Teresa Brooks Life Coaching

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RESOLVING EMOTIONAL ISSUES – an exercise

Like everybody else, I need to be reminded about the’ wholeness’ of certain situations. Things go awry when I focus too much on the aspects that do not suit me. I am better served by acknowledging both sides of a situation and treating the wholeness as ‘information’ rather than separating it into either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Any time we interpret a situation, we are running it through our own biases and that skews the truth. The following exercise is one way to manage and resolve issues, problems or challenges.

When faced with uncomfortable situations, we tend to give ALL our attention to the ‘issue’. We examine the issue from every perspective. We poke and prod. At the end of that process, we notice that the ‘issue’ is still there, completely intact! I am not saying that a thorough investigation of that particular issue is not required in order to solve it. But if the action around the issue remains at the poking and prodding stage, then we are no closer to a resolution.

The following exercise seems a bit counter intuitive because it requires us to by pass the issue and give our attention to the outcomes we desire. Remember, we create situations to which we give our attention.

For this exercise, you will need a pencil and paper. Issues are often easier to deal with when they are on paper rather than running amok in our heads.

On the left hand side of your page, write the issue you want to work on. For example, a personal quality (patience, authority, generosity etc.) that you would like to strengthen or feel less critical about.

On the right hand side of your page, list the outcomes/results of increasing your level of patience, generosity or of strengthening your authority. In this exercise, you will be bypassing the issue and concentrating on the outcomes only.

Next, choose one outcome. When an outcome (or even part of this outcome) is valued and appreciated, that valuing process will begin to move the resolution of that issue towards you. Focus on how you would feel when that outcome is reached. Stay with that feeling. Let it ‘wash’ over you. Relax into it.

The next step is to record a word or a phrase that encapsulates this loving, appreciative feeling. In the days that follow, repeating this word or phrase will help to maintain your focus on the desired outcome and keep the appreciation going.

Here is an example of how this exercise worked for me.

Issue: Having trouble owning my own authority.

Desired Outcomes

Owning my own authority would

  • have me standing on solid ground
  • allow me to like myself
  • allow me to be myself and feel comfortable about it
  • feel the connection with myself

The phrase I decided to use was ‘connection and validation’.

Prior to doing this exercise, I was having trouble owning my own authority. Thus, I was either too dogmatic and authoritarian or let others influence me and consequently disliked them as well as myself. I was focused on all the things I was ‘not’; not on solid ground, not liking myself, not being myself and not connected to the authority I knew I needed to acknowledge. By examining what I ‘was not’ and putting a positive spin on all the negatives gave me a way forward. The phrase, ‘connection and validation’ accessed a warm feeling that helped me to relax and soften a situation that had previously caused  much angst. I could be kinder to my authoritarian part and less critical of myself. My relationship with my authority became more comfortable.

Like any exercise, this one will work if you work it. Emotional fitness works like physical fitness. Physical fitness is not achieved by one visit to the gym but by repetition and dedication. You can become super fit (emotionally) and/or achieve a level of fitness that satisfies you; the choice is yours.

Sometimes our resolve to clean up an issue meets with opposition. Mind chatter made up of old unresolved matters, fears and predictions has the effect of consuming our energetic space and turning all our attention to the negative aspects of the problem . These interfering thoughts need to be dealt with PRIOR to beginning this exercise or the process will be sabotaged. Knowing what you don’t want helps you work out what you do want. Rather than seeing negatives as blocking our desired outcomes, appreciate them for the information they contain. Remember, mind chatter rarely sees beyond the issue. When we put our energy into valuing the desired outcomes, we support our emotional growth and that leads to a richer more rewarding life.

I recommend this exercise to you. I hope you choose to give it a try.

Be kind to yourself

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