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 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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On March 12th, 2019 by Stacy

Five Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Anger

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

Anger is unpleasant in all shapes and forms.
Whether it’s a bubbling pool of lava beneath the surface or a full-blown eruption, it doesn’t feel good. Not for the person feeling it and not for anybody around them.

What’s interesting about anger is how often it indicates something deeper is going on. If we get curious about it, we might learn something about ourselves. Here are five questions you can ask yourself the next time you feel anger (rage, irritation, frustration, bitterness, hostility, and any of the other forms it takes).

What is your anger hiding?
Anger can be a cover for something a little more tender. Maybe your feelings are hurt. Maybe you feel embarrassed or inferior. It doesn’t feel safe to expose those vulnerable emotions so we elect to be angry instead, and that feels protective. Unfortunately, this can become a habitual response to more delicate emotions to the point where the angry person can’t recognize what the anger is masking.

What is your anger protecting you from?
Fight is one of the fear responses. Even when the fear isn’t a physical threat, fight might be your go-to response. When you feel fear of abandonment, rejection, or helplessness for example, you might get mad instead. Attack first can be a very effective defense strategy. It keeps people from poking around and exposing your fears. What it doesn’t do is get rid of fear. As long as you leave it unexamined, fear will stick around.

What are you resisting?
We all want the world to be a certain way. Even though it would be such a peaceful and happy existence if we all just willingly accepted the reality of our lives, we don’t. We resist it. We get mad about it. It’s not supposed to be like this! If you ever hear the words “supposed to” or “should” bouncing around your head, you are probably also experiencing some negative emotions (like anger). Resistance really is futile because it doesn’t change anything. Acceptance is the remedy for resistance.

What are you viewing as wrong?
Justice and righteousness are the fast paths to anger. When we think of something as “wrong,” that can cause instant frustration, irritation, or rage. In fact, if you are hanging out with someone who seems awfully angry a lot of the time, odds are they have very strong opinions on what is right and what is wrong in the world. That right/wrong thinking doesn’t influence circumstances. It just makes people miserable. Letting go of our righteousness is the peaceful path.

Is your anger related to this circumstance or something from your past?
So often the current event triggering our anger is actually exposing a wound from the past. We think we are mad at the person standing before us when we are actually reliving a rejection, humiliation, or violation from another time in our lives. That’s the reason things get blown so far out of proportion sometimes. The present moment is being weighed down with the painful experiences of similar events from the past. The only way to lighten the current reaction is to resolve those past experiences.

By asking ourselves these five questions when we are gripped by anger, we can release the hold of that negative emotions. All of our emotions are windows into our inner worlds. They tell us about who we are, what makes us tick, what motivates us to do things. Taking the time to investigate what is behind our emotions when they arise, can be an enlightening experience. They are opportunities for us to learn about ourselves and grow into something even more magical than we already are.

 

Let's connect! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my biweekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page. 

On February 12th, 2019 by Stacy

"Tiny" Trauma

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

I didn’t truly know love until I had kids.
Up until then, I thought emotions were for the mentally weak (I know that sounds terrible). I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to walk around “feeling” all the time when you could just suck it up and move on. I just figured I was stronger than most.

My emotions could pretty much be categorized as some form of either excitement or anger. Sad was never an option. I didn’t even know when I had hurt feelings; I just got mad.

But then I had my son and other feelings began to surface.
Scary, vulnerable love. Fear. Sadness. And eventually the worst one, loneliness.

I didn’t like the way any of it made me feel so I kept most of it inside, including the scary, vulnerable love. When I allowed myself to peek into my heart, it just made me feel broken, unloved, and alone.

Parenting is like having a mirror held up to you every minute.
It’s confronting your own childhood all over again. But I couldn’t make sense of how I’d become so guarded and also so trapped inside. When I searched my past for answers, I had none. No abuse. No major loss. No significant trauma. My parents weren’t even divorced.

It took me a long time to figure it out because I refused to acknowledge that I had suffered. Watching other people with so many valid reasons for their pain, I felt like my life story had nothing of consequence to explain my feelings.

Here’s what I have learned about trauma though. One person’s painful life experience is no better or worse than someone else’s. What matters is how it affects you, changes you, and keeps you from feeling loved and lovable. I have met people just like me who can’t check a traditional trauma box, but who still feel alone and unloved.

It could be a painful sentence someone said. A mistake made once and carried a thousand times forward. A disappointment about what a relationship could have been or should have been.

First, you have to acknowledge that those things we’ve labeled insignificant left a lasting impression. They were our traumas. They made us feel unloved and unworthy. That’s why they matter.

We have to pull up those events and process them so we can move forward without the wall we built in reaction.

