Can you choose your emotions just like clothes?

Pick your emotion

Complete this sentence.  I feel __________.  Happy?  Sad?  Depressed even.  What if you could change your emotions like how you can change your clothes?  What would you pick out to “wear”?

Well I have a secret.

Whatever your focus on, you feel.  I know.  It’s shocking.  When I go into Angry Hulk mode, every single thing seems to make me mad.  Likewise, when I go into “my life sucks” mode in my head, everything seems to go wrong.  The truth is, I just attract more of that feeling that I don’t want by looking at things this way.

As I would sit in traffic, I would purposely put my favorite music on so that I could focus on that instead of the feeling of anxiety by “being late” or by “being stuck”.  I wasn’t late.  I was arriving when I was destined to and I wasn’t stuck…I just simply was there for a moment.

As I thought about the things that were wrong in my life, they seem to multiply like that old saying “things come in threes.”  I can change my emotions just like my clothes and I have learned to stop a spiral as soon as it starts.

So how can you choose your emotions?

  1. Take control of your head.  Mentally, slap yourself.  Say Snap outta it or whatever you need to do, but remind yourself that it is time to shift your focus.  Does dwelling on the bad make it better?  No.  Could it possibly make it worse?  Yes because you could have a heart attack from the stress, or you could experience heart palpitations from working yourself up over the “thing” in your head.  Trick to try: Visualize a gear shift in you head.  It is now shifting from ____ to happy.  From whatever that emotion is to the opposite.  Lots of time in my group work or my Club, I will tell them to use a thesaurus and work from the feeling they want to get to.  So let’s say it’s peaceful.  We will now shift to that feeling mentally as we visualize a hammock or a garden scene or whatever takes us there.  As we do that, our brain actually sends out the “shifting” signal so that we really are taking back control.  You can do this my friends.
  2. A body in motion.  So you can’t really start running around wherever you are, but how are you being?  I teach a mindful yoga class and let me tell you, the first one, people are all kinds of ways not paying attention to the body language they are sending me.  Phones out, arms crossed, angry-looking eyeballs and frowns.  It almost knocks me over at the first yoga class, but I then start to work my magic.  By the end people are so used to watching how they are being that I can tell.  Try this:   Bring your shoulders up to a shrug then gently rotate them away from your ears.  Let the shoulder blades glide down your back and now bring your hands to heart center with the palms touching.  We call this prayer hands, Anjali Mudra or even Namaste hands, but it is a gesture of peace.  Breathe in and out for a round of three and see how you feel now.  Better?  I thought so.
  3. What are you saying to yourself?  Are you stuck in some old cycle of rubbish?  Do you think things should have turned out differently so you are in constant drag mode?  << Drag or lift baby.  Trust me.  Your feed is full of people who are dragging your energy down daily.  Don’t carry that with you.  Wake up.  Decide to feel awesome.  Proceed to do just that.  Each and every day in my Club, we are constantly re-aligning ourselves.  If the mood starts to shift to drag, I encourage my mindful students to think about ways to cut that drag force out of their lives.  How can we do this?  Try this tip: Leave $5 forward at the register for the next person.  Hold the door when you see someone coming.  Make eye contact with the homeless even if your friend says “You don’t know if they are really homeless.  I see them here allll the time.”  << note friend is a drag force.  get to a room of people working on the same goals as you and if you can’t be there in person, try a virtual club.  But make sure there are more lift forces in your life!! 

Would I like to see you in my Club?  Absolutely.  But only if you really want to work on the things we just talked about and you feel you could really benefit from learning more mindful practices.  Just hit the “I need support.” button over here.  <<< as I linked those words to my platform.  I don’t hold you hostage and you are free to leave at any time.  I am just adding some tools to that toolbox of yours for a day when you really need it.

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How Creating Self-Compassion Opens the Door to Healing

Self-compassion

Whew.  Some weeks are harder than others.  After coming off of my recent MCL knee injury, I was made to rest for approximately 6 weeks.  I had to learn things all over again that I worked really hard to teach myself when my body was so wracked with pain I could barely move.

How did I create self-compassion for myself and how did it allow me to actually heal in a more complete way?

I was working not to trigger those thoughts of pain, and in those first days, it was a struggle to practice everything I teach my group to do…which ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I learned now that I have those skills in mindfulness, which I previously did NOT have in my tool box, that I can get through the pain much easier. 

In our society, we are taught that bashing ourselves is not only okay, but it gets people’s attention.  Unfortunately, research has proven that this leads to consequences in the thought processes that actually perpetuate anxiety, depression, and of course lowered self-esteem.

