On October 14th, 2019 by Stacy

One trick to squeeze excitement out of dread

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

“I can’t wait for this to be over.”

We’ve all had a thought like that when it feels like we’re drowning in the middle of a dark moment in life.

Those thoughts aren’t the actual experience we’re having though. They are what we are thinking about the experience we are having. They’re the evaluation and judgment of our reality. They also determine our emotions. Different factors, variations, and degrees of intensity will have an effect on whether it’s heavy like depression or mildly painful like impatience.

When I was in college, I was really into this guy who didn’t like me nearly as much as I liked him. It sucked and it bummed me out and made me feel not good enough and used and rejected all at once. Here’s what I didn’t know. My greatest love was going to enter my life during that period of time and it would change everything.

What if I knew the universe’s master plan all along and what seemed like a heartbreak was actually clearing the path for the perfect easy relationship to enter my life? All I had to do was wait. All I had to do was trust. What do you think I would have been telling myself then?

“I can’t wait to see what’s coming.”

Simply knowing that things were going to work out in my favor would have changed everything about my experience of the rejection.

We can use this tool right now without knowing the detailed roadmap. All we have to do is believe that life is happening for our benefit and that everything we are experiencing is ultimately going to position us for a happier life with healthy loving relationships. In just believing that, we would know that all of the bumps and bruises along the way are worth it for what’s coming next.

But if that feels like too much of a stretch, try this. Look back at the things that have felt like the end of the world in your past. Pick one that ultimately positioned you to experience something absolutely wonderful in life that wouldn’t have happened without the trauma. Now take that little ember and blow on it and build it up until you have a passionate and powerful belief to replace those dark thoughts with, something like…

Every step of the journey has a purpose.
You see, I needed to have that experience with that other boy because I learned not to devalue myself. I learned that I would never again give to someone without feeling like it was an equal and connected partnership. I couldn’t skip that step or I wouldn’t have been ready for the love of my life.

I’m not saying it won’t hurt. Loss hurts. Grief is painful. Rejection, abandonment, disappointment and all those things are unpleasant experiences. But you have more control than you may think about how you feel going through them.

“I can’t wait for this to be over” feels radically different than “I can’t wait to see what’s coming.” Maybe even something more light-hearted like, “Man, this is going to make a great story someday.”

My question for you is this… next time you’re having a crappy experience, what are you going to tell yourself about what’s happening? Pick something that feels good and make it your mantra.

 

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On September 30th, 2019 by Stacy

The Choice is Yours

Posted In:
blog | Connection

Every once in a while, we need to do a relationship inventory.
This type of inventory depends on what we want to measure, and today I invite you to measure your feeling of choice vs. obligation. Technically, we are the ones deciding to be in every single one of our relationships. It just doesn’t always feel that way. But choice is much more empowering than a sense that something’s been thrust on you, so let’s get to it.

Grab some paper and a pencil and read on.

Make a list of every major relationship in your life.
Who do you interact with or think about an hour or more a week? Write down family members, friends, coworkers, clients, etc…

Write one of the following letters next to each relationship.
“C” for choice if you know beyond a doubt that you are choosing to be in this relationship. You WANT to show up for it.

“O” for obligation if you feel like you have to show up to this relationship but it feels more like a chore. Don’t hem and haw about it. Just make the first choice that comes to mind.

The goal isn’t to focus on what’s wrong but rather to think about how you can make some energetic shifts in your life. First, I want you to give a happy little thank you to the universe for every one of those “C”s. You attracted those circumstances and you deserve to enjoy them.

Now, I want you to look at each of the “O” relationships and ask yourself this question.

What would have to change for me to move this into the “C” list?

Actually, that’s not exactly the question I want you to ask. You might start to think of all the ways the other person could change that would make the relationship more comfortable or pleasant. But our job here is not to change other people. All we really have control over are our own behaviors and actions.

Here’s the real question.
What can you do right now to make this relationship feel more like a choice than an obligation?

What do you need to say “no” to? What boundary do you need to put in place? What do you need to stop tolerating going forward?

