Today I want to talk about something I have been considering for quite a while and that is whether or not we establish an unconscious emotional set point in our childhood and whether or not we naturally return to that set point when as adults we forget to regularly do the things we know we must do in order to keep well and happy?
I am asking this for those who spend a lot of their time, sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully – trying to keep anxiety, depression or low self-esteem at bay, and especially for those who feel like they are constantly fighting to keep their head above water, emotionally speaking.
I am also asking this question for those who feel like they have Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde living in their bodies and don’t feel like they have a lot of control over who shows up from day to day.
It seems that when some of my clients have considered this question for themselves, many realised that they indeed had an anxious childhood, or a sad childhood, or a childhood in which they spent a lot of time feeling inadequate, unlovable, hopeless or possibly even out of control.
Then, when they compare that to the feelings that led them to seek out my counselling services, they sometimes see a correlation between their emotional experience of childhood and the feelings they are trying to avoid or work through today.
Does this mean then that our emotional response to life is potentially little more than a habitual response formed early in life? Or does it mean we have unresolved or unfinished business from childhood that is holding us back?
And most importantly, how do we turn our feelings around? That is the question I want to help you answer today.
Many years ago I met a counsellor named Jenny who taught us that sometimes we live in something that feels like a red zone where everything seems to trigger us or makes us uncomfortable.
Jenny then went on to explain that as we explore our triggers and come to a more helpful understanding of them, we gradually move from that red zone into a green zone that feels pretty good most of the time, and only occasionally do we slip back into that red zone.
This was definitely my experience as I worked with Jenny and so I wanted to share with you a simple way for you to start moving yourself out of the red zone into your very own green zone where there is greater peace, joy and harmony on a day to day basis, and less anxiety, depression, self-doubt, anger or fear.
I hesitate to say that going through this process is an easy thing to do, but it is definitely more simple than many people think it is going to be, and it forms that basis of what is known as emotional intelligence.
We start by simply asking ourselves how we feel at any given time or in any given situation, and then we allow ourselves to become fully aware of the intensity of our feelings. From there we can ask ourselves what we need in order to be able to move forward and we can start to heal the issues that seem to be driving our emotions – and our behaviours – from day to day.
1 How am I feeling right now?
2 What do I need right now?
You might like to get a nice journal for yourself and write about whatever comes to mind as you ask yourself these questions. Journalling is a wonderful tool for exploring and creating a juicy, inner life.
This is simply Self-Awareness and Self-Management and it is life changing. It can be applied to any situation and any aspect of life and you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself.
I know it sounds too simple and too good to be true, but authentic self-awareness, or being honest with ourselves about how we feel in any given moment, gives us real options, and it is from that place of feeling that we will come to know what we really need. It is where we go to tap into our innate intelligence and it is where we find the peace and joy that we all crave.
I know from experience that if you really want to change your emotional set point, you can, and I know that this is the most permanent way to do it because once a feeling is brought to the surface and is healed, it can’t hurt you, make you feel angry, anxious or depressed, or make you feel unlovable or inadequate anymore.
I also know that when you start down this path of self-awareness, you are not just forming a new habit for managing your emotions, you are starting a whole new relationship and getting to know yourself in a way that will be so much more fulfilling and satisfying than any other relationship you have ever had and for that I am excited for you.
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