Wait.  Where’s the good news?   Psychologist and author Kristin Neff, has said that cultivating self-compassion really centers around three things: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.  I had actually been practicing all three in my journal therapy and wasn’t even aware that it had been “studied” and researched.  I just knew intuitively that I had a knack for getting to the root of the problem thus helping others to heal as well.

Strategies for Creating More Self-Compassion

If you are working through emotional triggers and trauma, this part is a must do in your self-care routine.  I will kick your butt if you try that lame excuse of not having enough time.  Wake up at least 5 minutes earlier, put your sticky note on the calendar to journal and/or try one new thing a day for 30 days, etc.  Most people who tell others that they don’t have enough time are really saying Hey, I hear ya.  Taking care of myself right now isn’t a priority. 

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~H. Jackson Brown

Just saying.  ^^^

Now that some of you are pissed at me for telling the truth, let’s move on to the strategies.  By the way, if you don’t know who is writing this, read this link later. <<< You might be less inclined to be mad at me.  I have been there.

  1. Acceptance is key.  Thus the truth-telling.  I used every excuse in the book, blamed whatever I could, but the truth was, I needed to learn to love myself pain and all.  I needed to accept that I might not ever be well, and that my friends, was a bitch.   That was the other part of me that I denied.
  2. Dig deep.  Somewhere, deep inside of me, was the part that was hardest to make peace with.  It was the me before all this happened.  You know what, she didn’t ask for this.  Okay.  Got that.  But how would she feel knowing that I was staying stuck in my pain?  She’d be pretty pissed at me.  It is time to make peace with the old me, and become who I was supposed to be.
  3. Watch how the language changes.  I remember my dad.  Sigh.  He is still alive, don’t worry, but it was the way he dealt with this situation (bless his heart).  As someone who is highly sensitive to others emotions, I could feel his sadness.  He felt so sorry for me.  NOT helpful.  It was not his fault you see, but still not helpful.  As part of the parents who both gave me the hereditary condition, they both, in some small way, felt responsible.  Okay, so it is important to recognize who is around you when you speak to yourself as well.  You might be so programmed by your parents or others that you continue this woe is me…I am not worthy…I am so __________.  Insert your negative perception of yourself.
  4. Get out of your head!!  I am now great at this, but I was NOT for many years.  As a matter of fact, I have been practicing this now for 3 years and it has really changed my world.  In yoga, I mention this frequently as I teach my class this one thing.  Drop back into your body.  That sounds easy to do, but let’s try it right now.  Touch your scalp.  Feel your hair follicles come alive as you give yourself a scalp massage.  Touch the top of your ears, all the way down to your ear lobes.  Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say “I am worthy.” With each breath feel the worthiness come into your being.  Now open your eyes.  You have just soothed your parasympathetic nervous system.  Ta-dahhhh (you basically help the fight or flight response calm down).

Whew.  I don’t know about you, but I feel better just exploring how these tips really helped me change my life.  In creating my journal therapy content each month, there is so much more that goes into it.  I created a group where people like me could heal in a supportive environment and work through this “stuff” that truly gets in the way of our healing.  Never before had I ever, in 18 years, found a group that was working on healing the Head|Heart|Health of the matter.  Quite simply, I created what brought me back to life.

I hope this has helped you today and if you want to be included on my newsletter, the sign up is on the side of the blog.  Feel free to use the social sharing buttons if this article resonated with you!

She believed

 

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7 Questions to Ask When Dealing with a Trigger

UpsetA guest post by Heather Durling

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with some very deeply buried triggers that exist in my conscious and subconscious mind. I’ve done a lot of work in healing from my abusive childhood, so I thought I was doing pretty well. Out of nowhere, which is usually how these things go, I was shown that I still had some clearing up and cleaning out to do.

Now, my first initial reaction to these nasty triggers was to be angry, feeling as if I hadn’t come as far as I had hoped in my healing and recovery. The secondary reaction was to feel hopeless in the sense that I would never be able to completely heal. The final reaction was to look at myself and say, “I’m done allowing this to have power over me. I want to move on from this.”

This is where your power lies, these “I” statements that affirm and confirm that you are ready, willing, and able to do the work of opening up the proverbial can of worms and start sorting them out.

The way I handled my triggers was to seek help from two coaches that I have been blessed to personally know. I was willing to be asked the right questions and ready to dig deep to find the answers. You may have heard this one before – “You know the answers, and you always have. You have to be willing to see them.” When I allowed myself to go there, to really look, feel and see what was causing the physical and emotional reactions, I was able to start cleaning off some very old corrosion on my connection to myself, my heart, and my spirit.

