I spent a lot of my life feeling heavy emotions all the time. I assumed that was just how it is. If you grow up in a certain environment or you struggle with feeling down or heavy, sometimes you just assume this is how it’s always going to be. You feel like you don’t have any choice. This is the way I felt.
This is just how I have to feel because life is hard and there you go.
The problem with that is, it made me sort of unwilling to face my emotions because they felt overwhelming. I would do everything possible not to feel them.
One of the craziest ways that we do this in the modern world is we take medications that often block our emotions so we don’t feel them, which I think can be maybe helpful in the short-term, but in the longterm it’s blocking something that we want to get flowing again.
I spent a lot of my life blocking my emotions in various ways. We do this with food. We do this with alcohol. We do this in so many ways. I don’t want to feel, so let me have some Krispy Kreme donuts! I had a kind of emotional poverty.
There were only a few emotions that I felt were safe to feel, and I hid myself from the rest of them. When you do that, you shrink your life. Because our emotions fuel our lives, and they fuel the actions we take, they’re really, really important.
If you only allow yourself to feel a narrow range of emotions, then you only get to experience a narrow range of life.
When I opened myself up to let all of the emotions come, it was kind of like the dam breaking. You hide yourself from emotions because you’re scared of what’s going to come out if you ever let yourself go there. That’s how I used to feel.
Finally, the emotional backpack got too heavy. The dam had too much pressure on it, and it broke. What I learned is that I can feel emotions. Why had I been running from them for so long? Why have I been trying to protect myself from that? They came and they went.
When I opened myself up to a full range of emotions, my life also opened up. There were so many things that I was able to experience because I was willing to have a bigger life, because I was willing to have a wider range of emotion!
We often get stuck in emotional ruts because we don’t think we have any choice. We think this is just how it has to be, and we just wake up feeling the same way day, after day after day. We think to ourself, “I get so tired of feeling this way,” but we think we don’t have a choice. We think this is just how we feel.
I want to share with you today how I learned to really overcome that feeling of being emotionally bankrupt, and really embrace the full range of human emotions on both spectrums, good and bad.
When I just opened myself up to it my life exploded. My life opened up in the best way. My life got so broad and beautiful because I was willing to experience life! I was willing to have the human experience of having human emotions that I wasn’t blocking anymore, and that I wasn’t afraid of anymore.
Being open to all of it kept me from staying in this rut of having the same emotions all the time.
If you feel like you’re emotionally bankrupt and you feel like all you ever feel is stressed and anxious, or all you ever feel is down, or all you ever feel is heaviness, you’re not alone. That’s the way I would have described my life several years ago.
Probably nobody else would have known. You learn how to get by and everything seems fine, but I wasn’t really experiencing the fullness of life that I do now. I think this is so common.
I think if you’re at this point in your life where you really want your life to open up, and you want to experience a wide range of life, and a wide range of emotion, you have to be willing to take some risks.
You have to be willing to let the dam break, open yourself up, and go there.
The first thing I had to confront was my past, and I was for sure that I had to think the way I thought about my past. I believed there was no other option than to have these heavy emotions about my past.
I learned that you don’t have to continue to have the same thoughts about your past that you’ve always had. You can re-imagine your past. I teach my clients how to do this all the time. It’s the most magical thing!
You think you know all the lessons from your past, or how you’re supposed to feel about your past, but if you’re willing to loosen your grip on that and you’re willing to reimagine that, you can totally change it. It’s the same exact process for how you just decide what kind of emotional life you want.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank. It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how many nice cars you have. If you don’t learn to manage your emotional life, if you don’t learn to build emotional wealth, none of that will matter because none of that makes us happy.
None of that brings contentment.
None of that is fulfilling or meaningful.
If you don’t learn how to create your own emotional experience that you enjoy, which only you can create, then you’ll live in emotional poverty no matter what you have on the outside
Stop delegating your emotions to other people and things.
Stop delegating your emotions to the past.
Stop delegating your emotions to what your spouse did.
Stop delegating your emotions to your children.
Stop delegating your emotional life to that coworker that makes you crazy.
You have agency. You have the ability to create for yourself whatever you want.
No matter what they’re all doing out there, the reason you have the emotional experience that you have is because you are creating it for yourself. How do you create it? You create it with your thoughts.
When you get in a rut with your thinking, you also get in a rut with your emotions. Be on to yourself. You think the same things all the time.
My life is stressful.
The world is crazy.
They won’t listen.
Thinking the same thing all the time creates a thinking rut, which creates an emotional rut.
I know you don’t think you have any choice. You just always feel that way. You do have a choice, and it’s important because the choice you make here is what is going to give you the result in your life.
