An easy way to feel confident and grounded is to embrace our emotions.
While we’re socialized to reject, ignore, avoid, suppress or downplay emotions, those
If we take another approach and understand the value of our emotions, we can use them as teachers in-the-moment that help us feel better and access insightful ideas for problem-solving.
Using emotions as data is a simple process:
- Name it to acknowledge its existence and release its intensity
- Decode it — what is it telling us?
- Respond to it instead of reacting without deliberate choice
An entrepreneur with a five-year-old start-up, Shelly, wanted to feel more calm. She had been giving “her all” for years now and wanted to feel more balanced in face of its success. However, she noticed that when employees quit or clients complained, she panicked.
In the past, this panic led her to spend weeks in a tailspin, worrying about “what people might say” or how the event might make her look. She hated feeling that way and wanted a more stable experience in face of challenges, especially the ones she cannot control.
When she started to embrace her emotions, she saw them as sisters/siblings who had important messages to give her. The first time she did this, she resisted the process because she thought that panic was bad or weak. However, what made it easy for her was to use a judgement-free approach to see “her sister” named, Panic, as a younger self (instead of bad or weak or unwanted). This new thought made her feel better about accepting or “talking to’ her Panic to see what could be learned.
When Shelly asked Panic what was needed, Panic “responded” by saying that she needed to feel safe. Panic panicked because she thought that people would say bad things about her/her company and she interpreted that as meaning that she’s “not good.” Shelly then suggested to Panic that all is ok, regardless of what happens, meaning that Shelly’s “elder” or “more mature” self could handle talent turnover or client complaints without feeling destabilized. Panic had not yet had that awareness. Through this conversation with herself, Shelly created an antidote to Panic which was: “When I feel Panic, I remind myself that I’m OK regardless of what happens. All I need to do is my best and I know I can handle whatever happens and the associated consequences.” In thinking this thought, Shelly was/is able to feel calm and then proceed to problem-solve from a resourceful (vs panicked) state, increasing her self-confidence and the quality of the outcomes she g
Different parts of us develop at different rates, leaving us with “younger” selves who behave in ways that worked when we were younger, yet often don’t meet our adult needs.
By talking to our various inner selves, we acknowledge unquestioned assumptions, beliefs or fears that were embedded in our subconscious minds through repetition or adaptation to our environments. This gives us the freedom to choose our responses, rather than stay trapped in reactions based on assumptions, fears or beliefs that we no longer consciously believe.
To take this blog idea into your own life: which thoughts or situations trigger you into panic or out of your highest self? How might you use your emotions as data to shift into a resourceful state, especially when you’re triggered?