In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, “Excuses Be Gone,” he tells us to ask ourselves the following: “First of all, is it true? Can you be 100% sure that what you’re saying is true? Don’t believe everything you think. Almost everything that you think doesn’t hold up to a simple-truth test.”

How do you know what to ask yourself, or where to look within, when seeking if how you are feeling is true?

Where a lot of people seem to struggle, is exactly where I got stuck. When these powerful triggers struck me, one being very physical where I lost my ability to speak and literally froze for a few moments, and the other an emotional reaction to being made to feel less than – it was very difficult to know what to do with them. Most of the time, we ride them out, waiting for them to subside. However, if you can learn how to ask yourself the right questions when a trigger is in full force, you can start to heal from it.

When a trigger hits you, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is it that person is triggering within you?
  2. What are you feeling? (i.e. anger, sadness, etc.)
  3. Where are you feeling it? Be still for a moment and sense if it’s in your head, heart, gut, etc.
  4. Can you tap into why it makes you feel that way?
  5. Who was it in your past that made you feel this way?
  6. Have you forgiven yourself for allowing it, and have you forgiven them for doing it?
  7. Ask yourself – how they made you feel, is it true?

That final question, “Is it true?” will almost always prove to be false when it’s a trigger. They are often caused by someone else’s belief that was downloaded into you, or by a trapped emotional reaction that hasn’t been released, such as feeling powerless, terrified, hurt, and betrayed.

Once you have done the work of cleaning out all of the “stuff” that is causing the trigger to engage, you have gained power over it. Then it’s time to redo your “I” statement. For an example, with the strong physical trigger, I was hit with, the original “I” statement that was happening was: “I am in danger, I am afraid.” After going through the steps, asking the questions, and finding the answers, I was able to change that statement to: “I am in control. I am safe.” Saying that still brings an emotional reaction of tears to my eyes, but it’s because I’m still in the process of accepting those words. However, I will keep repeating that statement until it becomes as strong as the lie it has replaced.

It takes practice, just as it took practice for you to learn how to walk. You fell, A LOT. However, your powerful desire to walk fiercely outweighed the temporary moments of falling. This will take time; it is a process, so please remember to be kind to yourself while going through it, knowing that you will eventually learn how to walk away, leaving the past behind you once and for all.

About Heather Durling:  Founder of The Phoenix Gathering, Practitioner, and Personal Coach for adult survivors of child abuse. She is a fellow survivor who strives to learn new ways to thrive, while sharing her knowledge with those on their own healing journey. She is also a co-facilitator for a local support group, speaker, writer, and a closet herb mad scientist.  She is a guest in the Head|Heart|Health Club as we learn to shift our thoughts.  <<< click on the link for more.

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When Guilt is a Weapon. How do you respond?

Guilt as a weapon

Advice was needed.  I read the message and knew immediately someone was being manipulated…yet again.  Manipulation is when someone uses tactics, such as guilt, to try to make you do something you might not normally want to do…or even consider doing.

When guilt is used as a weapon, many things can occur. 

Guilt can actually cause physical pain, mental pain, and is a powerful emotion that sometimes overrides reason.  The body was light just moments before reading a guilt-inducing message, and now the body begins to feel heavy.  The heaviness can be associated with feelings of resentment.  If you have truly done something wrong, guilt is a natural emotion; however, manipulative people use it as a weapon, and that is not acceptable.

In my closed group, we are exploring the boundaries we need to put in place when someone purposely tries to make us feel this way.  This can be saying yes when we really mean no, taking on more work when we already have a full plate, or even having other friends trying to make you feel like it is your fault that they aren’t getting something done because you said no.  Did you just nod your head or get shivers up your spine?

There are several characteristics of someone who uses guilt as a weapon. 

  • It isn’t always obvious at first, that they are trying to make you feel bad.
  • They might also use emotional manipulation tactics.
  • They might be your partner, and use wording like “If you cared about me, you would…”
  • They get angry when you enforce boundaries…because they know you are onto them.
  • Guilt doesn’t forgive as easily as someone who builds relationships out of trust.
  • They pretend to be the martyr…doing you a favor.
  • And the empaths favorite manipulator, the narcissistic friend.

So how do you deal with the weaponized guilt?

