Are we all addicted to NOT feeling the uncomfortable emotions of life
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Are We All Addicts?

Jul 16, 2021

Are we all addicts?

Are we unconsciously desperately, but ever so silently doing everything we can not to listen to our inner voices and avoiding all of those circumstances that would force us to sit in and sit with our feelings?

A Month Off Social Media

Recently, I took a month completely away from all of my social media channels. And initially just the intention was just to, to not be present on any social media, but actually within the first couple of days, I realized that I didn't want any kind of input whatsoever. I didn't want to read, listen or watch anything. It was as if my senses were suffering from this kind of information and social exhaustion and overload.

And I found myself, which really scared me, apathetic about ambition and expectations I'd always had. And I knew that this wasn't really me. I knew that something had to change and it has to be something different than I'd ever done before.

That's what led me to making that decision to completely step back and spend a month doing nothing, Actually what I've realized was, it was the start of a very deep and explorative journey inside. And I'm going to just share a little bit of that with you and  I want to kind of ask you to engage in this conversation and ask yourself, honestly, whether there is a possibility that you are also finding ways to not feel these feelings.

I wasn’t expecting that

I naively thought this whole month would be about doing projects in my garden, upcycling, long daily, walks with the dog, getting back into my exercise and just generally enjoying a month off like a holiday.

It didn't happen in that way at all. And I really wasn't prepared for the constant companion that I had. That was my very, very loud inner critic. The first week was absolute hell. The  inner critic started to remind me that lazy people come last, that I should be working harder, that I was playing out a repeating pattern. I was letting my staff down.

It was so tempting, particularly those first few days to, to buy into that language and to tell myself that I was just letting myself down. And it took a great deal of courage to just sit and to continue to just listen to the critic without letting it make me change my mind or defining who I was. I was just being in that space of listening.

It Took a While to Experience Detachment

And it took, I would say at least the first full three weeks before I was able to even start feeling this element of detachment from these voices, when I could start to really engage in some of the projects that I was doing fully and be fully present. What really shocked me was why, when I’m committed to this healing journey, were these inner voices louder than ever. And I realized it was because I had nowhere to hide.

I had become addicted to not feeling these difficult feelings. I realized that this avoidance of feeling showed up from a very young age, when I first developed eating disorders. And as I travelled along my time line, I saw experience after experience where I’d repeated that pattern.

Come to present day, I it was clear how I used people pleasing, social media and over delivering in my business to get validation AND therefore, not deal with the uncomfortable feelings of not being enough!

Emotions Are What The Body DOES!

Shortly after my month came to an end, I started reading a book written by Ruby Wax. She reminded me that emotions are things that the body does. We are not our emotions. We learn how to do emotions. Our body learns how to do emotions. It's not the, the, I am, it’s the “I thought” that creates the “I feel”. We are well rehearsed emotional states, triggered by things that switch on our limiting beliefs basically. .

She describes it like this,

“If you make a pancake out of eggs and flour and milk, you don't ask which ingredient is the pancake. It's the combination. So just like emotion is not separate. It's not a separate part of your brain. It's the combination of your body and brain”

Now this is where it gets really challenging because once we've started to activate those emotions, we'll start to activate thoughts to perpetuate that. And now we're stuck in this flywheel where one feeds the other and feel stuck IN IT and we can’t see or think of a way out.

Why is it so Hard to Break This Cycle?

Because we get such a sense of this is who I am. It becomes much easier for us to keep feeling and being those remembered feelings and states than it is to change.

If you DO decide to change, your Neurological system, which is wired for safety and therefore comfort, it sets off an orchestra of alarm bells. It will use the inner critic, default emotions, behaviours and ways of thinking to pull you back to where you’ve always been. I whilst that might not be great either, it DOES provide an element of safety in it’s certainty.

Russel Brand describes this unhelpful and habitual pattern of behaviour as:

“merely a conditional belch of neurological and hormonal activity, that over time, I have come to identify with”.

Bascially, this is how he detaches HIMSELF from the experience. It’s not the “I AM” it’s the ”I THOUGHT” which is created from unconscious conditioning. That’s it. But we DEFINE it and we FEEL it and we think it’s WHO WE ARE.

YOU ARE ALWAYS AND INSTANTLY FILTERING EVERY SECOND OF YOUR LIFE THROUGH FILTERS WHICH WERE CREATED UNCONSCIOUSLY AND WHICH CREATE MEANING IN YOUR LIFE. WHEN YOU BECOME CONSCIOUS, YOU CAN CHOOSE NEW FILTERS AND LITERALLY CREATE AN ENTIRELY NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE.

How Did I Manage This Headf*ck?

First of all, I knew I was past the point of superficial renovation, and this process had to be a complete demolition and rebuild. I wanted to dive deep in to the defintions of myself, business, life, relationships, grief, abundance (the whole 9 yards) that had caused me to reach emotional burnout, information overload and social exhaustion.

Sitting in The Silence

This is how it started. Probably because I didn’t know what else to do and one of my mentors told me to give it a go.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT FOCUS.

When we focus our mind through activity, whether that's mantra, focusing on a set point – we don’t allow ourselves to sit in the emotions we’ve spent our whole life avoiding.

I needed to let these stories play out. To open all the doorways that were holding in these voices of self-destruct, let them out to play and wear themselves out because that was the only way I was going to be able to really be present with them.

I had to have the courage to hear without FEELING the story, making it the I AM or making it more than just a moment in time. 

I Didn’t Let Myself Feel Joy

One of the things that I really was shocked by was how little space I gave myself for joy or to be present. I was always putting some kind of condition on the level and intensity of happiness or joy that I could feel. I just had to keep reminding myself, like from an evolutionary standpoint, I'm wired for safety,

Radical Self Kindness

My biggest practice over the entire month has been unwavering kindness to myself. That was often just a conversation like, “it's okay to feel this.it's okay to experience that. It's okay to hear that voice. It's okay to cry, to break down. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay”.

It was a constant act of choosing faith and trust in myself and the journey.

My invitation to you is to, to begin to be willing and committed to raising your awareness about where you might be avoiding those feelings. Then I want you to think about how you talk to yourself when you think you're feeling things that you shouldn't. What's the language around that?

My final ask to you is ask yourself,

“what would it look like if I lived my life more as the I am than as the, I thought?

Thank you for reading. You can listen to the full podcast episode below and if you’d like to join my Facebook community I would love to welcome you in the Empowered Empathic Entrepreneurs.

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