Recently we explored what to do about negative thoughts that lead you to feel bad and derail your best intentions. We pointed to Theory U developed by MIT researcher Dr. Otto Scharmer that describes the inner power you have to move past intrusive thoughts. In this week’s post, we’ll move into a next stage of that process–how to work with uncomfortable feelings in a way that opens your heart to inspiration.
Because of over busy-ness, stress, exhaustion, and pain, it’s understandable that you might shut-down your ability to feel. This may help you handle things in the short run, but, in the long-run emotional shut-down leads to increasing inner tension and subconscious reactivity. When you close off your heart because of fear, disappointment, anger, and sadness you also end up cutting yourself off from creativity, love, and joy. You lose touch with the inspiring feelings that make life worth living and sharing.
To interrupt that cycle, Theory U suggests that it’s essential to become aware of your fears and uncomfortable feelings and shift your relationship with them. It’s important to realize that you don’t need to be afraid of “negative” emotions. When you turn toward them with acceptance and compassion, you open your heart and initiate self-healing.
Here are some empowering questions to ask:
1. What are my persistent uncomfortable feelings? (for example: fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, disappointment, depression. . .)
2. Is it possible to accept these feelings and allow them to be O.K.? Can I feel my feelings without believing they define me? Is it possible to notice valuable information in them that can help me move forward?
3. What are the thoughts that accompany these feelings? What words and images repeat in my head when I’m feeling that way?
4. What do I do when I have those thoughts and feelings? (Some possibilities include: do I believe them, act on them, argue with them, blame others, observe them, wait for them to pass. . .?)
As you are able to recognize, accept, and gather information from your feelings instead of believing they define you, you realize that you can choose among many options in how you relate to them. As you really understand that, you gain incredible inner power. You discover that it’s O.K. to feel your feelings. They are just giving you information about what is happening inside and around you, so you can decide how to respond. When you make new choices, you have new experiences.
As you recognize and release old emotional patterns, you open your heart to “feeling” again and to being in touch with what truly inspires you. You start to feel the inner sensations of inspiration inside your body. You realize that you have the power to live your inspiration by what you choose to think, feel, and do, no matter what has happened in the past, what anyone else says, or what is going on around you. You can choose to discover and grow your core inspiration in this moment—right now.