The Missing Link

Feelings. Emotions.

What do you think about them?

How do you feel about your feelings?

So often in our American culture, emotions are frowned upon. Feelings are some kind of weakness.

Unless, of course, you are feeling positive emotion.

But what about anger, frustration, despair, sadness, grief, overwhelm, fear, insecurity, embarrassment….?

Are those “bad?”

Ironically, when we block ourselves from feeling negative emotion by resisting, reacting or avoiding them, we also block ourselves from feeling positive emotion too.

So often— maybe 98% of the time?– I see people who are struggling and feelings are the missing link.

We are self-aware about our thoughts.

We know what we want the results in our lives.

But we don’t know how to take action. We don’t know how to get there.

I think feeling is the how.

Let yourself feel whatever emotion you are experiencing right now.

What is it?

Where is it in your body?

Tell me more. What specific sensations? Hot? Cold? Sharp? Dull? Big? Small? Tight? Loose? Open? Closed? Heavy? Light? Does it have a color? A shape?

Get creative with those adjectives.

The only way to stop feeling your negative emotions (and to start feeling the positive ones) is through the emotion.

You will gain peace when you are ok with feeling exactly the way you are feeling right now.

Denita Bremer is a life coach who is on a mission to help Latter-day Saint women feel happier and more fulfilled so they can more effectively do their personal work in the world. If you are interested in a free life coaching session, sign up here.

I felt doubt and fear, and then I journaled and coached myself. This is what it looks like.

Self-doubt and fear of failure are par for the course for any entrepreneur (or any person for that matter!), but these two emotions came up for me big-time today. I called my coach (JillFreestone.com) for an emergency session. She only had 20 minutes, but it was enough to get me some large realizations.

My biggest takeaway was that I have a hard time feeling vulnerable. Also, I am not really letting myself feel my feelings all the way.

Soooo… after I got off the call with her, I sat and just wrote and wrote. SIX pages. And I am not done.

In the interest of letting myself be vulnerable and feeling fear and doing it anyway, here is what I found. This is my stream of consciousness with notes in parentheses:

  • What am I feeling? (Keep in mind, this was after opening up to Jill and feeling lots of feelings.)
    • Inadequate– did I not even know what that felt like? Have I been avoiding this feeling?
    • Fear– something has gone wrong, to fail, to not make any money, to be a burden on my family and my husband
    • Angry– that I have to feel this way to move forward. this is hard.
    • Lonely– nobody cares about me, nobody understands me, nobody respects me, nobody loves me
    • Unloved– my family [of origin] rejects me, my family doesn’t care. I shouldn’t have been born. I should quit now. I was a mistake. I cause pain and suffering. I am a mistake. (Interesting I didn’t identify shame coming up, but maybe I just didn’t notice that in the moment.) (I also made a note here that I haven’t been reading my scriptures or saying my prayers since being on vacation and being out of routine.)
  • Vibrations I am feeling (I had so many feelings that I couldn’t identify just one, so I just listed all the vibrations.)
    • tears
    • tight throat
    • full chest, heart beating faster
    • want to close my eyes
    • runny nose
    • hot cheeks
    • tired back (from sitting 3 hours?)
    • pulling my lips down into a frown
    • emptiness in chest/stomach
  • None of my “success” has come from loving myself, feeling joy. It has all come from trying to prove something. Pushing myself. covering the fear/vulnerability.
  • The urgency has passed. Now I feel like a train wreck. Puffy eyes, red face,
  • I keep seeing that I can’t do anything because it costs money. Ultimately I don’t feel valuable. I am worthless. I should die… except that won’t solve it either. This is the job of the Atonement.
  • I really feel like eating something sweet now. (I haven’t been eating chocolate since Jan. 1, 2019 and no sweet treats since Sunday.) I want to get away from these feelings. Maybe I’m scared to feel? What if I kept feeling? I would be weak. People would have to make up for my slacking. I’m clearly not allowed to feel. How is all this true?
    • I AM INADEQUATE! I can’t get myself back to heaven.
    • I am weak. Only through the Savior am I ever strong.
    • I am unloved. By plenty of people. (Like millions of strangers.)
    • I should be afraid! Of what God thinks and his consequences.
    • I am totally and completely imperfect.
    • —> And all of this is how it’s supposed to be.
    • —> I only fail if I stop trying.
  • Truly what if I am not enough? Then I’ll be rejected. Then what? I’ll be alone and unloved. Then what? <Long pause for reflection.> I am not enough. Nobody is. Now what? I can do anything I want. What do I want? Follow and love Christ. Be his example. Love. Love Christ. Be enough for yourself. What does that look like?
    • Going slow
    • Keeping a clean house
    • Massages and alone time
    • Being affectionate
    • Bearing testimony
    • Listen to piano music
    • Spend money on myself
    • Eat well
    • Organize
    • READ
  • What do I need to believe about myself in order to love me?
    • I love myself
    • I’m ok the way I am
    • I belong to myself
    • I can love myself no matter what
    • Everybody is equal
    • I have nothing to prove
  • What else do I need to believe? (I was thinking about all the things I love and why.)
    • Life is beautiful.
    • Everything is perfect just the way it is.
    • God is stacking things in my favor.
    • God loves me.
    • I am so much.
    • I have so much.
    • Becoming whole is possible.
    • Heavenly Father has my back.
    • I am 100% valuable and worthy.
    • I like being around myself.
    • I accept myself 100%
    • I like me!
    • I feel safe.
    • I’m one of my favorite people.
    • I am beautiful.
    • I am my self. (i.e. “He is my son”)
    • This is how it was meant to be.
    • I’ve put so much work into myself.
    • I feel good.
    • I know myself.
    • I am doing my best.
    • I am a hard worker.
    • I am smart.
    • I am loyal.
    • I am my kind of person.

