Did you ever attend a class called "how to feel your emotions"? I never did, through my entire academic career this class was never offered, but I wish that it was. As a young girl I remember being told, why are you crying, why are you so emotional, just get over it; what's the big deal. It wasn't until I learned about coaching and personal development where I delved deeper and discovered that learning how to heal, meant learning how to feel. And this is the is the secret to emotional wellbeing. The NIH defines emotional wellness as the ability to successfully handle life's stress and adapt to change and difficult times. Nowadays kids are learning the Second Step method and other emotional skills, which gives hope that the next generation will be healthier emotionally.
Let me explain by saying that back in the day we had to avoid pain. We were literally living in fear, because we didn't know if we'd survive. ˑAvoiding pain back then meant not being attacked while attempting to sleep. It was survival. Nowadays, avoiding pain means you might feel discomfort like an urge or a craving. We've convinced ourselves, for sure that pain is to be avoided.
If you learn how to delay pleasure instead of seeking it, you can learn how to feel and you can heal. This means embracing the pain, opening up to negative emotion, and experiencing it all.
Most of us have learned some version of: other people hurt our feelings, other people make us happy and circumstances make us happy or sad. As a child, you may have heard "Did Sammy hurt your feelings?" Ok, let's go talk to Sammy and tell him not to do that again. Or maybe you heard: "What you said really hurt Lizzy's feelings, don't say things that hurt people's feelings." In school we were taught not to hurt other people's feelings and not to let them hurt ours.
We think other people make us happy. "That makes mommy so happy when you do that" or "You make me so happy!" Does this sound familiar?
The truth is that other people don't make us happy, other people can't hurt our feelings. We try to change them, ask them to apologize, teach them how to speak to us and act towards us, we try to teach them all the things, but they don't behave the way we want them to, so they don't make us happy. Even if they did every single thing we wanted, they'd not make us happy. Because you know what makes us happy? Our own thoughts.
Or maybe your story was: Go to college. Get a good job. Get married. Find a husband that makes you happy. Find a wife that will make you happy. We are taught that circumstances make us happy or sad. We work, acquire the things we thought we wanted because they'd make us happy, and yet we still wonder what would make me happy? When good things happen we're happy. When we achieve things in life, when we go after things in life and accomplish them, we think that will make us happy. If we don't get them, we'll be sad. If we are thin, if we're fit, if we're rich, we'll be happy. This is what most of us have been taught.
The truth is, emotions are energy that fuel our thoughts, that make us take action and produce results in our lives. Emotional wellbeing is everything, because it determines everything else in our lives; but we're not taught anything about it. Maybe in third grade you were taught happy, sad or mad face and that's been the extent of the emotional education.
We want to lose weight because of how we think it will make us feel; we avoid doing things because of how we think they'll make us feel; your emotional wellbeing drives everything and it's what actually matters.
I have a degree in Psychology and even there we studied the impact of not processing your emotions. It wasn't until I got coached and learned the skill of coaching myself, did I understand what causes our emotions, how to process and manage them. As a coach, I had to learn how to dig deeper to learn how to manage my mind and emotions. I had to study myself. I learned that other people don't have ability to hurt our feelings, because our feelings are caused by our thoughts. Our thoughts make us happy, not what people say, think or do. So that's good news, because when you learn how to stop outsourcing your emotional wellbeing to others, and start feeling your emotions, you can begin to heal. This is what a coach can help you with. No matter what the thought it, an experienced coach can help you clean it up, teach you how to feel the emotion and process it. This is essential for your emotional wellbeing.
If you think that you're suppose to be happy all the time and you're not, you try to fix it. What do you do when you think this? Most of us, go out and find false pleasure, such as overeating, overdrinking, binge on social media and all the things we are trying to do to make negative emotions go away. We resist it, deny it, shut it down, ignore it, because we think there is something wrong with us. But, actually there is nothing wrong with you. You're a human, having a human experience. Nothing has gone wrong, welcome to human life.
Humans aren't happy all the time, they experience pain, sadness, anxiety, and stress. Can you be open to that part of your life, as much as you're open to being happy? Life is actually 50/50. Just think about it, do you really want to be happy when someone dies, or gets hurt? The human life is messy, we're suppose to feel discomfort and pleasure. We can feel discomfort, like an urge or a carving for that piece of a pie and still not eat it; yes it's possible. I can coach you through it! The best news is that everyone's life is 50/50. Even a person on the runway, with a perfect body - do you think she doesn't hate her body, worry about her body or wants to change it? Do you think she thinks "my body is perfect, I love my body?" Or a professional athlete? It's the same, they're human just like you and me.
Let's bring it all together and look at steps that you can start to implement today.
Steps towards emotional wellbeing:
Become self-aware. Observe your thoughts. Be careful not to get stuck in the lack of self-awareness, this is a dangerous place to be. Pay attention to your thoughts. Examine them, become an an observer. Practice saying 'that's interesting, that I keep thinking that'. There is less tension when we become an observer of our thoughts, vs judging our thoughts.
Welcome all emotions. Avoiding and resisting negative emotions, and thinking you need to fix them, by seeking external pleasure, like overeating, overdrinking, over (fill in the blank) can keep us stuck. When we try to fix internal problems with external solutions, it's a recipe for an addiction. Embrace all emotions, learn how to feel an emotion in your body and process it (this is what a coach can help you with) and learn to then release the emotion so you can move forward in your life. This is what promotes emotional wellbeing.
Emotional wellbeing is your ticket to living a healthy life. If you'd like to boost your emotional wellbeing IQ or even if you're curious to experience the power of coaching for yourself, book a FREE 15min coaching session.
I invite you to stop hiding and start living your life, by welcoming all emotions.
You don't have to this work alone. I have helped so many women move past their most debilitating thoughts, and towards a more fulfilling life. I can help you too, if you will say yes to your emotional wellbeing.