  1. The first thing you have to do is to decide you are done.  Quite simply, done.  This is your life, not theirs.  Any other answer lets them push the boundaries time and time again.
  2. The truth is, you have something they want to use.  So use it to your advantage, not theirs and make a plan.  They are trying to make you feel insecure for what reason??  Write it down and think about their motives.
  3. Can you stand up for yourself with the truth?  Here is your test.  Disentangle yourself from this situation without using the word “sorry”.  You have nothing to be sorry for, and your time is valuable as well.  Write down your truth in one sentence that makes you feel empowered.  You have always had the power, remember that.
  4. Put on your cape…and go.  You have been used, yes.  But put your cape on and do not feel guilty.  They are trying to use your insecurity against you, but look back over what you have that they want.  Your cape is your truth.  You are worthy of great friends, good relationships, and a positive work ethic.  Not one that makes you constantly feel used and underappreciated (can insert not feeling like shit in your journal).  What is the opposite of that feeling?  Use the words to surround yourself in this cape of truth and protection.

While this message is for a friend of mine, it also goes for all of you reading this.  Don’t let someone shift this guilt to you and tell you how they think you are feeling at this moment.  Again, that is their interpretation of the situation.  Move far, far away from the mind games, and the use of them saying things “people have been telling me…” what people?  No one.  They made that up.

Do not let them use self-pity and if it face to face, as it never is, back it up with body language as well; however, if it is a message, do not prolong the chat.  Short and concise truth statements is all they need.  Not a back and forth.  The longer you draw it out, the more they will twist and try to give you reasons to crumble.  Stand in your truth today.

Want to work more fully on releasing guilt and setting boundaries?  Join us today!

 

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Low Vibration Energy and How to Raise It!

As a Scorpio empath, I don’t mean to peek into your energy when you come into my life; however, I have never been able to turn it off.  It’s like hearing, eyesight, sense of smell, touch, taste is for most people.  They don’t even think about it.  It’s just always been there.  The difference is, your five senses probably don’t piss people off.  Well, maybe if you tell people they smell bad, but you get the picture.

As people come to me for healing work, I dig way deep down into the feelings, the vibrations and the energies they are throwing out there, and I try to help them make sense of what it is they are projecting out there in the real world.

Because the truth is, most people might not even realize that they are really throwing out some low vibrational signs.

As I began to work with my small group of women friends to teach them why it was difficult for me to be around them during certain times, I started noticing the energy really rise.  Consciously, my friends were soaking up what I had to say and they were doing the work.  If there were weeks when they didn’t put as much effort into controlling their thoughts, that might have been a week when I could tell just through messages that it wasn’t a good time for me to visit.

I did my journal therapy with them for a whole year before I launched my Head|Heart|Health Club because I saw drastic changes.  They were making huge shifts in their lives and I wasn’t sure if they could even see that HOW they were now being was different, but I could.  I was very pleased when my friend sent me a photo of her journal completely taking responsibility for falling out of her good habits.  It was really a good entry complete with flames and then a WTF?? <<< drawn off to the side.  She knew she had slipped.

But what does this have to do with changing our energy?  Oh everything darling.  Everything. 

It has long been proven by Sheldon, well Quantum Physics, that everything has energy.  Okay, so that’s easy to grasp.  Your electromagnetic vibrations can be raised or lowered by your thoughts, beliefs, everything really that you do on a day-to-day basis.  Following me so far?  Okay.  I don’t have the white board, but I think we’re doing good.

So I have been running a test on my page for a while now to see what words people are throwing out there.  The bottom line is this, when you are in a low vibrational state, you answer with really low vibrations.  You wear low vibrational colors.  You don’t feel you can change your life.  You aren’t happy about most things, etc.  You get it.  It becomes a snowball into all other areas of your thoughts…and thus your life.

If someone else is using low vibrational words, that is their energy and we have a choice.  We can choose to interact, thus lowering our energy, or we can choose to pull our energy away from them.  This is not a crime or something to be ashamed of, we simply want to keep ourselves balanced.  It is especially important to remember this right now.

Now what happens when we come in contact with others who are vibrating at a high frequency?  Can that help us?  YES.  YES.  Those are our people.  Find them and hang on.  Remember that old adage about the 5 people you spend the most time around.  It is true.  It is based on all of this sciencey Sheldon stuff.  So why do you think that I work very hard at protecting my energy?  Because I want to be one of those 5 people for everyone in my club.

It is time to shift your limiting beliefs.

What you focus on is what you attract more of.  It is plain and simple.  If you answer someone’s question about “Are you having a good day?” and you go into a tale of why you are not, you are repeating that energy path…maybe even setting it up for the next day.