You 100% have control over this, but I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. Disappointing people, having hard conversations, and challenging the “way it’s always been done” are nobody’s favorite thing to do. It’s just that we only have so many hours in a week and not all hours are created equal. That hour snort-laughing with your girlfriend is worth a lot more than an hour listening to your coworker complain about her life.

Let’s not leave the exercise here though, where it only happened on paper.
Awareness without action is just painful. Commit to that action, my friend.

And if you get really ambitious, you can go to the next tier. Who are all the other people in your life? The ones you may not spend time with on a weekly basis but still have an impact on your energy? Are they “C”s or “O”s? What can you do to shift that?

This can be hard but powerful work, so I’m going to give you a little silver lining. The people who love us can be surprisingly adaptable. They can feel your energy and feeling like a “C” feels way better than feeling like an “O.” Give them the chance to create something new with you that makes you feel excited about the connection.

If you want some support, come join our Facebook group here. If you need a coach to help you make a massive shift or even an exit when termination is the healthiest option, I’m always a direct message away.

 

Come say hi! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For resources and inspiration delivered right to your inbox sign up for Love Even Though, my biweekly newsletter.

On September 18th, 2019 by Stacy

In Hindsight

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

The Summit of Greatness
I attended this amazing conference a couple of weeks ago. It was a few days of inspiring speakers giving TEDtalk-style speeches back-to-back during the day. Kyle Cease, a hilarious transformational teacher, was going to be there and he was by far the person I was most excited to see.

At the first night’s social event (before we’d seen any speakers), I noticed him going in with a couple of other people. Kyle Cease! One of the people we were going to cheer from the seats was just strolling into the crowd with a couple of women. I thought for a minute about going up to him but I talked myself out of it with this thought, “He probably just wants to enjoy himself and not be mobbed by fans.”

A little while later, I noticed he was still with the same two people and nobody seemed to be waiting to talk to him so I decided to approach him. I said, “Hi.” He said, “Hi! I’m Kyle.” (How cute is that, I’m Kyle. I know who you are! That’s why I’m about to fan girl you.) I introduced myself, thanked him for his contribution to our world and complimented him on how he handles such big topics with lightness and humor. Then, I asked him for a photo. He gladly agreed, we snapped the picture, and I said goodbye.

Nobody was waiting to talk to him. Why did I leave?
I left because of these thoughts. “I don’t want to eat up his time. I want other people to have a chance to talk to him. Why would he want to spend time getting to know me? I’m nobody.” That really nagged at me over the next couple of days. I felt like I’d missed out on something wonderful because of my own feelings of unworthiness.

Great, I have a photo of me and Kyle on my Instagram grid. You know what I don’t have that I am absolutely certain would have been amazing? I don’t have the memory of a meaningful conversation with him. While I told myself a story that his time was more important than who I am, I let my ego pull me away from a beautiful opportunity.

Why do we do that? We put someone on a pedestal and make a massive assumption that they wouldn’t want to get to know us. The truth is that nobody is more special than you. Nobody is more special than me. Not even Oprah. We lose out on great things like mentorships and connections. We lose out on smaller but also lovely things like meaningful conversations and sweet exchanges.

We do this in our relationships, too.
We decide that the other person’s time, energy, or opinion is more important than ours. When we decide to silence ourselves and not speak up, we lose out on connection. You know what else? When we tell ourselves that we aren’t worth other people’s time, we rob them of the opportunity to show up for us. And so often, it’s just an assumption with absolutely no truth behind it.

I have no doubt that Kyle Cease would have happily spent a few more minutes getting to know me. And the part that kind of sucks is I would have really liked to get to know him. So that will be the last time I rob myself of that kind of opportunity. Regret is one of my least favorite emotions so I try very hard to learn fast when it shows up. I’m important. I matter. And the person who has to believe that first is me.

 

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On September 3rd, 2019 by Stacy

Crystal Clear

Posted In:
blog | Growth

Happy birthday to me!
If you’ve known me for a while, you know I always choose a birthday word. September 13 is almost here, so it’s time to choose what will guide me on my forty-seventh trip around the sun.

