Have you ever suffered hurt or disappointment?
Do you ever get angry with yourself or others, or feel guilty?
Have you ever had an emotional response that has left you so triggered that it is all you can think of for days and days?
Chances are that we have all felt these emotions in our lives from time to time. Sometimes these emotions can be really intense. We can really feel upset by them or feel so stuck that we just can’t move past them.
Let me tell you about something that happened to me recently…
I was facilitating a workshop and it was all going well. In the break, someone came to me and said, “Excuse me but, there is a typo on one of your slides.”
Now I acknowledge that it took a lot of courage for this person to come up to me and tell me this. I know that she was doing this because she cared about me and my professional integrity. I personally value professional discourse and honest direct feedback.
I know that to you this might seem trivial… So then why was I feeling so triggered?
To be perfectly honest this emotional response hung around me for days after the workshop like a bad smell. So I decided to put pen to paper and to curiously and courageously unpack some of what was going on for me.
I learnt this process at a personal development course that I attended a few years ago. I have since added my own bits to it so that works for me.
Today, I would like to share this experience and the process that I used with you. My hope is that this might help you with some of the feelings or emotions that have taken up residence in your mind and heart.
How I got myself out of Stucksville
First of all, I found a time where I was able to be undisturbed and I able to focus on my thoughts. I then tried to, as accurately as possible, to write down all the facts about the situation. (Just the facts)
I then tried to think about what I am projecting – something from my past (in this case, the first-ever presentation I did in front of a group of people many years ago) or was it fear or something that I am worried about for the future?
In this instance, I realised that I was in my circle of concern rather than my circle of influence and that I needed to move back into where my power was.
I then confronted myself and wrote down everything that I was saying about myself and this situation.
I usually take a “no holds barred” approach to this as I feel that once these words are on paper they are no longer taking up the room in my head. I then acknowledge them and draw a line under what I had written to signify that I am now moving past them. I reminded myself that nothing has meaning except the meaning that I give it.
What are my feelings telling me?
The next step is to pinpoint the emotions that I am feeling.
For me, it was anger and disappointment.
I have three choices with these emotions. I can either wallow in them(and make them mean something about me) try to bury them (we can easily fall into the habit of labelling our emotions as “bad” and to try to avoid feeling them) or … I can see them for what they are information.
“Information for what?” You might be asking. Information for what my next move should be.
(I have included a list of common emotions that we don’t like to experience and what they might be telling you below.)
When I examined what my emotions were telling me, I realised that I had not met my own expectations of myself. I had also violated my “rule” about excellence and professionalism.
I then needed to challenge my expectations – were they realistic? As well as my perceptions around my “rules”.
What did excellence and professionalism mean to me?
Life is all about perception and what we tell ourselves at any given moment of time. Once we realise that we control the narrative of our lives it opens a world of new possibilities. What you tell yourself everyday will either lift you up or tear you down – YOU decide.
So instead of perpetuating the narrative of not being good enough, not professional enough, et cetera, et cetera (that we all can fall prey to).
I chose to change the narrative.
I decided to tell myself that I am human. That everyone makes a mistake from time to time – even professionals.
I chose to tell myself that I will take action to do better in the future. However, I would probably still make mistakes and that this is okay.
I decided to take the lessons from this experience. To forgive my younger self for the disastrous workshop from years ago (and for my mistake in the recent one.) And to let it go.
What are your emotions telling you?
Here is a list of common “unpleasant” emotions and the action that they are telling you to take:
Fear – I am unsafe/I need to prepare – get prepared, change your situation or change your perception about the situation.
Hurt – unmet expectations – adjust your perception or your expectations.
Anger – one of your “rules” has been violated by yourself or by others – You can accept the situation, take steps to change it or move away from it.
Frustration – what you are doing isn’t working – change your behaviour or try something new.
Sadness or Disappointment – unmet expectations – adjust your perception or your expectations.
Guilt – you are out of alignment with your values – adjust your values or realign with your values.
All unpleasant feelings stem from some sense of loss – real or imagined.
What had I lost in this situation?
It turns out that my sense of loss was merely a projection, an idea that I was aspiring to be.
What about you?
How do you choose to deal with your feelings?
Have you ever thought about your emotions as feedback or information on an action that you had to take in your life?
Could use these often perceived “negative emotions ” as an agent for change or as a powerful way to empower you?
If you found these steps useful or helpful and you would like to chat with me about mentoring, wellbeing coaching or whole team PLD please get in touch.