Have you found yourself at a cross roads lately? Do you feel like you’re in a rut emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually? Is your mind overloaded with conflicting thoughts but you can’t verbalize your feelings?
Our natural feelings can often show up disguised as something else – anger, hypersensitive, procrastination, confusion, anxiety, etc. Without self awareness, you may continue to lash out, only making the situation worse.
Let me share my personal experience.
Are Your Feelings Being Disguised?
Last year, I took a hiatus from blogging simply to enjoy living. I opened my heart again to receive love and was blessed with the man that I’ve prayed very specifically for. In November, I moved back home from Arizona to Michigan and in December we exchanged vows in a roaring 1920’s themed ceremony and reception. I was on cloud eleven!
Within months, though I found myself in a whirl wind of emotions – discontented, conflicted and irritable. Rather than allowing myself to feel, I began judging my feelings (negative self-talk). I eventually decided to journal my thoughts beginning with a gratitude log.
In the process it also occurred to me that over the last year and a half my creative juices had all but dried up. I even started contemplating a career change. These baby steps were great but still nothing was really giving me that “Ah ha” moment. So, I knew it was time for some deeper self reflection.
Don’t think. Simply close your eyes and acknowledge your feelings.
5 Steps to Gaining Clarity
- Stop and ask yourself “What’s Really Going On?”. This simple question allows you to tap into your core and identify the source of your feelings – self-doubt, betrayal, fear, guilt, etc. Instead of thinking, close your eyes, take a deep breath and acknowledge what you are feeling. As tempting as it may be to accuse (That’s a “bad” way to feel…) or excuse (You don’t have any reason to feel…) resist the temptation. Simply acknowledge. In my case, I am feeling fear.
- Identify the Reason. Why do you feel…? In order to identify the reason behind your feelings, you must avoid judging your initial self analysis (Step 1). Give yourself permission to feel. Maintain willingness to be uncomfortable in the process. Once you identify the reason why you’re feeling a certain way, you can validate your feelings. This is a necessary step toward self -awareness. Keeping in mind your initial feeling, ask yourself “What is causing me to feel this way?” Specifically, I am afraid of success and happiness.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings. (It’s understandable that you would feel…) Learning to validate your own feelings removes the need for others to understand or agree with how you feel. It also moves you to take ownership and determine to what degree you will allow your feelings to dictate your attitude and actions. What is the root cause or current situation leading you to feel the way that you do? Are you overwhelmed by responsibility? Are you a perfectionist? Do you need to let go of unreasonable expectations? I’ve been through a divorce which left me feeling broken, fragile, and like I’d failed. As I endeavored on my second marriage, it is understandable that I would feel afraid.
- Rename and Redirect with a Self Affirmation. Positive self talk is powerful! What we tell ourselves can either motivate or discourage a course of action. Now that you have identified and acknowledged your feelings, it’s time to use that knowledge to reframe your mind. For example, a public speaker before going on stage can take control of nervousness by repeating the affirmation: “I’m not afraid, I’m excited!” My self affirmation is: “Your past has made you stronger and more aware. After all you’ve endured, you deserve to be happy.”
- Funnel Your Energy. Wisdom has been defined as “the application of knowledge.” What steps can you take towards a new way of thinking? How do you best process your ideas and thoughts? Journaling, talking to a friend, counselor, coach, etc.? I choose to journal and express my feelings to my husband as well as exercise and practice daily self affirmations.
Stay In Tuned
Now that you are aware of what circumstances, ideas and/or beliefs are influencing your feelings and actions, what next? You have the tools to reframe and redirect your energy to use this knowledge productively. Admittedly, it’s easier said than done. Consistency and commitment are needed in realizing that you may need to repeat these steps as needed.
Empowerment is in your hands .