Tips to Shift your Low Vibrational Thoughts:

  1. Don’t think “Woe is me.”  Turn it into “Wow!  It’s me!”  Yes, I just made that up, but really think about it.  Most people in my yoga classes now know that I am teaching with a knee brace for a few weeks.  Each day I wake up and choose to shift my thoughts away from the accident that caused the pain (Sledding with my child.  Yup.), and I choose to focus on the fact that it wasn’t worse.
  2. Be a Proactive force in your life…not Reactive!  Again, more things I have talked about in my group, but you really can be the shift.  See what I did there?  Be the change…be the shift.
  3. Self-reflection is your key to success.  This is where my healing gift really works best with my friends.  Perhaps I sense the answer in their energy or their feelings, but it is not me who needs to make the shift.  I lead them through a series of questions designed to help them make this shift thus making it even more powerful than it could have been if I had just said, “Do this.”  You have to put in the work (energy) to change the low energy you have around you.
  4. You are able to de-clutter your life and your space with ease.  You don’t cling to things in the past or material possessions that do not serve you or your home anymore.  This also lightens and frees you up to attract more good.
  5. You are willing to let go of past mistakes and turn it into a lesson…not a life sentence.  This one will repeat itself my friends as it’s a doozy.  It takes a very strong person to let go and forgive.

In the end, a low vibration energy is linked to stress, health issues, anxiety, and more.  A positive vibration is linked to a clear head, a passion for knowing what you want in your heart, and overall wellness of health.

We would love to have you in the Head|Heart|Health Club this month if you are ready to shift.  The only way to know is if you are really ready to do the work, you are tired of being stuck in your old patterns, and you think that you can work really hard to let go of your past stories.

Thank you again for being here.  And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to pin it! Want more than this?  Check out the Empath’s Journaling Guide.

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20 Minutes of Anger or tips for not Hulking out

Recently I was at a talk where someone said emotions take 60 seconds to pass through the brain…while that might be true of some emotions, it is not true of all.  Take ANGER for example.  Oh yeah, that bad boy throws a fit.

How does anger respond in the brain?

The bad news…when we become angry, like really, really angry, think HULK angry, our cerebral cortex, or thinking part of the brain, is bypassed. The limbic system, or emotional center, is considered more primitive.  Okay, so to grasp this, Hulk center equals primitive thoughts, rational thoughts equals Dr. Banner.  Yes, I am a geek, but this works.  Back to the brain.

The data that we get from the outside world passes through our amygdala, where it decides whether to pass it on to Dr. Banner or the Hulk.  So basically, during the fight or flight event, the amygdala goes into action without thinking of the consequences as it doesn’t have to. This reactive incident has come to be known as an amygdala hijacking…or in geek terms, Hulking out.

What happens next?

During the Hulking out, or amygdala hijacking, the hormones flow freely.  A surge of energy follows preparing us for flight or flight…and of course, during a Hulk moment, what do you think you are going to choose?  Wellll, you don’t actually choose right then.  Unless you have your anger under serious control, during those moments, what the person says or does is not controlled by Dr. Banner…it is controlled by Hulk who smashes first, thinks later.  Unfortunately, the impact of these hormones that leads to anger can last several moments…or several days.  Yup DAYS.

According to research, on average, it can actually take 20 minutes for a person who has experienced an angry state of HULK to calm and move from functioning from the emotional area to the thinking area of the brain, thus turning back to Dr. Banner.

Hulk smash?  No.  Stay calm.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s, yes, you guessed it, I watched The Incredible Hulk.  Bill Bixby and the awesome Lou Ferrigno, who as a young girl, was scary to watch on T.V.  Ha.  My dad was frequently thought of in our house as the Hulk at times too.  He never ever remembered what he said when angry.  Yes, I still love my dad, but it needs to be referenced that I did grow up with someone frequently Hulking out around me.  My brother and I both can get angry fairly fast as well.  So how do you learn to stop the immediate rush of hormones?

Tips to tame the Hulk:

  1. Stop and breathe.  Just 3 short breaths and remember you are currently NOT in control of your thoughts…which means your mouth.
  2. Use a code word for your family which seriously tells them not to push your buttons right now.  I need a moment works as well.  Or “Go outside right now.  NOW”.  I need some air.  That might work for your kids.  If it is a spouse, move away from them and tell them that they need to leave you alone to process your anger for a while, and you can revisit this later.
  3. Get some exercise or yoga.  It is well-known that exercise increases serotonin and endorphins.  Why is this important?  Endorphins and serotonin are important chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are manufactured in your brain and affect your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. remember that burst of energy you are going to get up there ^^^ as the Hulk?  Use it here instead.
  4. Stick with “I feel…” statements during this time and let people know how something made you feel…not blaming, but stick strictly to feelings.
  5. Use humor to diffuse the situation if you can…quick tell me a joke.  This doesn’t always work, but it helps my teens.  They smile and then we try very hard to move past whatever it is.  If we give the anger somewhere to go, it has less control over our brain and we return to thinking faster.

