Have you ever tried to hold a beach ball under water in a pool? If you have not it is harder than you think, it keeps wanting to come to the surface and it takes a lot of resistance to hold it under the water. This is a great metaphor for trying to resist our emotions and hold them in… They just keep coming to the surface and sometimes with a lot of force. They can even manifest into physical symptoms and it can turn into illness.
There are several ways we can handle our feelings:
Avoiding- Using avoidance tactics like disconnecting or buffering to avoid feeling an emotion… Resisting- This is where we keep pushing it down, like the beach ball… Indulging- Staying in an indulgent emotion like self-pity or confusion, not moving forward… Allowing- It is where you take a deep breath and feel the emotion all the way through…
Learning to feel any emotion and allowing it takes practice.
Start by becoming aware if you are feeling a negative emotion. Look for
triggers like buffering and disconnecting.
Then ask yourself these questions:
Where do you feel it in your body?
How would you describe it to someone?
Can you name the feeling?
Try it on, the next time you are reaching for a cupcake or
your hand is at the bottom of a chip bag, look to see what emotion you are
feeling and allow it instead of trying to avoid it with overeating……
I worked for a firm for 24 years and was offered another position at another firm last year. I was comfortable at my firm; they were a family to me. I had a great career working with great people. Then this job offer came…. Every feeling came up for me, scared, excited, uncomfortable, insecure, hopeful…. Am I good enough?
So, I made the decision to accept the job and move to the
new firm. Over the past 8 months, I have felt all of the feelings good and bad.
I love that I moved firms, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I realized I can
do hard things; I can feel any emotion and be ok. I am willing to feel any
feeling. I do not need to avoid or resist. I am also launching my coaching
business, like what? Lots of feeling have come up, but I know I can feel them
and just take the next action. I do hard things. I am a total BADA$$.
What if you were willing to feel any feeling? What if you
could feel them all, like the really hard ones, shame, fear, discomfort…. What
would you do, who would you be? What would you achieve or do?
I love butterflies. I was walking this morning and one kept popping up along my route. It was so beautiful. I named my company BFLY because of the transformation that a butterfly goes through. I have had so many transformations in my life. I feel like I have had a hundred transformations. I did not take the “right” path. I was divorced at 22 with a son, no education, and whole lot of self-doubt.
But somewhere inside of me, I always wanted more. I had
wonderful support and love always. But I had to make the changes, do the hard
things, change my thoughts about who I was and who I could become.
I have been so lucky that I have watched so many
transformations. This is why I love coaching. I have coached for over 20 years and
watching people grow and achieve things they never thought were possible is
absolutely my favorite thing. I have watched people grow in their careers, lose
weight, find love and have a baby, find self-love and self-confidence. I have
so much love for them my heart wants to explode.
I love transformations.
I love watching people grow and achieve things they never
thought were possible.
Have you had a “Before & After then another Before”? The first pic was in 2006, I was hitting an all-time high. Feeling a lot of despair and looking for a solution, I had gastric-bypass surgery in late 2006. I thought that would be the answers to all my problems. I did lose weight. It did help.
2 years after the surgery, I started to gain and lose weight
again. I realized even with the surgery; I could still eat whatever I wanted. I
still ate sugar. I just ate all day instead of one big helping. I started a
diet in 2012, that helped me to get to pic #2. But even in pic #2, I still was
not happy with my weight, I still had “more to lose”. Fast-forward to 2015. My
mom died. My husband’s mom died. It was a rough year. The third pic is me in
Hawaii, I had gained 65 pounds back from pic #2.
I had the gastric-bypass surgery and I was still in the same
place, still overweight and hating myself for it. The surgery was a short-term
solution for me, not a long-term solution.
So, there I was feeling like I was drowning. I hated the way
I looked and felt uncomfortable in my skin. I just became so sick and tired of
the next “diet”. I just could not go back to weight watchers one more time. That
is when I started to study thought management. I learned that it was never
about the food, it was always about my mind. I started on a journey to
reprogram my mind to not over-desire food and to love my body. I learned that
there is no “when I get to my goal weight” I will do x and finally feel happy.
That was always available to me. I did not have to wait for a number on a
scale. I will never be pic #1 or pic #3 again. I am grateful for pic #1 &
pic #3 Shannan, as she taught me so many things. But, I will never gain it back
because I have the tools and the secret to it all.
The brain is the most beautiful and powerful computer in existence, and we all have one. I was thinking today about how lucky I am to have this amazing brain. But this brain is also very tricky. It can tell me to stay in bed, eat the cupcake, don’t speak up, get back in bed, no serious get back in bed. Understanding the make-up of how our brain works is key to changing our thoughts.
The lizard brain(amygdala) aka the primitive brain is the oldest part of our brain, it has been evolving for over 285 million years. It is responsible for our “flight or fight” responses. It wants to keep us safe. In the beginning humans lived in caves and there was a real fear of being eaten by an animal. Fast forward a couple hundred thousand years and we do not live in caves and for most of us, we do not have the daily threat of animals eating us. But the lizard brain still exists, it tells us to go back in the cave. Be safe. It is responsible for our fear, procrastination, impulses. It does things that we are not conscious of. It is our brain, but it does things behind our back……
Good news, we have another part of our brain that has higher
level functions. Our prefrontal cortex is the part of our brain that we use to
plan, determine between good and bad, it stores our short-term memory, sets
goals, and a host of many other high-level functions.
