Ever find yourself feeling completely and totally upset? Freaking out? Crying a river of tears about seemingly nothing at all? Or crying a river of tears about something or someone very specific just not knowing how to feel better? Basically, I’m talking about those emotional experiences where we feel crushed under the weight of fear, upset, and full-on attachment to the outcome.
I recently had one of these times myself, and I’m talking deep. Fierce emotion. A kind of emotional roller coaster that my typical tools didn’t seem to touch. Waves of anxiety, tears, and an all-around feeling of why-the-hell-can’t-I-shake-this???
And that’s the first thing to note actually… see your own self-judgement when it sneaks in. It magnifies our upset and keeps us in the emotional tornado longer.
Anyway, my recent emotional experience was actually quite ironic. Suffice it to say, I just married the man of my dreams, I’m blissfully happy embarking into this next chapter, and as a result I unearthed some equally deep fears in the other direction. Essentially, I struck an emotional oil geyser unlike anything I’d experienced to date. And even though we know striking oil is a great thing, it first starts with a giant, out-of-control mess, covering everything around it in icky blackness. And I was the little duck with sticky wings who couldn’t swim or fly until I busted out the Dawn dish liquid and did the work to wash off the ick.
So how do we wash off the ick? How do we get back to the clean water and fluffy feathers of emotional clarity and confidence? How do we a) move through a harsh emotional experience and b) come out the other side feeling the positivity in all we just tackled?
Great question. Here is how I did it this time:
1. Feel into the fear. When we reach a new depth of vulnerability, most of the time we resist the feelings that come with it… thinking it’s “wrong” or “bad” to be upset. Even harder when we think there’s nothing to be upset about and therefore we’re the freak who shouldn’t be freaking out. Remember, what we resist, persists, so honor whatever you’re feeling, for exactly what it is. Make the decision to feel into the fear… go for it… FEEL it. Go big. Cry it out. Let your body shake with sobs if that’s what you need. “Surviving” through a big sob sesh can actually be the first bit of positive energy you earn in this bigger process of growing past our fear. Release the body, release the mind. Good juju.
2. Realize this is normal. Seriously. We’re all human. We all have emotional lows that take us over from time to time. Sometimes those lows last a long time, and that’s normal too. Sometimes we don’t have the tools, or don’t know how to use the tools, to get ourselves out, so we stay stuck longer than we think we “should.” It’s easy to assume we’re failing on some level for feeling stuck in a dark emotional time… when the truth is, it happens to everyone. We think no one gets it, when actually everyone gets it. Hahaa kinda funny when ya think about it like that.
3. Recognize this as the achievement it is. Reaching new levels of vulnerability is an achievement. Why? Because it is directly linked to the courage you employ going huge in your life. Because it means you are pushing yourself to expand. You are taking on new and challenging experiences and connections. You are unlocking even more of what’s possible in joy, love, and everything. Not everyone does this. Not everyone is willing to try for exceptional levels of love and joy because of the emotional rigors that come with facing and overcoming our deepest fears. You in it, feeling it? You’re doing it. You’re a badass.
4. Detach from the outcome. The fact that we are aware of our fear gives us the power to work with it. Consciously and actively consider that even if the worst-case scenario went down… it would be ok. Not saying it wouldn’t be hard, devastating, or super painful… I’m just saying you would survive. Hard-wired fear has us feel like a break-up is just as “dangerous” as a saber-toothed tiger. Like a break-up could literally chomp on our jugular and kill us. No wonder we freak out! When we think about it consciously, it’s easy to see that that’s just not real. In seeing that, the terror that’s keeping us stuck starts to melt away, and once again we can just BE in our lives and relationships.
5. Surround yourself with positive reminders. Our emotions, big or small, painful or passionate, come from our thoughts. Fear is merely a thought that carries a “negative” emotional charge. Whatever you’re thinking that’s freaking you out, brainstorm other thoughts that diffuse your upset like letting the air out of an inner tube. Ahhhh, you feel it starting to release the tension inside you. Who knows, sometimes a new positive thought can be so powerful, the release it brings is more like popping a balloon, boom, and you’re free. If you are currently stuck in a negative spiral, this may take some effort. Do it. Come up with new awesome thoughts to go with the awesome life you’re actually out to live. Post your favorites everywhere. Sticky notes, dry-erase mirror messages, reminders in your phone, etc. If affirmations aren’t your thing, instead start with old notes, gifts from others, or anything that gives you that emotional uptick you’re after.
*6. Actively put yourself out there. This one is BIG. Talk to people you trust. When we actually, authentically share ourselves with others in our lowest times, we give them the opportunity to be there for us. We give ourselves the opportunity to feel understood, loved, and supported, all of which fuel our soul. A fueled soul can topple any fear and tug us out of any downward spiral. Have the courage to share what’s really going on with you. Talking to your people will toss you way up like you’re a cheerleader being thrown for the high toe-touch. Yeah, you’ll come back down into your friends’ arms, but you’ll also be out of the emotional hole with your feet back on the ground. When we’re feeling low, these kinds of ups make a real difference. That’s the power of being real with your people and putting yourself out there. Do it. Do it do it do it do it do it.
7. Give in. Remember you’re a person who’s decided to live a badass life. You’ve decided to live with courage.. you’ve decided to give yourself and your loved ones the chance for the greatest love and greatest joy in life despite the risk of annihilation attached. You know it’s worth it and you’re IN.
8. Do something fun for YOU. Straight up. Your choice. Enjoy!
This list is what helped me through my latest head-first cliff dive into life and love. I hope it helps you take on the waves the come from diving into your life too. Bottom line, know that taking on your next level of vulnerability is AWESOME. Know it gives you access to your next level of joy, love, and all-around badassery. Know you got this. Boom. Thank you, Dawn dish liquid!
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We think no one gets it, when actually everyone gets it.