Honestly, a lot of the reason I was willing to face my past was for my kids. I could see the way fear of big feelings was making them feel rejected, abandoned, and even unworthy. They deserved more than that. And so did I.

 

I'm super excited to announce that Love Forward starts March 4! If you find yourself stuck in painful relationship patterns, this seven-day course will help you move toward deeper, loving connection. You can find more information here.

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On October 30th, 2018 by Stacy

Trigger Me This

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

I love getting emotionally triggered.
I mean, I don’t love it like I want more of it. It’s more like a failed experiment. It kind of sucks but you gather lots of good information.

It’s never about what the other person did or who is right or wrong. It’s really just about me. My emotional response reveals everything I need to know about what is going on in my own mind. So I like to take a pause as soon as I can and dig around to find out what’s going on beneath the emotional surface, so I can react differently next time.

Here’s an example of something that happened to me recently.
I was at a concert and this was a band I was super excited to see. But I was feeling agitated for some reason. It didn’t make any sense. I was having a strong negative reaction to the lead singer. What the heck? Who even cares? I don’t know that guy.

The feeling kind of lingered for the rest of the show and I didn’t get to processing it until the next day. What was it about him that bugged me so much?

Step one for me is to figure out what I am feeling.
I try to be very precise about this, because it helps me get to the root a little quicker. What was the emotion? Irritation? That didn’t feel quite right. Disappointment. No. Disgust. Yep, it was disgust.

Step two is to determine what is triggering that particular emotion.
That was easy. It was arrogance. I caught an arrogant vibe off the guy and my response was disgust. I stepped back for a minute to survey my history and this seemed to be a patterned response. Why was I so triggered by arrogance?

Here’s step three.
What does this reaction say about ME? I often try to turn it around on myself as a test. That’s because when I am triggered, it is sometimes by a characteristic that I fear I have or fear being judged as having. Okay. Instead of “I am disgusted by his arrogance,” I try on, “I am disgusted by my own arrogance.” No, that didn’t seem to be the source this time.

So I decided to dig into arrogance a little. What is arrogance anyway? Well, there’s some self-absorption in it. I KNOW that is something that I react negatively to in other people. But it felt like there was more to it.

And then I got it. Rejection. Arrogance contains a little bit of rejection, doesn’t it? It feels like receiving the message that you are not good enough. It feels like the other person is saying, “You are not as fill-in-the-blank as me. I refuse to connect with you. I’m better than you.”

I’d been feeling rejected, not only for myself but on behalf of the entire audience. Here we were, fans showering him with love and admiration, and he wasn’t sending love back at us. Ouch.

Now, I can hear the should in there. He’s supposed to be grateful and gracious. That’s just my own assumptions tripping me up though. He can do whatever he wants. The exercise is for ME. I want to have a different response when I come in contact with arrogance. Right? It’s never about avoiding rejection. It’s about not allowing rejection to cut you. It’s about knowing rejection doesn’t have anything to do with who you are and your self-worth.

Now that I can see it, I can understand my reaction better. All I want is to know myself well enough to sit with arrogance (or any other characteristic) and be completely okay. How I do that is by taking these beautiful opportunities and digging into them. My emotions are awesome indicators of my internal programming. Even when they don’t feel good, I try to welcome them in so that I can learn from them.

You can do this, too.
The next time you feel something, play along.

  1. What are you feeling? Name it. Get specific.
  2. Why are you feeling that way?
  3. What does this tell you about YOU?

There is so much information to be uncovered when you say yes to the investigation. Added bonus: Those “negative” emotions now have a purpose. They show up to teach you about YOU!

 

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

On October 16th, 2018 by Stacy

If Casseroles Can't Fix This, What Can?

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

I heard terrible news a few weeks ago.
Awful, devastating, heart-breaking… the worst kind of news. But someone else’s news. My pain was my heart breaking for a friend. It was the projection of how profoundly this will affect people. And it was a realization of how my own life, my children’s lives, my husband’s life and my parents’ lives could change in an instant.

And also a realization of how I still to this day don’t love as much as I want to.

I felt helpless. There are no casseroles that can fix something like that. There are not enough hugs in the universe to make it all better. It just hurts. It will change people forever. I coach adults trying to sort through the hardships of their childhood. I know that things just happen. But. They have a long-term effect on who we become.

That almost makes it harder. To hear news like that.

There is nothing you can do but love.
You know someone you care so much about will never be the same. All you can do is love through it no matter what that will look like. Love from afar. Love up close. Don’t forget to love long after the outsiders have moved on and the insiders still suffer.

We want to do something. We want to act. We want to soothe ourselves by being able to help. That’s a totally normal reaction. I felt that.