“Clarity” has risen to the top. I don’t often pause for clarity. I like to set fast goals and start sprinting. That important phase where you stop and get crystal clear before you start moving? I like to skip that one. I’m more likely to adjust on the fly. But then I’m constantly making adjustments and sometimes end up giving up altogether because I didn’t get clear before I got started. This happens both in my personal life as well as in my business.

Recently, I went to a workshop and the leader, Chad Thibodeaux, said that clarity leads to confidence. He was talking about business and I could totally see where lack of clarity caused me to be ineffective, but I also started pondering that concept in other areas. Let’s just look at it in terms of relationships since that is largely what my clients are working on.

What happens when you have clarity about the commitment level of a relationship? It makes you confident. Think about it. When you haven’t said “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” yet, you are a little hesitant about where you stand with the other person. Massive difference when you compare that to the confidence you have when you’ve stood in front of loved ones and said “I do.”

Here’s another example. When your partner struggles to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and intentions with you, it makes you doubt. It causes uncertainty, the opposite of confidence. Are they happy? Do they love you? Is this real? On the flip side, when everything is made crystal clear, you feel confident about the relationship and the direction you’re headed.

It’s all about clarity.
I want all kinds of clarity. I want clarity on who I am. I want clarity on what I want in my relationships. I want clarity in my communication. I want clarity about where I’m headed with my business. The list goes on and on. But what’s the plan?

I’m going to pay really close attention to the moments when I don’t have clarity. They come in two forms for me.

Lack of clarity can feel like confusion or doubt.
As a pretty decisive girl, I think of “I don’t know” as a cop-out so I always ask myself, “If you did know, what would the answer be?” I thought this helped me get at my intuition but now I’m wondering if I force an answer too soon before I am clear on the direction. Maybe “I don’t know” is a good time to pause instead of push.

I also have this internal buzzing that happens when I’m trying to move too fast toward something. It’s urgency I can actually feel in my body and it’s usually a sign that I’ve skipped the clarity step. When I think about why I do that, it’s probably fear that asking the hard questions will slow me down. But if I’m honest, chasing things too fast has wasted more time in the long run.

Clarity, on the other hand, feels calming to me.
It still has that delightful motivated productive aspect to it but without the frenzy or uncertainty.

I don’t know how other people use their birthday word (or New Year’s word), but I use mine as a guide. I refer to it when a question arises or when I don’t know what to do. Last year, my word “listen” reminded me to invite answers to come to me and to allow other people space to make decisions.

My intention this year is that I’ll be reminded to pause in moments of question, confusion, self-doubt, or impatience and determine with “clarity” what I want and where I’m headed. I’m hopeful it will help me eliminate the dead ends and keep me laser-focused on my desires. In fact, I don’t think it’s going to slow me down at all. I’m planning to crush it this year.

***Lack of clarity is the root of so many relationship challenges my clients face. If you are struggling with it, I’m just a direct message or email away for support.

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On August 10th, 2019 by Stacy

Mirror, Mirror

Posted In:
blog | Self-Mastery

I have a dozen ugly thoughts a day about my appearance.
Every single day. To be honest, that is more an underestimate than an exaggeration.

Fat
Old
Ugly
Disgusting

I rarely talk about this, but not for the reasons you might think. Obviously, it’s not because I don’t have those thoughts and emotions (see above). It’s also not because I’m being mindful of my words or because of my commitment to loving myself. I wish it were. I don’t talk about them because I don’t want anyone to know how I am really feeling about myself.

It’s one of my biggest failures. When I was younger, the failure was that I hadn’t achieved the perfect body. Now that I’m older, the failure is one of mindset that I haven’t been able to eradicate those thoughts and feelings.

My story is just a version of every story.
There was the initial wound. I can remember exactly where I was standing on the playground when it was said to me, “You have such a big butt.” What I heard was… your physical human form is wrong, something you will never be able to change about yourself, you will never be right in this world, God screwed up on you.

It was just a sentence but in that moment, something happened inside me. A ledger appeared. “You have such a big butt” was written on the first line of the first page. I had been given a “truth” about myself that I didn’t know before and it could never be unknown. Over the decades, that ledger has been filled by page after page of evidence of that truth. Sure, there are some entries that came in from the outside world just like that first one did, but they are only a tiny fraction of a percent of what has been logged in that ledger. Most of the entries are mine. They are all of the ways I’ve reinforced that message I got on the playground through dozens of ugly thoughts every day.

