing emotional well-being by clearing out negative experiences. Do this in a safe quiet space, when alone and uninterrupted, between thirty and ninety minutes. The three great resources listed below help process negative emotions.
Emotional Map from Making Love Work by Barbara De’Angelis
This method includes writing or speaking out loud and expressing emotions in the following six steps. Each level breaks down the negative charge and leads into the next level where all emotions are resolved.
Anger, resentment, and blame
Hurt, sadness, and disappointment
Fears, insecurities, and wounds
Regrets, understanding, and responsibility
Wishes, intentions, and solutions
Love, appreciation, and forgiveness
The Work by Byron Katie
The first step of this process is to fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet where you answer six questions about the triggering experience. Then there are four questions to reflect on and then a turnaround. Byron Katie hosts a weekly podcast, At Home with Byron Katie demonstrating this powerful and transformative process.
A Hawaiian spiritual practice used to clean energy by reciting four sentences. This method is popularized by the story of Dr. Hew Len, a clinical psychologist who worked with the developmentally disabled and the criminally mentally ill and their families. He didn’t treat the patients instead he applied the following steps towards himself stating that when the data is clear within it ceases to be expressed in those around you. This method was so radical that the patients healed and the mental institution was closed.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
The process is complete when you feel lighter, more loving, and at peace with the past. The inner conflict is resolved and all that is left is a sense of gratitude. There is power in seeing things anew, gaining insights, and inspiring a change in responses and behaviors.
Everyone deserves to experience a rewarding and fulfilling life. Take the time to clean up and process emotional wounds. It may be exhausting as memories surface to grieve, but the body will heal and so will your emotional resilience.
I had no idea that THIS would be the video I posted on Valentines Day. However, perhaps there are people today thinking about their relationships and love life and are feeling a bit depleted.
My intention is that this video brings some peace and encouragement to those who are feeling like their relationship is not going down the way they envisioned. This is to provide some perspective and a space to move forward.
Many of you have noticed I have not posted a video or blog in some time and have expressed concern and wanted to know what I have been up to. First of all, I would like to thank you for coming to my blog and taking an interest in me and my video or blog posts. My blog started as an online journal for myself, then evolved into a way I can share my perspective, thoughts, and inspiration. Thank you for being a part of that.
My Online Absence Although I absolutely love and adore the Internet and all the wonderful people I have connected with, I found that gradually I was spending more time online and less time being present in my physical environment and the relationships right in front of me. I enjoyed all the feedback on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and here on my blog. I felt like I needed to respond to everyone and I just couldn’t keep up with all that and manage my physical life. I became very behind in corresponding to comments, emails, messages, and questions. The more behind I became the more of a burden my online presence became for me. It shifted from fun and exciting to an obligation. Needless to say, this is hardly an “inspired” state.
An Internal Struggle In addition to taking a break from blogging, I had to take a break from romance and dating. I had the pleasure of dating men however, it seemed things moved faster and more intense than I was wanting so instead of slowing things down I went MIA. I struggle with the idea of romance and where that fits in my life. I had to do some soul searching and really figure things out before I stepped back out in the social world.
Health This is an area that directly relates to my internal state. In the beginning of the year I was clocking in about 60 hours of exercise a month & eating very high raw. However, when I freaked out and went MIA with dating I dropped down to a very minimal amount of exercise and kept eating the same amount if not MORE food. NOT A GOOD IDEA! Weight crept back on and I felt ashamed of myself. However I felt I was justified going MIA because I was beginning to look bloated and feeling uncomfortable being social. However, we are far more transparent than we think we are and situations like this just show me that I was experiencing an internal struggle. I have found through food a way to dampen the rawness of emotions I was experiencing.
