EATING LOVE GUIDE - Emotions 3
Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3
EMOTIONS 3 - WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams. -Werner Herzog"
After all the exercises done on the previous page what we usually fine is that we feel: - Lonely and cut off.
- Inadequate and have that sense of ourselves (self esteem) 'etched' into our brains due to the rejection of our needs, whether that rejection was done on purpose or not.
- A POWERFUL YEARNING to connect emotionally, mentally and physically and that as children we were deprived to some degree. This early deprivation leads us as adults to seek out what we need but didn't get (remember the brain needs this to develop - the neurons grow with emotional stimulation) and so we use food and use other unhealthy coping strategies to get it.
- Difficulty in regulating our emotions. Many people never had parents who were emotionally mature (or not emotionally mature enough) and so we had no stable emotional people to lean on and help us manage our anxieties and other powerful feelings.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
1- Learn to focus and extract clearer mental images and concepts.
When turning inward you'll at first you'll get a fuzzy notion or vague idea about your feelings and inner stories. What you'll need to do on a continual basis is to extract out more and more from that vague notion that you have of yourself.
Consider these 4 images:
Image 1 - You think you see a small person, but that's it.
Image 2 - You know you see a small person and that they are outside.
Image 3- You see a small person, probably a boy, on the grass.
Image 4 - You see a small person, definitely a boy, outside, not on the grass but on a rocky path, looking at a large rock formation with a blue sweater, on a cloudy day.
You can see that as you clear the image up, not only do you get more information but you get more accurate information (ex: what the boy was standing on.)
Now imagine that when turning inward and trying to solve your problems you focus hard and realize you're feeling bad. The description of 'bad' tells you something but is very vague. Then you continue to focus on that bad feeling daily and you realize after awhile that that bad feeling could be better represented as hurt. Then more focus and you realize that you're hurt because you felt rejected and then finally you realize you're lonely.
Out of all this work is a realization of how you truly feel, your story and what's driving you.
With this new knowledge you will have broken down some of your resistance and feel better as a consequence. You will also be able to make better decisions now that you know that what you crave is human contact and to be seen.
Repeat this over and over for everything that comes up while doing your inner work and you're guaranteed to be a different, calmer person in time.
Once you have this knowledge/skill you can now:
RE-FRAME YOUR PAST
Now that you can 'see', you can do so through your adult eyes.
- See Your Parents Differently (Accurately).
As a child you looked up to your parents as benevolent, all-knowing, mature adults. They were your whole world and whatever world they created must have been the correct one in your view. Therefore if they were angry or neglectful of you, it must have been your fault somehow.
A child has no choice but to see their parents and their world in that way. It is needed to feel secure (survival) and it is also the only model they have of it. As they grow, their world view grows too and they start to see that other families and people are not like theirs. But, by that age much of the damage has been done. Their brain has already responded (or failed to respond) and their sense of self has formed.
Luckily changes can be made as an adult and seeing your parents and your earlier world view in a different way is one way to do so. Revisit your childhood again and again and become an analyst or a critic and see if you can re-frame painful or difficult situations.
Look at them again now from your grown up point of view. Try to really see how they were childish and immature in some ways themselves. You couldn't see that as a child but you have the ability to now. The reason for seeing them anew is not to blame or become angry with them, but to see that they weren't really 'qualified' in the way that you thought they were, and in the way that you needed them to be for your emotional development (obviously they were qualified to take care of you in other ways.)
It's not just your parents you have to see differently, it's everything and everyone else too.
The way you interacted with other family members, neighbors, friends, teachers and coaches also have to be re-evaluated from your new grown up perspective.
Try re-living other times of your life too. See your inner child walking the hallways of high school feeling anxious with tons of other inner children doing the same but desperately trying not to show it in various ways.
There is a lot for your inner child to unlearn and relearn and you'll have to go over these same things with him/her again and again until a new reality about his or her environment and their view of themselves has set in.
Sit with them and Relive it with Empathy.
For example, if your inner child is feeling like this:
... then what you need to do is this:
Just sit with him in his misery and validate it, no matter how bleak it seems.
That is what he or she needs - someone to go into their world and reflect back to them what they are feeling with empathy.
You will need to do this over and over and over again ...
Do it as many times as she needs you to and in time it won't be as intense anymore, and you will feel like a different person. You'll look back and see how far you've come and how your life is less controlled by your past.
- Go inwards and get to know yourself.
- Build a relationship with your inner child.
- Become aware of your defenses and in doing so they are disarmed.
- Re-experience the trauma with empathy.
I recommend a qualified, registered psychologist or psychotherapist. The 2 main things that a therapist does for you are:
1 - Create a safe and trusted space for you to be vulnerable. This allows you to have a unique relationship to explore yourself and get what you never did as a child.
2- Acts as a guide. With their training and years of experience they can help you to focus on what you can't (or don't want to) see and help you through to the other side. They are expensive but well worth it since they can save you YEARS of trying all by yourself. If cost is a factor try finding one that uses a sliding scale which determines the rate they'll charge you.
Read and Become Literate in the World of Emotions
You'll need to be able to educate yourself, articulate your feelings and find your way around the maze that is emotional processing. I recommend:
1 - Read the books I've found to be most helpful on the Book List. That list contains books that are gems in my opinion and are the result of years of sifting through loads of useless books that are all hype and no substance.
2 - Writing everyday. Get your thoughts on paper and then make them clearer and clearer. It helps immensely.
I wish you the best of luck.
Change Your Emotional Programming
Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 Emotions 2 Emotions 3