Being a counsellor, coach etc, with all my work being so focused around helping clients and readers (and myself!) feel better every day, I sometimes forget all the good stuff I’ve learned and experienced.
In these moments, I think I should (warning sign in itself, those ‘shoulds’) somehow not let life’s challenges get to me.
This means that not only am I experiencing something I’m finding challenging, but I’m beating myself up about it. (It’s not Egypt or Syria. I’m so, so lucky compared to so much of the planet’s population. Yet thinking about all the people who are enduring much greater challenges doesn’t actually help me feel any better about myself and my own challenge).
I’ve read enough of the fantabulous Brene Brown to know that when a shame spiral hits, it’s best to allow those feelings to flow. So, tonight, I observed myself go into fight/flight mode. I felt the surge of adrenaline (I can still feel it). I felt myself get a bit shaky and hot.
I paid attention to and regulated my breathing. And I did a little yoga to help alleviate some of the stress hormones and shaking.
And I reached out to someone who could help.
I asked, quite articulately, for help. And when offered the exact kind of support I’d asked for, I said, ‘Sorry for wasting your time, I’m over-reacting…’ and stopped them following through.
So now I’m attempting to show myself a little more self empathy, to acknowledge that it was a horrible, scary thing (I’m sharing this in order to illustrate the challenges of self-care even when it’s your job. Please don’t worry about me – am fine. All is well) and that anyone would have been stressed about it.
And somehow, telling myself this helps my whole system calm down. Sure, the mindfulness and breathing and yoga (and conversation where I then went back on what I needed) helped too.
It’s something my clients sometimes get sick of hearing when I encourage them to pause in challenging moments and tune into their inner wisdom and just ask themselves what they need before figuring out a way to honour that as much as possible.
But ultimately, it’s acknowledging to ourselves that whatever we’re feeling is OK. Even if it’s scared, vulnerable, shaky, afraid, weak, powerless – all the things I still sometimes do my best resist feeling (even though I know that allowing myself to feel all of what Jon Kabat Zinn calls the emotional landscape the better able I am to experience joy, delight, love and all those ‘good’ things).
So next time you feel something you don’t like feeling and you want to put a lid on it and just numb yourself and stop feeling anything at all, you may want to experiment with allowing whatever the feeling that’s arising to flow.
It WILL pass (so much more quickly than when we attempt to divert such things).
And I’ll continue to do my best to do the same… 🙂
Image courtesy of Jennifer Ellison/freedigitalphotos.net