***

Ok, that’s where I ended my thought download/self-coaching. I want to keep going and ask myself “Who do I want to be?” That came up in my coaching with Jill. My knee-jerk reaction is “I don’t know.” So she challenged me to decide and try it out and then make adjustments.

I thought all sorts of things as I typed all this up. Things like, This is too vulnerable. People will think I am crazy. People will feel sorry for me. People will be concerned for me. People won’t like me. They will see how broken I am. This is unprofessional. My legs are bouncing like crazy, which is one thing that happens when I am really nervous.

And I just wanted to tell you that 3 things really made an impact after this exercise. 1. Recognizing I am not enough. I have been fighting this so hard for my whole life. Realizing that I don’t have to fight it and I can still live my life was powerful. I don’t have to prove my enoughness, because it’s false. I can just let it be and let the Atonement of Jesus Christ take over for me.
2. When I wrote down I belong to myself I think I actually heard my brain click. It was like I’ve been trying to belong to everybody else for so long, not realizing the only one I really need to belong to is me. I think I remember reading something from Brené Brown about Maya Angelou in this vein. I’ll have to go back and find it.
3. When I wrote down I am so much I was like, “Wow.” It’s true. Each of us is so complex. It felt good. As if I’ve been trying to prove “enough” but really I should have been looking for “so much.”

I think that’s it for now. I am suuuuuper tempted to not post this and to just keep it a draft, but I think it would defeat the purpose.

I am ready to feel all the emotions.

An exercise for sexual triggers

If you have any history of sexual abuse or trauma of any kind, a likely experience regarding sex in your marriage is getting triggered.

I have a simple but powerful exercise to address this.

Journal out what happened to you. Try to remember as much detail as possible. This will most likely be an emotional experience. Pay attention to these emotions. Take note of what you are feeling and why. 

If you are afraid of being triggered, recognize that what you are really afraid of is feeling how you felt while the trauma was happening or immediately afterward. 

Let me use an example:

You might be afraid to be triggered because it makes you feel out of control. 

When you feel out of control, you want to shut down.

When you shut down, you get the result of feeling like you will always be afraid of trigger and feeling out of control. 

Notice that in this example, you are afraid of feeling out of control, but you already ARE out of control.

What if you could just feel out of control? 

Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash

You don’t need to be afraid of a feeling. 

A feeling is just a vibration in your body. 

You are human and therefore an expert in emotions. You feel emotions every day.

Releasing yourself from fearing the feeling takes off one layer of emotion and gets you closer to how you actually want to feel. 

Welcome the feeling. 

Name it when it happens.

Describe it in your body. 

It will come and go in waves, and eventually it may never come back.

Love you friend. 

Go forth and feel those feelings!

Could connecting with your body be the way to results in your life?

Laura Tremaine’s most recent 10 Things to Tell You podcast episode talks about connecting with your body. She discussed “the miracle of our bodies and what makes us come truly alive” with her pilates instructor. This podcast episode spurred in me some reflection about WHY we should connect with our bodies.

I identified three “problems” that keep us from connecting with our bodies. I am sure there are many more, but this is a bird’s-eye view:

  1. We are taught that our bodies are magnificent creations and we should be grateful for them, receiving a body is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan, yet when we are talking about our bodies, we often focus on what is wrong. We do not truly embrace our bodies as a gift from God.
  2. We are numbing ourselves– disconnecting ourselves– from our bodies, because we think it will make us feel better. But it generally has the opposite effect.
  3. Many adult women do not have any activity in which they feel true joy in their bodies. This is a problem because emotion is a vibration in our bodies. If we are to feel true joy in this life, it is going to happen in our bodies, not in our heads.
  4. We don’t recognize that our emotions come from our thoughts. In our culture we are taught that our feelings come from outside of us, specifically other people.

Feeling the emotions and sensations in our bodies is THE way to getting the results we want in our lives. I’m not just talking about fitness goals, but EVERY goal. Our emotions drive our actions which bring results. So often we think we are feeling the emotions but really we are just thinking thoughts that feel awful.

Photo by Rima Kruciene on Unsplash

So how do we overcome these problems? Here are some ideas:

  1. Participate in an activity that brings you genuine joy. Like a butterfly sensation in the pit of your stomach. Children are great at this: swings, trampolines, bike riding, finger painting, rollercoasters, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated. (One suggestion is sex, if it is fun for you.)
  2. When you have an emotion– good or bad– let yourself feel it. Where is it in your body? What does it feel like? Use as many adjectives as possible. Don’t resist or run away from it. Just sit in the emotion.
  3. Be grateful for your body and what it can do. Write a list of every little way your body has been a blessing to you. Dig deep here if you feel embarrassment or shame around your body.
  4. Pay attention to when you engage in any activity to distract yourself or numb yourself from feeling something. This could be snacking or overeating, scrolling social media, sleeping, TV watching. Can you just feel the feeling instead? Remember it is just a vibration in your body.

We need to get into our bodies and feel our feelings if we want to obtain a fulness of joy in this life. AND a fulness of joy requires a fulness of sorrow. This is how our capacity is expanded.

I hope you found this thought provoking or helpful in some way. If you would like help getting into your body and feeling your emotions, I would be honored to partner with you. Click this link for a free 45 minute consultation: calendly.com/denitabremercoaching