Being aware that we have a lizard brain and its purpose is
key to allowing and changing our thoughts. When we disconnect, avoid, or
buffer, our lizard brain is in full effect. The first step is just noticing our
thoughts. Realizing just because you have a thought, does not make it a true
thought. You can allow a negative thought to be there, acknowledge it, and then
have a different thought, one that serves you.
Become a watcher of your thoughts. How many negative
thoughts do you have about yourself, about others? Is this a thought that your
very best self would think? Does this thought serve you? Is this thought something
that will take you closer to reaching your goals?
I was taught to be kind to others. I was taught to speak kindly and to pay attention to how others felt. I thought that I could “hurt” someone else’s feelings. This was reinforced by my amazing parents, school, and society. I worried about what I would say and how it would come off to others. I used to be a total people pleaser, wanting to make others happy. I still love when others are happy or when I get to serve. I taught this to my son, be kind to others, which is a good thing.
But what about me? How kind was I to myself, how did I speak to myself? For most of my life I never really thought about it. I thought it was normal to have negative thoughts about myself. Mostly I just buried the thoughts through disconnection and buffering. I would have thoughts like, I hate my body, you are not good enough, who are you to think that you deserve that, and so on and so on….
There is a different way. You can be kind to yourself. You
can allow a negative thought and learn to replace it with something kinder. You
can learn to love your body, love who you are, love everything that has
happened along your journey. It is possible for you, I promise.
Would you be your best friend with how you speak to
yourself? How many negative thoughts do you have about yourself a day? Next
time you tell one of your kids to be kind to a stranger or to their brother and
sister, don’t forget to tell them to be kind to themselves. And then do it for
I used to want to be happy all the time. I thought all those “other” people were happy, and I was missing something. You know, when you look at Facebook and everyone else has this perfect life, spouse, kids, job, body. When I felt negative emotion, I thought something was wrong. It led me to resist, push down or buffer my emotions.
I have learned that 50/50 is how it is and how it’s supposed
to be. We live in a world of positive and negative. It is the balance of the
world. It helps me to allow feelings instead of trying to disconnect, resist,
or buffer. I love it all, the bad and the good. I love where I have been and
where I am going. I am not afraid to feel any of it.
How would you approach life if you knew that it was 50/50? Would
you be willing to feel any feeling? What if nothing was wrong? What if everything
has been perfect? What if it has all been for you?
Do you ever let yourself feel Hunger? I used to not know what hunger really felt like. I was eating all of the time. I would eat 3 meals a day and in-between I would snack. If I even thought I was hungry, I would eat. I remember taking snacks with me when I traveled because the thought of not having food was scary. I mean, it not like there is food everywhere, but my lizard brain thought I was still living in a cave and that I did not have access to food. Oh, and I will not get started on the diet industry and what they have programmed us to believe…. I will save that for another post….
We have become so disconnected from our bodies, that we do not feel the natural sensations that are built in. Our bodies are amazing. They have these built in mechanisms to keep us alive, from pain sensors, to sensations that let us know when we are hungry and thirsty.
Many times, we think we are hungry, and we are just emotionally
hungry, we are using food to buffer our emotions. We also think we are hungry
and all we need is water, our body is dehydrated, or we need sleep. What does
it feel like in your body when you are hungry, have you stopped eating long
enough to feel hunger? If you let your body feel hunger, do you have thoughts
like “I am going to die, I am going to pass out”? I can help. I use to have the same thoughts……
I remember going through and writing a bunch of affirmations on my mirror when I was younger. They went something like “you are beautiful, I love my body, I can do anything”. I would say these in my head, but it just felt like BS. When I would repeat it, my lizard brain would say, “You are fat, you are not as smart as those other guys, you can’t do that, who are you to think you can do that”.
When I started doing this work on myself, I realized that I had to meet myself where I was at. To change the negative thoughts, I had to have more neutral thoughts. So, when I had a negative thought, I would replace it with, “I have a body, I produced a human from my body, I have accomplished things, I have done hard things”. These were thoughts I could believe. What thoughts can you believe? Can you allow a negative thought, know that it will be there but then think something more neutral or positive? How would that change your feelings and then change how you show up?
When I was 17, I was “totally in-love” with this boy. I could not stop thinking about him. I was so in-love with him that I could not imagine my life without him. I remember dropping everything to be with him, waiting for his call, and even driving hours to see him when he moved away (FYI, got in a lot of trouble for driving hours to see him). I had thoughts about him which created the feeling of desire. So how could I have all these thoughts and feelings about him, fast-forward a few decades and I can’t remember his name? For real, I cannot remember it……No serious, I started writing this blog 3 days ago and I still cannot remember his name…
How did I go from this feeling of overpowering desire to be with him and now I have not thought of him in 30 years? The only thing that changed were my thoughts and feeling of desire for him. We all can change our thoughts which then changes the feelings we have in turn changes our actions. We have done it a thousand times…
What if you could change your desire to overeat? What if it
was all in your mind the whole time? It never had anything to do with the food. What if you could forget to eat? What if you were not broken, nothing was wrong
with you, you just needed to change a thought?
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