A few other tips can be found in my grounding article, as that works well with people who are processing many emotions that might not even be theirs.  Check out Learning to control your highly sensitive emotions as well.  Sometimes we realize that we are reacting to emotions or even channeling other emotions around us thus bringing us to whatever level the other person is functioning at.  Take the time to remember you are not always in control, and use the tips here to get your Hulk state calmed down.

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When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

Guest post by Steve Waller

When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

They occupy opposite ends of the love spectrum, but empaths and narcissists often find themselves coupled up in unlikely relationships. But why? What is it that attracts one to the other?

This article will focus mainly on why empaths find themselves pulled towards narcissists, how they get trapped, and what they have to do to escape.

What The Empath Sees

Gifted with the ability to sense the underlying emotions and feelings of others, an empath is uniquely placed to see into the depths of a narcissist’s being to the wounded, unhappy soul that resides there.

Upon discovering this pained creature, the instinctual response of the empath is to try to help, heal, and love them.

Before they know it, they become entangled with this narcissist and the toxic relationship begins.

How They Get Sucked In

Narcissists can, when required, display copious amounts of charm and charisma. You might think that empaths would be less susceptible to this artificial persona, but it is precisely because they are beings of love that they wish to see the best in everyone.

They can sense the pain that is hidden behind the smile and the wit, while, at the same time, believing that this act is some sort of suppressed character trying to assert control. They think that they can help free it through their care and affection.

They envisage a time in the future when this narcissistic individual can become a changed person, cured of all their bad traits and free from pain. Once they believe in this possibility, they feel compelled to try to make it a reality.

What Stops Them Leaving

It won’t be too long before an empath begins to regret their decision to get involved with the narcissist. The person they initially fall for will quickly disappear, revealing the true nature of the beast.

The empath will shower love and kindness on the narcissist – to the point where it turns into adoration – in an attempt to purge the pain from them and soothe their damaged spirit.

But to the narcissist, this sort of attention is like a drug; they simply can’t get enough of it. And unfortunately for the empath, it only serves to reinforce the egoistic self-adulation.

Then comes the game playing and manipulation. To maintain their air of superiority, a narcissist will seek to control every situation involving their empath partner. They will use destructive and demeaning language to tear them apart, piece by piece, until they can exert their utter dominance.

In spite of all their good intentions, the empath will find themselves in a trap; one of loving a person who is incapable of caring for them, let alone showing love back.

But they aren’t yet aware of this trap; they continue to seek the narcissist’s affection in a vain attempt to mend the broken heart they see before them. They struggle to understand what is happening to them because, from their position, the behavior of their partner is utterly incomprehensible.

What happens next is quite possibly the most damaging aspect of the whole process: the empath looks at all of the pain and trauma now filling their life and pins the blame squarely on themselves.

Rather than accept that the narcissist is the cause of all their misery like they should, they insist that it is they who have failed. They wrongly believe that all the conflict and resentment in the relationship is their fault; that they somehow didn’t try hard enough to rid their lover of the pain they endure.

From this self-blame grows an unwillingness to do what is required; to break up with their narcissist partner. They proceed to lock themselves in their own prison by forfeiting their right to be happy. They insist that to do so would only heap more misery on the already tormented soul they have such affection for.

How They Finally Break Free

There is only one method of escape for the empath and that is to fully open their eyes to the situation they are in. In order to make a break for freedom, they must first understand that the original lure of the narcissist was misguided.

They must realize that it is nobody’s duty to fix another; that they have no responsibility to stay with their partner any longer. They must accept that whether the narcissist will ever change is not something they have any say in; they can only captain their own ship and it’s time to choose a different course.

This will not, by any means, be the last they hear from the narcissist. In an all-out bid to regain what they see as a possession, they will declare their undying love for the empath, swear they have changed, and make many promises that they know they cannot keep.

They will turn the charm back on and, for a while, the empath may see some of what they initially found so appealing. But if the empath can hold their nerve during this period, the narcissist will eventually unleash a barrage of malicious words and actions in a desperate attempt to pull their victim back in. This can be extremely difficult to endure and it can seem like the whole world is crashing down around you, but you must hold firm.

Leaving a narcissist isn’t the end of the story for the empath; it will take a long time for them to put the pieces of their life back together and even longer to regain their faith in the goodness of other people. But they will have broken the bond that so often draws empaths and narcissists together.

Are you an empath who has been through such a trial? Leave a comment below and share you thoughts and experiences.

Just for fun, take this quick quiz.

Steve WallerSteve Waller is the founder of A Conscious Rethink – a growing voice in the world of mind, body and spirit. He has benefitted greatly from self-help books and other aspects of the personal development movement, and now wants to share some of his knowledge and wisdom with those who need it. His Facebook page reaches millions of people each week with its mix of inspirational quotes, motivational videos, and helpful articles.

