“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” ~ Jim Rohn
I love stability, don’t you? It’s kind of like driving. We want our cars to ride smoothly, but there are always bumps in the road. That’s why we need emotional stability. Like shock absorbers, being emotionally stable allows us to withstand and handle adversity while we still keep moving forward.
However, because life is always changing, it’s vital to have a system for fully experiencing the highs, the lows and everything in between.
For day-to-day stresses, you can maintain emotional stability by using methods such as meditation, becoming more mindful, exercise and restorative sleep.
But life often throws things at us that we’re not prepared to handle. People are confronted with tragic circumstances like life-changing health issues, death of a loved one, divorce, physical and/or sexual abuse, violence, accidents, and so much more. We’re not born knowing how to deal with these things. And it’s quite possible that no one in your immediate family or circle of friends has had to deal with them either, so they can’t help you.
If you’ve experienced an emotional crisis that has thrown you completely off balance, what can you do to regain emotional stability?
A momentary lapse in behavior does not make you emotionally unstable. The emotional instability I’m talking about is caused by a lifetime of repressed emotions, tamping them down instead of experiencing emotions in a healthy manner. That’s when we become unstable and ungrounded.
It’s like a thorn in your finger that leads to an infection, except it’s an emotional splinter in your heart and soul. It’s always raw and sore. It limits what you can do, because you’re preoccupied with the wound. And since you tell yourself that it’s ugly, you try to keep it hidden.
How can you clear out emotional debris?
You can’t just dig around your festering wound superficially. That would be like getting part of the thorn out, but leaving the tip. You must get to the bottom of it and fully feel the entire range – the breadth and depth of your emotion. Painful? Yes! But that’s the way healing occurs.
Many people keep their calendars so booked that they don’t have time to think. I suggest you clear some time, perhaps even devoting the next year to making your emotional hygiene a priority. Make the commitment to take time to experience your emotions fully as they arise. In that way, you can develop a reliable system for emotional stability.
Developing or regaining emotional stability will not happen overnight. It’s going to take time and practice. Your progress will depend on how long you can sit with your deeply disturbing emotions like sadness, anger, or fear.
Here’s how to do it: Each time you feel a wave of that emotion, find a quiet place by yourself and go deeply into it. If you’re feeling sad, think about the saddest things in your life. Then just cry it out until there’s nothing left. (If the thought of doing this frightens you or if you’re struggling with PTSD, depression or anxiety, please consult with a mental health care professional who can support you through this process.)
The point is to start by thinking of the ugliest, most painful thoughts and letting that feeling take you over and flow out through your tears, thoughts, and breaths. Once you’ve released that emotion, you can go on with your day. You’ll discover that each wave of emotion, on average, only lasts 90 seconds.
As you crash through each emotional wave, you’re closer to calmness and serenity. Learning the process of experiencing emotions fully makes life easier. It allows you to experience new emotions without them taking over your whole day. You can get past it without doing damage to yourself or others.
Regaining emotional stability after a crisis is much easier when you have a safe place to be heard and supported. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you practice greater awareness and coping techniques.
Managing our expectations is one of life’s greatest challenges. Positive expectations can lead to positive results. Too often, however, we make ourselves unhappy because we have unrealistic expectations.
Unrealistic expectations can also have a ripple affect. For example, when you expect the best from someone, you’re more patient and supportive. You invest time and resources in them because you believe it’s worth it. On the other hand, when you expect the worst from someone, you downplay or dismiss their efforts. You don’t invest your emotions in them and you withhold time and attention that could help them do better.
What you expect becomes your reality, because the brain believes what you are thinking. Life is too short to let unrealistic expectations stand in they way of happiness. So from time to time it’s a good idea to assess our expectations and adjust to the way life really is, not the way you wish it to be. Because life isn’t a fairy tale where everything magically has a “happy ever after” ending.
Are you affected by some of these seven common unrealistic expectations?
Life should always be easy and fair.
When things don’t easily go as planned, people tend to do one of two things: 1) complain and give up, or 2) roll up their sleeves and work hard to create the life they want. Yes an excellent life takes hard work. But with hard work comes a sense of self-worth and deep satisfaction.
You’re either born lucky or you’re not.
This predetermined way of thinking will keep you from trying to change your circumstances. People have demonstrated over and over that they can get healthier, improve their finances, create a happy family life, and make a difference. If they can, so can you.
The universe owes me!
Many people in the United States feel entitled to a certain standard of living. Entrepreneurs especially are fed the philosophy that if you send out good vibes to the Universe, it will bring you what you want. Just because you deserve more money doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. You have to have the emotional courage to stick your neck out, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and ask for it. When you limit yourself to what’s given to you, you’re at the mercy of other people and you’ll always feel indebted and small.