I could have really used some help with this, but I learned very early in the game that skinny girls are not supposed to talk about feeling fat and pretty girls are not supposed to say they feel ugly or disgusting. At best, someone who loves you will dismiss your feelings and reassure you it’s not true. At worst, the world will be downright cruel and reaffirm your fear that you have no right talking about or even feeling that way. I felt wrong in how I looked AND wrong in how I felt about it.

Not much has changed.
Intellectually and theoretically, I know different. But the thoughts and emotions still arise for me. And that is where I get stuck.

I have this incorrect belief that everything of value I have created and want to share with you is completely voided out by this failure. If I can’t master this, what business do I have talking about any kind of personal development? The hiding of what is really happening inside of me feels like a deception. I don’t want anyone who reads, listens to, or learns from what I put into the world to know what a colossal failure the creator is. But keeping that secret feels like a total lack of authenticity.

So there it is.

We all have that area we struggle in.
For a lot of people I work with, it is relationships. For others, it is money or mental illness or all of the above. Turns out that (one of) mine is loving my physical self. Part of what helps me is coming clean about my struggle, exposing myself to others so that I feel authentic. Giving myself permission to have those thoughts and feelings without judging them as wrong.

Here is what I want you to know. Whatever secret thoughts and feelings you have all day every day that make you feel like a failure are not wrong. In fact, they are perfectly okay. Find someone to share them with who will help you feel like you are normal and right as rain just the way you are.

Because it is true.

 

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On August 5th, 2019 by Stacy

The Power of Virtual Community

Posted In:
blog | Connection

I’ve spent the last couple of years building communities on Facebook.
Most of them have been temporary. They were put in place as support for people going through my 21-Day Heart Cleanse. They’ve been really amazing groups of (mostly) women with the courage to be vulnerable, honest, and best of all, loving to each another. It’s because of those groups that I was inspired to create a more permanent community with ongoing access to that same kind of love and support.

Gilded Hearts is one of my proudest creations and probably the thing I’m most excited about. But I can’t take all the credit. The brilliant people in the group are what make it so special. I’m honored to be a part of their lives.

Everybody needs a safe place to be accepted and loved AS IS. Period.
If you’ve got this going on in your life already, celebrate what a blessing that is. For those of you who don’t, I want to share the five main things I’ve tried to model as a way to cultivate our community.

1. We will keep your secrets.
What happens in Gilded Hearts stays in Gilded Hearts. Your shares are confidential and we will honor you by holding them dear.

2. We will not judge you.
Our job is to love you through all your actions and through all the things that happen to you. We are here so you can say the things you can’t share with your spouse, sister, or best friend. You don’t have to worry about us passing judgment. You don’t have to worry about how your share makes us feel. You get to be you, completely unfiltered.

3. We will show up for you.
No crickets allowed. If you post it, we will come. It may take a minute for us to respond, but we show up for each other no matter what.

4. We believe in you.
Even when, no especially when, you can’t believe in yourself. We trust that you know the answers. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to sort yourself out, take the actions, and be the change in your life. That being said, we will be there to brainstorm with you, share resources with you, validate you, cheer you on, and hold you accountable if you want us to. When all is said and done though, we know you’ve got this.

5. We will learn beside you.
In a nutshell, we are students of ourselves. The only way to make consistent personal growth is to actively engage in the examination, awareness, and understanding of who we are. We share ourselves with each other as a way to connect and help each other grow.

Truthfully, most relationships don’t have all five of those things in place. Wouldn’t it be great if they did? We’d all be walking around feeing seen, accepted, and loved.

Don’t feel bad if your partnerships are falling short. Totally normal! But with a little mindfulness, you can begin to nudge them in the right direction by starting with yourself. Here’s a little quiz to figure out how you’re doing in a relationship…

Am I keeping their secrets?
Am I accepting them without judgment?
Am I showing up when they need me?
Am I confident they know how to thrive?
Am I committed to growing beside them?

If you answered no to any of those, that’s information. It points you in the direction of your work.

