Last year, at around this time, one my mentors unsubscribed from my email list.
Now, don’t get me wrong here… I had been running my business for long enough to have become at peace with the fact that people will regularly subscribe and unsubscribe from my email list based on where they’re at in their personal development journeys.
It was all goooooooooood!
And, just as I was feeling a strong sense equanimity in this area, WHAM! Life hit me with this little situation to work through.
Ouch! It hurt.
Has this ever happened to you?
You feel like you’ve made incredible progress in a certain area of your life and then something triggers you right back into that place of fear and self-doubt that you thought you’d left behind.
And then you start to question whether you’ve made any progress at all.
Now luckily, being the coaching junkie that I am, I’ve got tools to help me (and you!) work through this kind of stuff.
And I know that when emotional wounds resurface, it really just means that you’re ready to heal them at a deeper level… which is a good thing!
So, in the interests of helping you learn from my mistakes, here are some of the unhelpful things that I did at the time… and how I got myself out of them so that I could actually move forward from this situation feeling more calm, strong, and clear:
(1) Feelings… oh those darn feelings…
When I first saw the email, I felt awful… and my immediate reaction was to go straight into my head and rationalize.
Rookie mistake :)
“It’s all good… no problem… she probably just didn’t want to see your posts anymore…” I tried to tell myself.
But I knew I was just trying to stuff down those uncomfortable emotions that I was feeling, because… well… they’re uncomfortable!
This never helps us… especially if our goal is to move past a situation in peace.
Trying to NOT feel your feelings just keeps you stuck… and I didn’t want to stay stuck.
So I took a deep breath, shut off my brain, and just FELT.
I felt the physical sensations of sadness, frustration, and disappointment in my body, without judging them or attaching a story to them.
I could feel the physical sensations shifting around – from the tightness in my chest, down to a queasy feeling in my gut, and within literally a few moments… leaving my body.
This is one of the coolest practices that I’ve learned as a coach. It can take some time to master it, but boy once you do, the payoff is incredible.
The reason that feelings get stuck inside of us is that we’re too afraid to feel them… And when this happens we become grumpy, resentful, and short-tempered… often with the wrong people! Essentially, we feel even WORSE!
But if we allow our feelings to surface, without resistance, judgement, or a story about them, they simply do their thing and then we can then move on.
(2) What’s the belief about YOU?
Once my feelings about the situation were settled, I could then turn to look at what was really going on for me.
Aaaaaaand, predictably, I first slipped into wondering what was going on for her. Why did she unsubscribe? Did she not like my writing? Was she upset with me because I had declined to work on a project with her a few weeks earlier?
But once again, I didn’t stay on this track for long because I could tell it was getting me nowhere and I have MUCH better tools for this type of internal reflection.
So I asked myself one magic question: What was I making this mean about ME?
This question has saved my life so many times, I can tell you enough how much I love it.
It can also be a tricky one to master. It’s so easy to focus on the other person, their motives, how upset we are with them… And often when I first ask a new client this question, they’re STUMPED, because we’re not used to examining situations that upset us in this way.
But, just like the “feeling your feelings” technique, once you master how to answer this question for yourself, the payoff is unbelievable!
So here’s how I answered it in this situation…
This person had been a mentor to me… and the story that I was telling myself was that if she didn’t want to read my posts anymore, it must mean that I’m no good as a coach.
Yeeeeeesh! Talk about a limiting belief.
AND talk about handing over my power over to someone else.
There was a part of me that wanted to feel validated by her so that I would feel good enough about myself.
But now I knew that it wasn’t about her.
It was about ME not feeling good enough about myself.
Once again, I breathed another sigh of relief… Now that I knew it was about me… not her… I could move on to my next question.
(3) Back to feelings… yup :)
The main emotion I was feeling here was sadness… and the job of sadness is to help you let go.
So then I asked myself another magic question, “What am I letting go of?”
And having processed the emotions and the limiting belief I had about myself in this situation, I could honestly say, nothing.
I knew that she hadn’t read any of my posts in months, so what was I losing?
And that’s when I started laughing… at myself… And at how we can drive ourselves crazy for no reason sometimes.
Thank goodness for coaching tools!
So the next time a situation in your life throws you for a loop, try one or more of these techniques:
(1) Feel the physical sensations of your feelings without judgement or a story.
(2) Ask yourself what you’re making the situation mean about YOU.
(3) Go back to the core emotion that you’re feeling and figure out what it’s trying to help you do.
These 3 techniques are incredibly powerful on their own and they’re SUPER POWERFUL when you use them together :)