5 Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships Today!

I took a quick poll last week about the topics that my readers wanted to hear more about and this was one of the top three!  So to clarify for everyone out there, relationships don’t have to be romantic; however, I have been married for 18 years and this year marks year 20 with my college sweetheart.  My best-friend from elementary school and I have been friends for almost as old as I am…which is to say a long time.  Additionally, I have the greatest group of girlfriends who meet on a regular basis and are not afraid to let vulnerability be discussed.  Has it always been this way?  Heck no!!  All of the above relationships have been through some twists and turns, but I did pick up a few tips along the way.

5 Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships Today:

  1. Open lines of communication are the number one tip that I have for you today, and that includes the “trust factor”.  If you don’t trust your partner, your friends, or your family, how are you going to be open?  You aren’t.  You will always hold part of yourself back and that could even border on holding back the truth which will further work to damage the trust.  I had a friend for a number of years who I genuinely cared about; however, that being said, each and every time we talked she would hide things or craft some sort of story that never seemed to be quite the truth.  Time after time things were missing in our conversations.  I ignored these signs, until one day I simply could not.  The trust factor has to be there or the relationship will not be able to move forward.
  2. You have to be able to accept criticism that is honest and meant to help you grow.  That being said, if this criticism comes from a harsh argument, it will not be effective at all.  Moreover, you should develop active or reflective listening.  In active listening, we are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, or what the message means, and we are able to process this as a type of feedback.  This is hard.  It is.  But I have seen it done with my group of girlfriends.  One of them recently went through a divorce and has developed this skill through that process.  She brings questions to the table about things and genuinely wants to know what we all think or how we feel.  It has strengthened our friendship whereas before, she did not want to listen to advice before as it was painful to her.  She is really trying hard to separate fact from feeling as she actively listens to our advice about whatever she is asking.  It also helps that we are not giving her unsolicited advice.  We are all there to lift her up.
  3. Develop and hone in on your compassion and empathy.  Remember how I dislike the word judge?  Icky.  It makes us feel like we are on trial; however, there is a thing called discernment and that is different.  We become aware of the emotional response and might know what triggers our friends, partners and family members.  We then try to come at it from a place of compassion.  We are more open and connected to what is going on this way and can tap into our inner intuition about what is really at the root of a problem.  This saves us.  It reminds us to speak from love.
  4. Remember to have boundaries.  It is important to remember how to separate your feelings from that of your friends and partners.  Likewise, it is important to know you can’t heal them emotionally.  That is their job and not yours.  One of my favorite memes recently has the little guy holding the jar of happiness and his friend comes over and says “Where did you get that?”  And little guy says “I made it myself.” BOOM!  Microphone drops.  Have boundaries on your emotions before they get drained.
  5. Make time for the relationship…that isn’t on technology.  The phones.  The phones.  They are everywhere.  When trying to communicate they are a distraction.  Make time by shutting off the technology and creating a sacred space for you to unwind and be real.  This can be weekly, or monthly depending on your schedule, but try to get outside as well and enjoy some much-needed fresh air with your friend or loved one.  It’s not only a lifesaver…but a relationship saver as well.

FriendshipWant to know more about how to journal yourself to a better you?  Read more under 4 Weeks to Wellness.

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Learning to Control Your Highly Sensitive Emotions

Have you been called highly sensitive?  Empathic? Or viewed as someone who is mistrustful?  The truth is, as time goes on, my senses have started to go into overdrive on certain days, and I have had to teach myself how to handle this.  Luckily for me, I have a friend who REALLY really gets this.

Firstly, we need to accept this as a gift.  Just like any other gift we didn’t ask for, we have it.  Let’s start with an open mind about it.  Yes, I have my top post where I let us all vent.  I did.  It was necessary for us to get out our feelings.  I felt called to write that post, and you guys showed up and told me that you needed to hear this!!  I am honored by your truth…but you already know that.  He hee.

Next, we need to take stock of what is going on around us at the time of the emotional shift.  What just happened?  Were we talking to someone on the phone, messaging, or communicating with someone?  Were we alone?  Were we perhaps say browsing the interwebs?  Any of the webs.  They are in fact a web of mostly lies, or one snap photos, or fake stories, etc.  But we take note of that even if it doesn’t register right then.  We see someone’s happiness, promotion, good news, sad news, rant, breakup, divorce, or vague status and we think about it.  So observe when this happens.  Just observe for right now.