If you know you need a community like this in your life and you want to know more about Gilded Hearts, send me a quick email (stacy@stacyrocklein.com) and I will tell you all about it.

Let's connect! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For resources and inspiration delivered right to your inbox sign up for Love Even Though, my biweekly newsletter.

On July 10th, 2019 by Stacy

Worthy with failure

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

The biggest F word of my life has been Failure.
Up until recently, I treated that word the way some people treat the other F word. When it came to myself, I NEVER said it.

In the first part of my adult life, I didn’t say it because it just wasn’t an option for me. Being driven by accomplishment and achievement, failure was the ultimate worse-case scenario. On some unconscious level, it didn’t seem survivable. But I was never really worried about it, because I had an unwavering belief that with enough hard work toward reasonable goals it would never catch me.

Once I began coaching, I started to acknowledge that sometimes things don’t work out the way people want. I still wouldn’t use that word though. It became all about “learning opportunity” rather than failure. It was simply a chance to make corrections and pivot toward a new course of action.

That all sounds healthy and wonderful, but I’ve recently discovered a problem in that way of thinking. By polishing it up, I never acknowledged the emotions that come with failure. And it makes sense because in my inner world, success and value were what made me worthy of love, so failure meant I wasn’t worthy of love. No wonder I protected myself by avoiding the word.

It wasn’t like those feelings of failure weren’t there though. Even as I seemed to gloss right over the top of those feelings of doom, they were really just stuffed way down to where they couldn’t surface.

I’m forcing myself to use the F word these days.
I want to allow myself to feel the emotions I have been repressing with my reframes and course corrections.

I feel disappointed.
I feel discouraged.
I feel embarrassed.
I feel insecure.
I feel ashamed.
I feel so many things I have not allowed myself to feel.

I have no doubt that I will move forward again.
I’m good at the tweak, direction change, and action-taking. I know that will inevitably happen. It’s just in my nature. Stopping to feel my emotions isn’t going to derail me. In fact, it’s going to help me in a very important way.

I can only really “see” myself if I’m willing to look at everything I am, I think, I do, and I feel. That acknowledgment is a prerequisite for truly loving myself.

I would never in a million years have thought I would need to label things as failures. But in my case, it functions as permission to feel my emotions and still be okay with myself. I have to allow some space to lean into the failure. I need to acknowledge the painful part of it first before I spin it as a positive and start moving again.

That I am worthy despite my failures feels very different to me than the story that I am worthy because I am a success. It may be a subtle distinction for other people but it is a significant one for me.

 

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On June 25th, 2019 by Stacy

The People on the Bus

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

Let's pretend you are a bus.
Your higher self (spirit, consciousness, divine self) has been appointed the driver. Because all of the things that exist are within you, they are all on this bus. Joy, peace, abundance, and love, but also depression, anger, scarcity, hatred, etc.

Your only job is to make sure YOU maintain control of the bus.
But what do we silly humans do instead?

We hand over the wheel to the biggest bully on the bus. When anxiety begins to overwhelm us, for example, we slide out of the driver’s seat and let it take control of where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

When that happens, you find yourself in places you don’t want to be. Anxiety will drive you straight to What-if Land. Depression will set your navigation system to Lonely Island. Worry likes to play really loud worst-case-scenario music and indecision will just plain get you lost. We don’t want these things at the wheel.

Another thing we do is throw the brake and stop the bus. All forward momentum toward our desires is halted as we try to calm down the crowd and boot off the rowdy trouble-makers.

Or maybe we keep driving but we’re looking over our shoulders all stressed out about who snuck onto our happy little bus. Shame isn’t supposed to be here! Who let shame on the freaking bus?!

But as I said before, shame belongs on the bus. Just like selfish, mean, abusive (yes, we all have the potential to be abusive, look at how we abuse ourselves all the time), superior, and cold. Every potential being you have within you belongs on the bus. The only thing making us feel rotten is judging it wrong or bad that they are here alongside all the wonderful things we want to be. Rejecting them is the same as rejecting a piece of ourselves.

