Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Petra Juhászová (UK)
We experience countless emotions during the day. They are physical and instinctive. Emotions have been hard-wired in us. Feelings, on the other hand, are associated with our reaction to an emotion that is personal and was acquired through experience. Our feelings are created by our thoughts.
The feelings we experience are neither positive or negative. It is our personal experience that speaks. We can practice positive self-talk that helps us to thrive and live our potential. Or we can have negative self-talk that stops us from leaving our comfort zone and explore the unknown. Our true potential lies beyond the borders of our comfort zone.
I know, we all have heard of this before. Still, what is stopping us from making that ‘leap of faith’ to explore what’s out there? A scientist would probably say that it is our reptilian brain, one of the oldest parts of our brain. Evolutionary its function was to keep us safe from danger and not to leave our tribe. Back in the days, it was a very useful function. However, nowadays, instead of keeping us safe, it creates an obstacle between us and our true potential. When we are facing a new challenge a vortex of feelings comes to the surface.
Fear. Self-doubt. Not being worthy. Failure.
These were some of the feelings creeping up on me when I started exploring the territory out of my comfort zone. I did whatever I could to persuade myself that it is ok. I kept repeating positive affirmations even though, deep inside I could feel that I am not being completely honest with myself. I was afraid of those less pleasant feelings that came with the novelty. Therefore, didn’t want to feel them. Most probably many of our clients are doing the same.
As a coach we can help our clients to be more aware of their feelings by helping them to accept these feelings rather than fighting them; have an optimistic approach to life, and enjoy life despite its occasional disappointments and frustrations. And this is what emotional wellness is about – to allow ourselves to feel the feelings.
It is important to realize that when the client feels scared and is afraid, it is their reptilian brain switching on. And their brain starts creating a feeling of discomfort anytime they are faced to do or experience something unfamiliar to them.
You can see that your client’s emotions are escalating. They would like to move forward, but for some reason, they end up repeating the same pattern. They adopt a role that of a victim and start asking the ‘Why can’t I…’ type of questions:
‘Why can’t I ask for a pay rise? Why can’t I tell my partner my true feelings? Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I? ‘
As a coach, I found Barbara de Angeli’s approach to this question very useful and helpful. The ‘why can’t I…’ types of questions aren’t real questions. They are undercover complaints. We express our feeling of being treated unfair and pointing fingers at somebody else to blame. However, if we change only one word in the question, as Barbara suggested, the whole energy of the question changes.
Have a look at it yourself:
- ‘Why can’t I express my true feelings to my partner?’ and
- ‘Why don’t I express my true feelings to my partner?’
By swapping one word we created a profound change in the dynamics of the question. The blaming and finger-pointing have changed into taking responsibility and looking for the answer. Whether you want it or not your brain starts to look for the answers to this question.
Personally, I like this question. It can be more powerful if you get the client’s mind to quit, simply by asking him to focus on his breathing. A simple breath in and out will help. Make sure that you clearly ask your client not to think of anything else just breathing. And once you see the client being calm – ask the question and watch it in action!
It is amazing to see, the miracles that happen when we are attached to our feelings and let ourselves to experience them, rather than shove them under the rug. Let’s help our clients to see that being beyond their comfort zone adds on to their growth and confidence. They would only benefit from it. As Joseph Campbell put it: ’The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.’ Let’s be the torch shedding the light in that cave where our client is about to enter.
Barbara De Angelis: Soul Shifts
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