People should automatically get what I mean.
People can’t read your mind. What you think you said is not always what they hear. You might be asking someone to do something, but if you don’t give all the relevant information, or explain the reasons why something is done a specific way, you’re going to have problems. Learning NLP can help you communicate effectively. Communicating clearly begins with understanding the other person’s perspective. Also, it’s unrealistic to be offended when others disagree with you. There is hardly ever only one right answer.
I know I’m going to fail.
I don’t believe in failure. I believe life is a learning process. You learn all you can about your project, believe in yourself, and do your best. Remember that Thomas Edison “failed” 1,000 times when inventing the light bulb. A reporter asked him how it felt to fail so often, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Everyone should like me.
Realistically not everyone will like you. Your worth isn’t measured by being liked by everyone. Concentrate on creating trusting, intimate friendships. There are no shortcuts.
I can change/fix him.
As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself”. So why do you want to spend time with someone you feel needs “fixing”? The only person you can change is yourself. Avoid people who bring you down and pursue friendships with genuine, positive people.
It takes mindful effort, but you can let go of unrealistic expectations. Neuro Linguistic Programming is a powerful tool for intentionally creating the life you want, so I’d like to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon. Make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event.
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” ~ Brené Brown
When was the last time you were asked to do something that you didn’t want to do, and you did it anyway? Your intuition or gut screams “no”, but you push ahead, and when you do, what happens? You feel used, unappreciated, undervalued. Your anxiety, frustration and anger rise.
Why do we do that to ourselves? When we do it, we’re not happy. And the people we’re interacting with won’t be happy either, because we begrudge every moment. It doesn’t allow us to be wholeheartedly present and joyful.
This unhappy chain of events begins with not recognizing and honoring emotions. Yes, you felt a push back to the request, but that’s not the emotions I’m referring to. I mean the emotions that made your heart pound and your stomach clench so that you were unable to say “No!”
Why do some people become people-pleasers? Is it because they hate confrontation and they don’t feel strong enough to speak their truth? Is it because they don’t want to let anyone down? Is it that they are afraid they won’t be liked or accepted anymore?
To gain greater awareness of these deeply held emotions, it takes willingness to be present with the pain, the guilt, the shame, the fear, and the discomfort. It means admitting your vulnerability. And it’s scary to dive that deeply into your emotions. But be assured that from such vulnerability arises the internal harmony, strength, conviction, ideals and values you’ll need to set realistic emotional boundaries.
Does the thought of setting emotional boundaries intimidate or scare you? Perhaps you believe that boundaries scare people away. And you’re afraid of being excluded and alone.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Emotional boundaries are a form of empowerment, strength, and a way for you to align with your true self. If you don’t have boundaries, you’re sending the message that you don’t care, that you don’t know what you want, that you’re desperate to take whatever you can get, and that you won’t put up a fight. No one feels good being a doormat like that.
Setting personal boundaries is a form of self-respect and self-love. By respecting yourself enough to set necessary boundaries in your life, you’ll gain the respect of others and discover a unique freedom and peace of mind.
Clearly define your emotional boundaries and stick to them. If you wish to establish more healthy boundaries in your life, here are a few helpful tips for you:
- Acknowledge that you don’t have to be superwoman.
- Recognize your limits: you can’t and shouldn’t do everything.
- Know that your limits don’t define who you are, just what you chose to do.
- Do well what you can, let someone else do the rest.
- Remember that it’s okay to say no.
- Reconnect with or discover what you want out of life.
- Clearly define your ideals and values.
- Reevaluate the list of the things you will or will not tolerate in your life.
- Write a sticky note giving you permission to feel your emotions and say “no”.
- Discuss your intentions with an accountability partner.
- Trust that the right people will stick with you no matter what.
It takes courage and a lot of internal work to set emotional boundaries. If you crave that kind of courage and peace of mind, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to provide guidance and accountability in support of your quest for a more fulfilling life.
“Real connection and intimacy is like a meal, not a sugar fix.” ~ Kristin Armstrong
Does the idea of being emotionally intimate sound amazing or scary to you? Fear keeps many people distant from others. As a result, they become loners or social butterflies that flit from one encounter to another, collecting acquaintances but no real friendships.
Either way they feel empty inside. It’s the difference between having a burger versus an avocado salad for lunch. The first one looks delicious but it has no nutritional value. The second one is deeply nourishing and the benefits can last for a long time.
If you carry such fear, be assured that it’s possible to get rid of the fear. You can experience the exquisite joy of connecting with another person emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – that endeavor we call intimacy.
We all need close friends who are there for us through good times and bad. They are the people who love and accept us for who we are. There are two things that will help you be more comfortable forming intimate relationships.
First, you need to accept yourself the way you are.