So here’s what I suggest.
We are going to mingle with the demons. Actually, we are not going to mingle. We are going to buckle them into their damn seatbelts and get our asses back in the driver’s seat. We just have to let them know who is boss.

We are going to allow them to ride along, but we get to make the rules. Good luck kicking self-loathing off. In fact, none of them are going anywhere. It’s all about allowing them to be present but deciding who is in charge of the radio. You have to keep the volume turned down on the mouthy ones, because the ones you aspire to be tend to be the quieter ones. They are the sweet little pig-tailed girls sitting silently with their hands in their laps waiting patiently for their turn to pick the song. The menaces are going to hang out in the aisle and throw spitballs. Don’t fear them. They will only get louder if you ignore them. Look directly at them and let them know…

“I see you there. Thanks for showing up. I know you want to be in charge, but you’re not. Now, sit down and be quiet.”

You’re going to have to be firm. They don’t always want to sit down and be quiet but it sure makes for a more comfortable ride.

You know what else helps? A little bit of humor.
Imagine your bus rider and call her by name. Visualize Miss Overwhelmed pacing up and down the aisle wringing her hands, pulling on her hair, and muttering repeatedly to herself, “I just can’t do it. It’s too much.” You can just smile and shake your head. “I see you, Miss Overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, honey, and sit down right here next to me. It’s going to be okay.

 

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On June 12th, 2019 by Stacy

Learning to Embrace the Rain

Posted In:
blog

If I was graded on empathy, I would probably fail.
Maybe that surprises you, maybe not. It probably doesn’t if you know me pretty well in real life (not internet life). But I care about having empathy, so I’ve been in self-prescribed empathy training for a while now.

I wasn’t taught to be empathetic and I definitely wasn’t born with it. I can intellectualize my way around this with the story that my below average empathy is also an asset. That would be true for a surgeon perhaps. But I’m not a surgeon; I’m a life coach. I can even soothe myself with the story that my lacking empathy is the very thing that enables me to help others in pain because I don’t get bogged down with my own emotional reaction.

But soothing myself has only kept me in the following cycle. Hear the word “empathy,” remember that I don’t have much, feel ashamed for it, use my brain to talk myself out of feeling that way, and everything is better. But only until the next time I hear the word. And guess what? I hear that word a lot.

I now think that the same habit of intellectualizing to soothe myself has been part of my empathy handicap. But more on that later. First, I have to confess this.

I feel shame when I think of empathy. I judge myself as broken. I feel unworthy of the work I do. I am jealous that other people have it. Just hearing the word makes me feel not good enough.

Those sentences are the things I need to say, write, and share. I need to acknowledge them as part of the process of learning how to be empathetic. I don’t want the soothing cycle anymore. I want to feel my shame and know that I’m okay. I want to accept and love myself with all of my shame-y bullshit. And yeah, I want to get better at empathy. I want to do that for me, not because I’m not good enough if I don’t have it but because I think it’s a healthy endeavor for any human in relationship with others.

Empathy, as I see it, requires me to do two things I have struggled so much with:

  1. Feel all of the emotions and know how every emotion feels
  2. Dive into the well of emotional experiences when confronted with someone else’s feelings in order to really see the other person

Empathy Training Part I
I used to think I just didn’t have all the emotions other people have. But really, I had an excellent defense mechanism. Whenever I got even the slightest whiff of a vulnerable emotion, I immediately mobilized my battalion. These are the emotions that would either protect me like armor or protect me by attacking first: anger, judgment, disapproval, disgust, etc.

My battle emotions were there to hide the tender ones. Showing tender emotions felt like exposing my most precious treasure to a bunch of barbarians who were going to smash it to bits, so I taught myself to never show things like sadness, loneliness, humiliation, or shame. And I got so good at it that it seemed to me like I didn’t actually feel those things. Until empathy training.

They are actually there. I just had to disengage my defense mechanism and start out as an emotional toddler. I had to actively investigate what I was feeling behind the armor. Here’s another reason I wanted to do this, in addition to increasing my empathy. By rejecting those feelings, I was really rejecting myself for all those years. That is completely misaligned with my mission to love myself. So, my work for the first part of empathy training has been to identify, feel, and share my emotions.