I have never come close to touching loss like that. Because of that, a little part of me wants to just give tons of space. And space is super important. For sure. But when the first wave and maybe even the second wave subsides, using that as an excuse is not okay.

Be uncomfortable.
Know that you can never understand, but stay anyway. Be there. Do not be distant because you don’t know how to show up. In fact, ask how you can show up. I learned this from another friend suffering a trauma. Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” Don’t say anything. Just show up and hug. I learned from her to be silent and listen. Your words cannot comfort as much as your solid quiet love can sometimes.

And guess what else I did the day I heard the news? I got my hair done. On most days, I consider this a necessity. I have a LOT of grey hair. That day it seemed so stupid and vain and completely insignificant. So much of what I did seemed meaningless on that day.

Thank goodness the work I do feels purposeful. Thankfully, it was a course-building day and not a client day. That would have been HARD. My energy was way too wrapped up in it. Work actually felt good that day. It felt like I was contributing something valuable, like I had a way to help all of the people who were the insiders of the bad news and have had to survive their trauma but now want to heal.

I have never been so sad and joyful at the same time.
My actions may not directly help my friend, but I know they help others healing from the same experiences.

This blog is a hot mess. I don’t know what I have to contribute other than this…

  1. Give space and love.
  2. Show up and love.
  3. Allow yourself to feel even if it isn’t yours.
  4. Do work that feels meaningful.

I love you all so freaking much. Kisses and hugs.

 

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

On September 26th, 2018 by Stacy

Emotional Manipulation

Posted In:
blog | Emotions

I got mad at my husband this morning.
He didn’t do something he was supposed to do and I ended up having to do it. Like super mad. It happens in relationships. I’m human. So is he.

But then I stayed mad. Being a coach, it’s just become a habit to mentally dig into my unpleasant emotions (especially if I’m reeeaaally stuck). Plus, I know that whenever I’ve got negative emotions directed at someone else, I’m feeling disappointed. That’s a red flag for me that I’ve got some expectations in place and am living in my should story instead of reality. So I set off on a little mental inquiry.

One thing I knew for sure was that I was manufacturing emotions. Mad showed up. No big deal. BUT. When it was naturally ready to exit, I started telling myself a story about all the ways he takes advantage of me and I blah blahed myself down the martyr hole. So Mad got to stay as a lead character.

Okay, Stacy, drop the story.
Why was I choosing this narrative? Why did it feel necessary? Because truthfully, I could feel that I was choosing it even if I didn’t want it.

It seemed I wanted to be mad at him as some kind of protective measure. The simple and loving response would just be to say, “Hey, when you didn’t do that thing, I had to do it instead and I really didn’t have time for it. Help a girl out next time? Thanks, sweetie!”

But somewhere in my mind I had some weird programming that didn’t trust that tactic. I seemed to believe that if I didn’t deliver feedback with my mad energy attached, he wouldn’t change the behavior. Like the request itself wasn’t enough. I had to get mad, too.

How lame, right? Doesn’t that just encourage the other person to make sure they don’t make you mad again? It isn’t so much that they'll want to help you out more.

It’s so manipulative, right?! I mean, not that I was consciously trying to manipulate, but once I took a step back and really looked at it, that was exactly what I was doing. Manufacturing emotions to manipulate someone’s actions. Gulp.

I very much believe that everything showing up in my life has a purpose.
None of it is random. All of the ways my husband challenges me (read pisses me off) are there to help me grow.

Perhaps this was a beautiful opportunity for me. Where else was I using my emotional reaction to manipulate people into doing what I want? That sounds harsh, I know. But, intentionally or not, it felt a little true.

And there is a flip side. Where did my original idea come from that people won’t show up differently if there isn’t an emotional reaction? Do I do that to others? Do I keep showing up the same lame way for someone until they get mad or hurt or sad about it?

I don’t know that it is reflected so much in my actions, but I can see it in my thoughts. The people I am the most afraid to disappoint are the ones that have an emotional reaction to what I do. Isn’t that interesting.

That just seems so backwards. Then again, maybe they’re accommodating and forgiving because they’ve already done all of this same work and let go of expectations. It’s definitely something for me to keep working on.

I share this little experience with YOU for a few reasons.
1. EVERYONE has all the emotions. Nobody out there, including me, gets to avoid them.
2. There is a big difference between natural emotions and manufactured emotions.
3. We sometimes use emotions to manipulate other people, even if we don’t know we are doing it. Let’s stop that and see what happens.
4. The people disappointing you have been put in your life for a reason. Take some time to figure out what that is, my friend.
5. Let’s make sure we keep showing up for ALL the people, not just the ones throwing emotional fits.

That’s all. Love you.

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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