Love Letter #78: If I Only Knew Then

This morning, during my usual start-of-the-week conversation with a fantastic group of women, we delved into the neuroscience of “pride”. We explored how it impacts the brain and discussed the tendency to feel shame when we experience pride in ourselves. We also shared strategies for grounding ourselves during intense emotional moments.

Surprisingly, pride and shame activate the same brain areas, despite feeling distinctly different in the body. Who knew? 

I believe this difference is due to the differing thought processes that trigger each of these emotions that lead to differing physical responses. The thoughts we think when we’re proud are very different from those that make us feel ashamed. Our thoughts create our feelings.

Both emotions, pride and shame, however can cloud our judgment, making it challenging to think clearly and make big life decisions. 

Our conversations turned towards cultivating awareness – learning to be aware of our emotional reactions and allowing them to move through us without getting emotionally hijacked. It’s important to know that emotions are simply energy in motion. They are here to inform us and provide valuable insight to navigating life’s experiences. 

One of the most transformative lessons I’ve learned from coaching, one I wish I had understood years ago,  is the power of  becoming a compassionate observer of your own emotions. This practice fosters self-understanding, self-compassion, and self-approval. It is very much at the core of The Art of Self-Approval.

To embody this compassionate role:

  • Envision yourself as your best friend, fostering self-compassion and awareness of your body’s responses.
  • With curiosity (let go of judgment), observe your reactions to various emotions, such as anger, joy, frustration, and calmness. 
  • By understanding how our bodies react to external stimuli and internal thoughts, we enhance our self-awareness, empowering us to make informed decisions.

For instance, when I recently felt irritated about something, I noticed my body tensing up and my heart rate increasing. In my body, these cues signal frustration and often impatience. Your body may respond very differently. 

Acknowledging these feelings allowed me to pause, breathe, and respond with calm compassion for myself and the situation instead of reacting impulsively. It is a reminder that what triggers us in others often reflects an aspect or unmet need within ourselves. 

Today, I invite you to begin being more compassionate with yourself by letting go of the good/bad, positive/negative meaning that is applied to emotions, and begin to think of them as information. To see them as messengers that provide valuable insight into your inner world. 

Some emotions will feel open and energized, and others can make us feel closed and restricted. By acknowledging and understanding these emotional cues, we can learn more about ourselves and make choices that align with our true desires and values.

The next time you experience an emotion, take a moment to listen to what it’s trying to tell you. Like right now…go ahead…what are you feeling?

With love,

Exploring and processing emotions is powerful and life changing…yet many of us have been conditioned out of listening to and hearing our body’s wisdom. But feeling is the secret to realizing the life you desire. Join me as we explore this in a 5 week experience in the art of realizing your desire.

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