How to Cope When You’re Numb with Emotion

So much is written about emotions.

How to understand them, how to control them, or how they can help or hinder you.

Just look at the self-help section of a book store (if you can still find one) or the cover of the multitude of grab magazines at the checkout counter of your favorite food store.

Emotions can best be viewed as essential reactions to being human and a clue of what you experience from the inside-out. Emotions are really energy in motion…e-motion.

If you ignore or suppress a challenging emotion like sadness or anger or guilt and all the associated reactions, you actually feed the dragon. It is crucial to recognize a feeling, take a moment to assess where it came from, and in a safe place really notice and feel the feelings. Don’t deny them. If ignored or suppressed, they grow. If attended to and expressed, they shift in energy.

I introduce you to a process useful for reclaiming parts of your authentic self that you may have left hidden in the shadows.

Culturally and historically the importance of emotions has oft been overlooked. Humans have been focused on logic, reason and thinking and for a long time and have believed that this is where answers are to be found. Human beings are now realizing the importance of emotions in thinking, reasoning, decision making, leadership and relationships. Indeed, like other human activities such as sleeping, eating and breathing, emotions are non-discretionary. You may be able to choose to some degree when or how you react but you do not get to choose if you do them. They are a part of what makes us human. We are emotional beings.

People are learning a great deal about emotions from various perspectives. Some insights come from psychology and others from neuroscience. You can change your relationship with emotions to see them as a useful part of your makeup that you may not spend enough time cultivating.Learn that each emotion has a specific meaning or story to tell, that each emotion has a specific impulse or predisposition and each emotion exists for a purpose. In other words, emotions are not random and are actually quite logical. Each is very specific and you need to listen to and understand them to think clearly, know yourself, act in accordance with your values and understand the thinking and action of others. Learning this can make them a tool as powerful as reasoning, thinking and conversation.

Getting Naked is about learning how to be open about your authentic self with the rest of the world (well at least those you trust). It is about how being secretive about yourself can lead to physical, mental, and emotional sickness. Can we actually try to live healthier by being honest with our fellow humans about who we are and how we are?

Try this if you are numbed and overwhelmed with an emotional experience:

As Sue Monk Kidd says in her book The Invention of Wings, “There is no pain on earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.”

Here I introduce you to a process useful for reclaiming parts of your authentic self that you may have left hidden in the shadows. Follow this template for naked sharing slowly, using a journal, personal reflection time, and patience!

Remember a belief or experience that causes you to keep it hidden.

Consider this memory. What happened? Who was there? How did it affect you?

Reveal on paper:
Write in a journal your memories, thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotional reactions. Just free flow, get it out and on paper. Then read it to yourself as if you were hearing about it from your younger self.

Reveal to another:
This is where you make a big step. Who can you share your story with? Who can you trust will listen to you with suspended judgment and full acceptance?

After you have shared with a trusted other, imagine you are rebooting your memory, just like a computer memory. Let it be defragmented, and safely put away.

This is when you get back on your journey to your future, starting now. You have now achieved a clean restart pertaining to this memory or story.

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