Romance I love romance and I am a sucker for a beautiful love story. However, when it comes my way I really haven’t mastered that aspect of my life. It seems when I crave romance the options and opportunities flow into my life, yet when it becomes so serious so quick I tend to get cold feet and back off. I have a few ideas that could be the source:
Overall, I am content being single. I no longer have the idea that I have to be married or be in a romantic relationship to be complete. However at times I do crave the experience(or it could be hormones). I just want it to happen more slowly and balanced rather than a big surge that happens too fast. I don’t feel a need to hurry or put a label on it, and when I date someone who seems to come on quick I tend to run and hide. To me it appeared a bit desperate and co-dependant….which is what I used to be and I am afraid of being that again.
With that in mind, I came to the conclusion that I was being given the opportunity to see if I had overcome some of my past relationship bad habits. I used to be the girl that fell head over heels fast. I overly romanticized the person and the experience and lived in a fantasy in my head. I wasn’t present and had expectations.
Another factor that presented itself was how it affected my relationship with my kids. When I was a teen and my newly divorced parents started dating I felt like I was second rate, competing for their affection and time. From my view, my parents were more interested in romance than being a parent. I had some resentments and I lashed out towards my parents and their romantic interests. I felt my teen years went from being “normal” to being a stay at home mom for my younger brothers while I saw my parents out dating. I carry that memory today. Perhaps I am hyper-sensitive to my children and would never want them to feel like I preferred the company of a man over theirs. At the same time, I realize that this may just be my own limiting belief that romance would pull me away from my kids. I just never wanted my kids to feel second rate. In conversations with my kids, they have expressed that they are happy with the idea of me dating and would enjoy meeting the people I bring into my life. It just seemed to be a fear that I would get too wrapped up in my romance that I compromised my relationship with my kids as well as other aspects of my life.
Family Life With all that in mind I went off the dating scene and started spending more time with my children (which inspired my blog in May “10 Wise Lessons for my Children”). Being a mother is a priority and a pleasure and I know my time with them is precious. They are growing up so fast. I want to make the most of it. So, we went camping in Yosemite and Idyllwild. We have been spending so much time outdoors, at the beach, hiking, biking, swimming and playing.
Alex is training for football, which I think is NUTS, because of his frame and body type. I really feel his strengths are with speed and agility. However, I must step aside and let my son make decisions for himself. We both feel that this may very well be his last opportunity to play this sport on a team. We plan to make the most of it and perhaps move on to soccer or baseball when the season ends.
At the same time, Mehgan is in cheer leading. It makes life so much easier having practices and games at the same location and time as football. Although Meg prefers to be in independent activities I encouraged her to give this sport a shot. This also plays up her gymnastics background as well as learning to work on a team. I felt it was a nice transition while building new friendships since many of her friends moved this summer. Meg also had the opportunity to model for Anchor Blue in a Back to School Fashion Show at a local mall. She loved it and it’s right up her alley since she says she wants to create her own fashion line and model it herself one day.
School Changes I also made the decision with my kids that this was the last year of homeschooling for us. My son is starting high school and the kids were expressing a desire to do something different. Alex and Mehgan are now enrolled to attend a charter school and we all look forward to the new experience. I am so thankful that I took the past 3 years with my kids and home schooled them. I really felt the experience allowed us to grow together in a common direction. Our bond is so close and I will forever cherish the memories we had. My family life wouldn’t be what it is today if we didn’t take that time.
Garden I didn’t put alot of effort into gardening or any home improvements. However, scattered seeds sprouted up on their own and I have been enjoying the ease of letting the plants do their thing rather than babying them. I also just became curious and would stick things in the ground just to see how they grew for example a sprouting potato or onion. I have been more of an observer of plant cycles than anything else. I do love gardens, but if I continue with growing an edible landscape I seriously need a landscape designer that could help me make it look more aesthetic.
Career Obviously, once the kids start school that opens up time for me to recommit to an online presence and contribute more to the community. I enjoy sharing my journey. I enjoy having a voice. I enjoy feeling inspired and on purpose.
In Conclusion Overall, I feel I have been looking to balance my life. I went up and I went down and now I am leveling out. I may have over compensated in some ways, but I really am just relaxing with where I am now and I am making sure I get a little taste of everything rather than bingeing on one thing. I am happy to say I feel that I am getting back on track.