I joined a gym about four years ago and they do things in that gym that I’ve never done before. Hard things, like lifting barbells and doing certain weightlifting things, and certain gymnastics moves that I knew as a kid but hadn’t done as an adult.
I’ve come a long, long way, but yesterday we were doing this move and I was really scared about it. I just kept thinking the whole time, I’m not going to be able to do this. This is too heavy. I’m not going to be able to do this. I felt afraid.
So, as you do when you feel that way, I got up to the bar and I lifted it up and I got it about half way, and I dropped it. My coach came over to me and said, “Edie, you’re strong enough to do this. The reason you’re not doing it is because of what’s going on in your head. You’re just not committing to it. You’re not going all in.”
The reason stretching ourselves in different areas of life is so good for us is because, on the other side of that, I might get to feel the amazing emotion of, “I did it you guys.” It causes a broadening, that sort of opening up of your heart, and you may get to feel that amazing emotion. That’s possible.
But also, if I take the risk of doing it, I might fail again. So on the other side of that is UGH. We’re scared to feel the ugh, so we won’t do the thing that might let us experience the I did it!
I just decided, okay, I can do this. I borrowed my coach’s belief. He thinks I can do this. He thinks I’m strong enough. I go up to the bar and I’m going to give it all I’ve got. If I can’t do it, fine, it’ll fall where it may.
I did it! That experience has been an emotional high for me for the past couple of days. I did something really hard, and I’ve worked for the last four years to be able to do it. I stepped up to the bar and I did it.
That kind of experience is available to us if we’re willing to get out of our comfort zones and make ourselves uncomfortable. If you want to experience life in the way you’re currently not experiencing it, you’ve got to do things that you currently aren’t doing.
That range of emotion the pursuing of something that’s hard is really what gives us meaning. We can stay in our little narrow range of life and emotion, and thinking, and stay in the same little rut or we can just decide, “I’m going to take a chance. I’m going to do this. I’m willing to feel really bad in order that it might be so cool!”
The first thing you have to do is you have to realize it’s on you. Your emotional experience of life is on you.
That heaviness that I carried around for years, I carried it around because I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, I’ve had a hard life. My past has been difficult. Wow. Things like this always happen to me.” That thinking kept me stuck in this emotional pattern that was not healthy.
Are you stuck in an emotional pattern that’s not good for you where you just assume that you have to think and feel a certain way? You don’t.
You can create what you want to create for yourself in your emotional life.
Think of three emotions that you really love feeling.
I love being excited so I create a lot of excitement for myself in my life! One of the ways I do that is just with my routines. I love my morning routine! I love my evening routine! I get excited when it’s bedtime because I know I’m going to listen to that little meditation app, and I’m going to read a certain thing, and I’m going to take a hot bath. I just have this routine that gets me excited. I create that for myself!
Same thing in the morning. I get really excited to get up in the morning because I love my morning routine. These routines that I create for myself help me generate excitement about my life.
If you have an emotion that you want to feel, ask yourself,
How can I create that for myself?
What can I think that helps me create that emotion?
How can I design my life in a way that helps me create that emotion?
I also love feeling inspired, so I hang around with people that inspire me. I think thoughts that are inspiring. I set my life up in such a way that I can feel inspired by what I think about.
Feeling inspired doesn’t come from thinking about how hard my past was or thinking about how hard life is. That doesn’t help me feel inspired. I have to decide, how do I want to think so that I can feel inspired?
The third emotion that I love feeling is love. It’s my favorite! I am maybe addicted to generating love in every situation. I go into a situation and I think to myself, how can I generate the feeling of love for this person? How can I think about them in such a way that it helps me understand them and be compassionate for them and love them?
How can I generate more love in my parenting?
How can I generate more love in my marriage?
What do I need to think about my spouse in order to generate love?
I generate so much love for myself in my life and it’s so intoxicating. If you want to feel more love, you have to create it for yourself by the way you think about the people in your life, and by the way you think about your life.
You want to love your life more? That’s on you. You can just decide that you’re going to think of all the ways you love your life.
Maybe you need to work on how you think about your job. Maybe you have a terrible attitude about your job and you always feel a certain way when you go into your job. You can stop doing that and create for yourself the emotions that you want to create for your job.
You can do this in every area of your life and it’s so empowering!
You have to practice.
You know why I’m so good at generating love? Because I think about it all the time. I practice it.
How can you take responsibility for yourself and for the life that you’re creating, and for the emotions that you’re generating for yourself? Just decide and then practice!
I want to feel more excitement.
I want to feel inspired.
I want to feel more love.
What do I need to think in order to do that?
I teach so much about this in my coaching program, Life Mentoring School! I love watching my students make magic by deciding what emotions they want to create and what kind of life they want to make for themselves and their family.
It’s such an awesome place so it you’re not on our waiting list, go jump on it here!