Empathy Training Part 2
When confronted with another person’s vulnerable emotions, I would employ another intellectualize-to-soothe trick. Instead of diving into my supply of emotional experiences to tap into what the other person was feeling, I would find one of my survivor narratives. Maybe I didn’t have a similar emotional experience but I could find similar circumstances and in 100% of the scenarios, I conquered and rose victorious. Instead of feeling all the pain and telling people about those times and getting stuck in those emotions (ugh, who would want to do that?!), I persevered!

Let’s add a fear-driven desire to the mix. I wanted to know everything and be the expert because I thought worthiness must be earned. Not only did I need to bury the bodies of my emotions and fast before there were witnesses, I also needed to spin every unpleasant experience into something I could teach others. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that except that it was the well I was drawing from when someone was feeling pain near me. In someone’s moment of vulnerability, my habitual response was to figure out how expert-me could help you solve your “problem.” It never even dawned on me that the damsel in distress may not be looking for a hero. She might just want to be acknowledged and connect with someone.

The second part of my empathy training has largely been to do my best to shut up, listen, and maybe ask questions. Respect the pauses. Resist the urge to share for the purpose of making myself feel valuable. And most importantly, tap into this emotion that is present.

I want more out of this life and my relationships.
I want to have the courage to feel. I want to see the people in my life. I want to be seen for more than my triumphs and advice. I want real connection and intimacy. And so, empathy training continues.

 

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On May 29th, 2019 by Stacy

In gratitude for ugly emotions

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

Jealousy and disgust are two emotions I like to keep a close eye on.
They feel pretty ugly, so that’s one reason. But I have a couple of other reasons, as well.

Strong feelings of any kind usually motivate us to act in some way. When we feel unpleasant emotions, we’re going to do anything we can to make it stop. For me, the “action” takes place all in my head.

When disgust shows up (and frankly, I am disgusted by how often it does), I tell myself a story of how different I am, how I am nothing like the behavior I’m judging.

If it’s jealousy, the narrative might be that I’m not good enough because I haven’t found the success I desire (that may seem like the opposite of making unpleasant feelings stop but in its own misguided way, the ego is trying to motivate me to be successful) or it might be that the other person doesn’t deserve what they have.

That’s some messed up shit, right? Obviously, I want to shift myself away from those emotions because they just plain don’t feel good, but also I am committed to connection and love. Those things cannot co-exist with the separation I’m creating by seeing the differences between myself and other people.

When I first started working with jealousy, my strategy was to interrupt the narrative and take a different action.
I'd often compliment the person for whatever I was jealous of. Celebrating the success of others has been a surefire way for me to not only get rid of the unpleasant emotion, but also to pull myself back into alignment with who I want to be.

When it came to disgust, I tried to replace the “we’re nothing alike” track in my head with the “just like me” track.
Just like me, that person struggles. Just like me, that person acts out. Just like me, that person wants so badly to be seen.

But I also started to see another opportunity. Disgust and jealousy are pointing me at something very important. While jealousy often shows me something I want to be, do, have, or achieve, disgust does the opposite. Both are important because our desires are made up of what we want to experience AND what we don’t want to experience.

I also noticed that the stronger the feeling, the stronger the desire or fear. Big envy means I am looking directly at something I want badly. Big disgust usually stems from fear of being that very thing I am judging. When someone acts like a know-it-all, when someone can’t receive feedback, when someone is being judgmental or selfish or out-of-control… these are all things I fear in myself.

When it comes to my growth game, I’m always trying to do two things.
First, I try to accept and love myself where I am. That requires that I acknowledge I have the potential to be everything that exists, both the qualities I want to have and the qualities I don’t want to have. Second, I try to keep nudging myself in the direction of those desired qualities. Seeing the ones I don’t want actually helps me do that. In fact, I need them or else how would I know?

I have to be grateful for these emotions because they are the highlighters. Plus, gratitude is one of the fastest ways to raise your energetic vibration, so it has a way of naturally making you feel better.

Thank you, jealousy, for showing me what I want.
Thank you, disgust, for reminding me of what I don’t want.

Now when I see them coming, I have an appreciation for what they bring with them.

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