When you learn to be mindful, fully aware of yourself, you can be authentic and open with others. When you learn to listen to yourself and trust yourself then you can truly listen and trust others.
“Intimacy simply means that the doors of the heart are open for you, you are welcome to come in and be a guest. But that is possible only if you have a heart which is not stinking with repressed sexuality, which is not boiling with all kinds of perversions, which is natural – as natural as trees, as innocent as children. Then there is no fear of intimacy.” ~ Osho
If you long for intimacy, you have to be willing to drop your defenses, repressions, and inhibitions and be vulnerable. If you’re living a simple, natural life there will be no fear of intimacy, only abundant joy and fulfillment. But if there are scars and wounds that you’re trying to hide, these will need to be healed and mended. Otherwise, you’ll always be afraid that someone will “find out”.
These hurts will no longer have power over you when you let them go, because you’ve rid yourself of self-condemnation and judgment. You accept that you don’t have to be perfect. You no longer lose respect, greatness, or ego, because you’re not focused on those things any longer.
Second, you must open up fully to others and let them get to know the person you are inside.
Platonic intimacy goes deeper than everyday ‘small talk’. It takes time. Lasting friendships grow from having a common interest or shared passion. It’s not that you want to sleep together, but you want to work together towards a common goal. And your differences in opinion and outlook bring richness to the friendship.
Look at the friends or acquaintances you already have and see if there isn’t someone you’d like to get to know better on a deeper level. Look for your common ground and start sharing deeper thoughts and feelings on that topic. Remember, intimacy takes willingness to be vulnerable, to share yourself and risk hurt and rejection. You’ll achieve it only when you’re being deliberate, consistent and exquisitely attentive.
If you’re struggling with how to build intimate relationships, please check out the Women in Leadership Retreat that my intimate friend Nando Raynolds and I are leading on May 20 and 21. We can work with you on this particular goal. Or feel free to contact me and schedule a one-on-one “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation, in-person, by phone or via Skype.
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Have you ever tried to talk with a person who was stone-faced, showing no facial reaction at all to what you were saying? It didn’t take long before you began faltering for words, losing your train of thought and finding it hard to carry on, did it? Why is that? Because when there’s no emotional attunement, no empathy, we don’t feel connected, understood or valued. We need to feel like people are getting what we’re saying.
Emotional attunement takes more than looking at someone or hearing their words. It means using all of our senses to understand what they’re feeling so much that we feel it too. It takes being able to sense, interpret and respond to someone so that she/he doesn’t feel alone any longer. Our eyes become moist with tears when they hurt or beam with happiness to mirror their joy. We lean in and touch their arm with a gesture of compassion. We reflect back to them their emotions with words such as, “That must have been so frustrating!”
We learn to regulate and manage our emotions at an early age from our mothers. She reacted to our emotional state and responded in a way that cared for our needs and soothed us, making us feel secure. A mother gives her child this wonderful gift – the ability to decipher feelings and learn to self-regulate them. If, however, feelings are ignored or put down, the person will carry an inability to interpret and express emotion into their adulthood. The good news is that even if this gift was lacking from your life, you can still learn how to experience emotional attunement in your relationships today.
At times, everyone struggles with emotional attunement. We get caught up in our own drama or daily pressures distract us from really connecting emotionally with others, whether you’re an intimate couple, friends or business associates. If the situation makes you feel blamed, you may fall back to a defensive mode, which makes it impossible to see what the other person is feeling. It’s easy to settle for a transactional kind of relationship, solving problems and sharing responsibilities, without sharing your emotional self and listening for each other’s emotional needs.
The magic and power of emotional attunement is that it doesn’t require a lot from you. It simply takes listening with your ears, mind and heart. You don’t have to “fix” anything or offer advice. This is a huge aha moment for many men especially. You can do so much by doing nothing but tuning in!
Here are some reminders for fine-tuning your emotional attunement:
- Be fully immersed and attuned to what your friend is experiencing.
- Remain emotionally open to her friend’s feeling even if it makes you uncomfortable.
- Use subtle bodily reactions to make powerful connections – shed tears, touch her arm, nod, tilt your head in sync with the tilt of your friend’s head.
- Reinforce your being present by saying a few words that convey that, “I’m here for you” or “Yes, I understand”.
- Keep this as your goal – make your friend feel less alone.
Emotional attunement can be learned, but it’s learned experientially. It takes time, but you can learn to sharing your emotions and to trusting your own judgment in reading other people. When you surround yourself with people who practice emotional attunement you can speed up your own progress. If closer emotional connectedness is what you’re looking for, check out the Women in Leadership Retreat I’m leading with my colleague Nando Raynolds on May 20 and 21. This can be your Big Goal that we work on together.