The third thing that we need to really be aware of is letting our thoughts take control of our physical body.  Do you feel sick to your stomach? Get a headache?  Physically have to run to the bathroom?  Does certain news, moods, people, behaviors make you ill?  What could you do to stop this process?  Hopefully I can help you with advice on this.

Learning to Control Your Highly Sensitive Emotions:

  1. Limit your time on social media IF possible.  This one is really hard.  I know because it’s sort of my job.  So if you can’t limit your time, learn to un-follow people/things, take breaks, get up and walk away from it.
  2. We have to stop the suffering of our body.  We do have deep feelings, so we are prone to great highs and great lows.  We might even worry about others because we know something they don’t.  The worry is the suffering.  We need to become aware of it, and replace it with love and light towards this thing.  Whatever it is.  See if you can flip it around and think, what is this trying to teach me?  And what do I need to learn from it?
  3. Exercise, meditate or do yoga.  Yes, my preference is yoga since I am a yoga teacher; however, you might enjoy running or even a walking meditation where you just clear your head and walk.  You can chant a mantra if needed or simply the word “release”.  If you pray, this can be your time to reflect on what you think God is showing you.  The choice is yours, but start a habit of getting away from the negative thoughts or feelings.
  4. Take this quote with you and digest it “The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” ~Rumi  Do you know what to ignore?  What things are simply not yours to take on and what are these feelings trying to show you?  Trust me when I say, I know it’s a hard place to be in.
  5. Forgive yourself and it becomes easier to forgive others.  Release the control, the anger, the anxiety, the frustration, the envy, and anything you know will not serve you.
  6. Let go of everything you think you didn’t do right.  Let it go.  Live in the now as you move forward.

perfection>>> S.O.S. still need help?  Check out these tools for you.  <<<

3 Ways to Boost Your Self-esteem

Self-care

 

Hey friends…I have just spent the day working on a workbook that is available to all my clients and it deals with exploring your self-esteem.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth…so as my husband was looking over my shoulder, he asked me about the word “worthiness” and said don’t you mean “worthlessness”?  Ack!  No.  I certainly did not.  I meant worthiness.  I was developing a way to reflect on our feelings and where they might stem from.  Nearly everyone experiences fluctuations in their self-esteem and the way they feel about themselves or how they look, but sometimes it can be hard to see the world and your place in it through a positive reflection instead of these negative thoughts that take up too much space in your head.  So tonight, I wanted to share with you three ways you can boost your self-esteem.

3 Ways to boost your self-esteem

  1. The JOY list.  Make a list of all the places, people and things that give you joy.  If you have a favorite outfit that gives you a boost write that down.  If there is an activity that lights you up like painting, drawing or yoga, write that as well.  On days you are having a hard time, refer to your JOY list.  That’s right.  If you think a day is going to be particularly stressful, oh I don’t know like a review at work day, wear your favorite outfit.  Just feeling better will raise your vibration as you go into the meeting.  This truly helps others around you take notice of the energy you are putting out there.
  2. Replace negative with positive.  I know you think this is easier said than done because I hear that excuse all the time, but the truth is, it is easy.  Pay attention to your self talk and think about how you would want your children to talk to themselves.  Negative begets negative.  Take those unfounded negative thoughts and start to make a note on how what you are thinking is untrue.  Maybe a friend said that they needed to lose weight that day at lunch and it got you thinking about that.  They keep talking about it all the time, and you just start to feel the same way.  Recognize that that’s their shit.  <<< yes, I said shit, but it’s true.  It’s theirs and they need to own that.  Start re-framing your thoughts and perhaps help your friend to do the same if you would like.  It’s not your burden…it’s theirs.  And the truth is, if someone else repeatedly expects you to carry their burden, it can be a negative feeling.
  3. Self-care routines need to be in place.  This is essential.  I was working with a client and I asked her about the last time she took a bath.  I know that sounds like a routine question, but it isn’t.  She said “A bath??  The kids take baths.  I don’t have time.”  <<< BINGO.  You do have time.  Let me come over and pull a Moonstruck on you…okay, I won’t (for those too young to get the reference, she slaps her boyfriend and says snap out of it.).  I changed my entire way of thinking about self-care in the last two years and I want you to understand how critical it is.  Self-care practices are all those activities that we engage in to improve our overall sense of wellbeing. Self-care strategies work toward improving the many aspects that make up who we are, including our physical, relational, mental, spiritual, and emotional health…now imagine you don’t have these in place.  Exercise, sleep, hot baths and journaling are just a few of the things I talk about with clients.  I could write a book on this alone…but that’s for later.  For tonight, just remember, you are responsible for the energy you bring to the table my friends.  Take care of you.

energyCome join us in creating our own energy.  Head|Heart|Health Club.

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