From the perspective of dead people, we the living are making our lives way more complicated than necessary. The way that they see it, we do this by overthinking, overdoing and not paying attention to our emotions. When we allow ourselves to connect to the depth of our emotions and honestly observe how they’re affecting us, we open ourselves to the roadmap for our soul’s growth. That information can help guide us in all of our decisions. This doesn’t mean surrendering to every emotional whim. It means becoming aware of what you’re feeling and then going deep to examine why you feel that way. It’s not about justifying or rationalizing; it’s about accepting This is the way that I feel. Then determining, is this feeling leading to an action that brings me closer to my soul or farther from it? Our emotions are the breadcrumbs that can lead us to having a peaceful heart and a more fulfilled life.
My client Fred readily admitted that he was miserable. He didn’t like his job and said that he couldn’t remember the last conversation that he had with his wife that hadn’t ended in an argument. The only time that he felt any peace was in his car during the too short 20-minute commute. He’s not alone, I hear this often from both men and women. They feel caught in an emotional vortex and can’t imagine that there is even the possibility of escaping. Even though Fred wasn’t happy, he did what many people do. When his wife left him he did everything in his power to get her back. There were tears and promises and plenty of begging but nothing worked. Though heartbroken he finally accepted that the relationship was over. Then a funny thing happened. One morning he woke up and found that for no apparent reason, he was smiling. He went about his day and realized that his job really wasn’t that bad. For the first time in a long time Fred felt happy. He thought about how alienated and depressed he’d been feeling and he was willing to do the work to make sure that he’d never feel that way again. He learned to name his feelings and then to name what triggered those feelings. Then he learned what to do if faced with those triggers in the future.
Fred’s emotional breadcrumbs led him to the realization that he had made his marriage a priority but not his own happiness. In his words, as his relationship crumbled, so did his self-esteem, self-respect and dignity. He knew that going forward in any new relationship he would be with someone where they would value and support each other’s peaceful and happy hearts.
Comment: You said that Fred learned what to do when faced with his triggers. What do I do?
Victoria: I purposely didn’t talk about it because facing and dealing with triggers isn’t a one-answer-fits-all experience. This is a time when professional help can be very beneficial. A trained therapist or counselor will be familiar with different approaches and can help you find what works best for you. Please know that just accepting that you could use help is extremely brave.