Emotions In Balance

Feeling emotionally out of balance is one of the most basic reasons that people seek coaching or counseling. At the mild end of the spectrum, this may surface as just feeling “off,” stressed out to some degree, or the vague sense of “something missing” in life. At the more intense end of the spectrum, it may surface as depression, anxiety, panic, or despair. Most often, it’s somewhere in between.

My understanding about the basic human system of emotions is that when it’s balanced and working well, it does two things: First, it alerts us that something significant is happening. Anger alerts us to something that feels unjust; hurt or sadness alerts us to violation or loss. Fear alerts us to something that feels like a threat to us. Guilt alerts us that we’ve acted outside our system of values. And so on.

Second, after alerting us, our emotions move through us and out, and allow the system to return to balance. Anger moves through when we raise our voices, stand up for ourselves, take action, or move physically. Hurt and sadness move through us when we cry, and sometimes when we talk with someone who cares. Fear moves through us when we shake or tremble, run, or our hearts pound and adrenaline moves through our bodies. Guilt moves when we acknowledge mistakes, make amends, and choose differently next time.

When everything is balanced, the system works well and is self-correcting. But many of us have learned to withhold feelings, ignore them, or talk ourselves out of them. Or we’ve learned to express feelings in sideways directions, such as through physical symptoms, panic attacks, rage, overeating or shopping, or more traditional addictions. My belief, and my experience, is that everyone and every condition can heal, and everyone can find balance again, because health and balance are our natural state.

While advertisers, pharmaceutical companies, and others may tell us something different, my experience (both personally and professionally) has been that returning to emotional balance is just a matter of understanding where we’ve gotten off track, releasing old patterns and old energy blocks, and allowing our health and balance to return. And there are tools and skills we can use to make that much easier than what we’ve been led to believe.

Emotions and the Law of Attraction

In the Law of Attraction world, Abraham says that our emotions are the most important of the six ways we perceive in human form – the five physical senses plus our emotions. More than just a day-to-day alerting system, Abraham says our emotions are our personal guidance system for knowing whether we’re energetically aligned or not. If we feel “good” (all the feelings that feel like freedom and empowerment), we’re aligned. If we feel “bad” (all the feelings that feel like restriction and powerlessness), we’re out of alignment.

Alignment is important, not only because it feels better to us, but because when we’re aligned with ourselves (and our expanded selves), we’re in a position to allow everything we’ve been asking for to come into our lives – health, energy, joy, clarity, money and abundance, positive relationships, and anything else we’ve been seeking. So, whether you look at emotions from a traditional viewpoint, a Law of Attraction viewpoint, or somewhere in between, being able to return to emotional balance is key.

Being tuned into our own feelings also helps us know whether we’re turned “upstream” (pushing against the current, working harder than we have to) or “downstream” (flowing with the current, toward everything we’ve ever desired). Once we’re clear on that, we can take steps to bring ourselves back into alignment and allow our lives to flow more easily. How do we know we’re in alignment and flowing downstream? We feel good.

Two More Great Things To Know About Emotions

Both of these things fall into the category of “Wish I’d known this sooner...” but I’m glad to know them now! I learned both of them from Steve LeBlanc, a wonderful mentor and friend. The first thing is this:

1. If you’re feeling stuck, check for hidden shame. Steve taught me the vast importance of recognizing when we’re feeling shame, because shame bogs down the entire system. Until it moves, nothing else moves. And the kicker is that we often don’t realize we’re feeling it, because by nature it tends to operate under the radar. In other words, we can be bogged down by shame and not even know it. Then we wonder why nothing changes, and feel even more stuck.

Shame is the feeling of being not good enough, less than, or defective in some way. Any time we label ourselves negatively (or believe the negative labels that others have given us), such as “stupid,” “loser,” “ugly,” “weird,” etc., we are most likely feeling shame. Shame is different from guilt (although they feel similar) because guilt is about behavior. I may feel guilty about something I did or didn’t do, but I’m more likely to feel shame about who I am.

Shame can feel like embarrassment, humiliation, hopelessness, or powerlessness. It can show itself physically through blushing, feeling nauseated, not being able to keep eye contact, or wanted to run away and hide. Or it can be a subtle, behind-the-scenes feeling that keeps us from allowing ourselves the life we dream about, because we somehow “don’t deserve it,” or something similar.

The good news is that shame can be identified and released, and EFT is a great tool to help facilitate that. You can do it on your own, or have a friend, coach, or EFT practitioner walk you through it. The relief of feeling freed from shame can be profound, and then your energy is free to move and flow again, and you can return to emotional balance.

2. The second great thing to know about emotions is that not knowing what you want is an indicator of unfinished feelings. I talk with so many people who come in for coaching because they’re not clear on what they want, whether it’s about career, a relationship, or just life path in general. Most of them are surprised to hear that there may be a perfectly logical reason for this lack of clarity – unfinished feelings.

When our emotional system is balanced and working, once we feel something, it moves through us and out, and the feeling is “complete.” Think of a child who falls off the monkey bars, runs to his mom for a hug, and then gets up and dusts himself off, and runs back to play on the monkey bars again. The feelings of hurt (physical or emotional), fear, or frustration get to run their course, and then they "complete," and life goes on.

Then think of the same child who falls off the monkey bars, runs to his mom for a hug, and she immediately tries to shush him, tells him that big boys don’t cry, or tells him to “stand up and take it like a man.” He may keep crying or stop crying, but chances are good that he feels shame for having the feelings in the first place, and has just had his first (or 21st) lesson in how to hold in feelings. And beyond that, he may hesitate in the future to try new things or to ask for help when he needs it. The original feelings never got to complete, so he carries them around with him in one form or another.

Multiply that by 100 or 1000 small incidents over the childhood years (or a couple of major ones), and now you have a young adult with stuffed feelings, a chip on his shoulder, maybe a chronic headache, and a lack of clarity about who he is and what he wants in life. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s often exactly what happens. We walk around with a heart, body, and head full of uncompleted feelings and wonder why we can’t make sense of our lives.

The good news is that we can identify unfinished feelings, whether they’re from old losses, old hurts, or old beliefs we’re carrying around that no longer serve us. We may do EFT to release these, or more traditional grief work, or a combination of things, but we can definitely release old unfinished feelings and free up our clarity, energy, and our natural internal knowledge about who we are and what we want in life. Again, the relief can be profound.

How Can Coaching Help Me With This?

We can talk a little first to see whether coaching or counseling would be the best fit for you. If coaching is what you’re seeking, I can help you identify emotions that are out of balance, find underlying shame, grief, or other unfinished feelings, and support you as you walk through the process of releasing them, and returning to your natural clarity, balance, and joy.

With EFT and other tools, the journey will probably be smoother and less time consuming than you might think, and compared to traditional talk therapy or years of medication, your path will most likely be far more enjoyable and empowering!

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