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How to Handle Negative Emotions (1/3)

What If Shame Doesn’t Mean What We Think It Means? (Part 1)

Sure, we talk about how to handle negative emotions… but using them to help us become who we’re meant to be? Now, that’s exciting.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my mastermind partners asked me to write down some thoughts about shame. She was wondering how we might use shame as a positive force in our lives and a source of motivation.

(I’m a bit of a shame geek)

Here’s Part 1 of why shame might be the enemy we think it is. Let me know what you think.

Shame is Everywhere

It’s baked into our DNA and into every facet of our culture. Heck, even my Wii Balance Board shames me when I don’t want to listen to a fitness tip. We all have shame. And we all have to fight through the haze of it every day to get anything done.

You might think that if you’re uber-spiritual, you’ve surely done all the shame work you’ll ever need to do. You might even think that you’re just fine now, thank you very much.

I encourage you to dig a little deeper.

Shame’s tricky.

And it’s like oxygen: we breathe it without even knowing it’s there.

Share how to handle negative emotions with anyone who needs a new way to get through shame and anxiety.
The only way out is to learn how to use these emotions the way they were intended… for your freedom.

And if you’re called to stand out and shine? To be centre stage? To make a difference in the world as my clients do? Then our battles with shame become an even greater burden. We end up tooth and nail in the fight of our life to shine through the shame.

We do our best to repress shame. To ignore it. And we definitely don’t want to talk about it. To unpack it. To unwrap it.

And diving down into our self-shaming? We don’t wanna go there. Even though, in my experience, it’s happening every second of every day on the deepest of cellular and quantum levels. We don’t wanna go there.

So, we wander through our lives drunk, staggering from the weight of the unprocessed shame we carry. Some of the shame is conscious, most is unconscious. And we’re unable to see or hear clearly through the fog of it.

The Happy Masks We Wear

Staggering along with our shame, we attempt to keep our happy masks in place. We don’t want anyone to see the truth because to see it would be to see the truth. To see just how broken and unworthy and unloveable we are! 

And, as we tumble into bed at the end of the day, we wonder why we’re so very tired. We pray we’ll be able to sleep and escape the internal avalanche of shaming in dreams (we don’t!) just for a few hours.

We do our best to keep going even though it hurts.

But… (love that word so much)

But. But, what if shame weren’t the enemy? What if we didn’t have to fight it?

What if we could use shame to propel us toward our Destiny instead of having it bind us irrevocably and painfully to our Line of Fate.

For most of the world, shame is what they need to keep them small and safe. And they’re content to stay unconscious and go through the motions of living without ever taking a risk.

But, if you’re reading this, then you aren’t most of the world, are you? You’re meant for more.

Stepping into your Destiny is what you were made for. Something that your soul and spirit are longing to become. And you’re my kinda person…

Here’s the problem, or at least it’s the problem that started this whole thing: 

I Don’t Believe Shame is the Real Enemy

I have a theory about the ‘negative emotions’ like anger, fear, sadness, guilt, etc. Y’know, the ones we don’t want to feel.

I’ve been working with clients for 2 decades on how to handle negative emotions and move through them. I started as a Reflexologist and Personal Trainer and then became a full-time NLP Master Coach. I’ve worked with clients to step out of their own shadows. To step into their destinies and be of massive service to the world.

I’ve dug in deep with them, over and over again, to find their brilliance under decades of shame and repression.

And I’ve had to do the same work with myself.

So, I’ve been around these emotions a LOT. And something just started to feel ‘off’ about thinking of these emotions as ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ or ‘the enemy’. Y’see, I’m also a Christian. Which means I believe that we’re created by a good and holy God. One who loves us beyond our understanding.

The Master Creator designed us. And loves us. We are beloved.

And it just didn’t seem right that someone who loved me so much would give me a set of emotions that made me feel so bad so much of the time.

Do y’know what I mean? It didn’t make sense.

The more that I’ve surrendered to this idea that God is good and the more that it has become my bedrock – my foundation – the more I’ve found myself questioning the idea that our emotions are somehow a problem.

I found myself wondering… what if they were a gift?

The Gift of ‘Negative’ Emotions

My world blew open as I started to see infinite new possibilities for how to exist in the world. It opened my eyes to just how pervasive and dominant shame – and the other ‘negative’ emotions – had become.

I realized that we’re meant to work with them and flow with them. We’re meant to use them to become more of who we are meant to be. That’s how to handle negative emotions!

But, instead, we were allowing them to build up and create toxic environments inside of us. These cause great harm – and create the dysfunctional patterns we see in families and our society today.

My new awakening started with anxiety… I read a book by Robert Gerzon called Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety (US Amazon / CDN Amazon). He showed in the book how anxiety was actually a caution sign on our way to something new. 

Just a caution sign. 

(I now imagine a construction zone worker holding up a yellow Go Slow sign. I don’t have to stop, I just have to be cautious.)

Anxiety Means Caution – Not Stop

It didn’t mean anything was wrong or that we were on the wrong path or that we should stop.

Quite the contrary, I learned that when we are experiencing anxiety it usually means we’re on the right path. We’re heading out of our comfort zone and on the way to something new – to our Destiny.

But we don’t realize that that’s what happening because we’ve been trained to associate anxiety with that natural discomfort of coming to the edge of our comfort zone.

We’ve been trained to run the patterns of anxiety and stop. To halt our progress because most of the world associates real change with danger.

But, if we ever want to get to our Destinies – if we ever want to become who we’re meant to become – we have to learn to change that training. We have to learn how to handle the ‘negative’ emotions like anxiety.

I’ve learned that when we allow the anxiety to serve as a caution sign and recognize it as such, it will quickly transform and become something quite different: it can become excitement.

(literally, the anxiety stops spinning and transforms into excitement. this is a skill you want to learn if you want to be successful.)

It can become anticipation. Maybe even eagerness.

When you learn what those nervous, weird, uncomfortable sensations in your body really mean, you can quickly and joyfully release anxiety and step into anticipation for the change to come.

The realization that I wasn’t broken because I had anxiety exploded through my neurology and forever altered how I saw the world and my place in it.

(it also felt way better)

In Part 2, we’ll go deeper into how to use shame to take you toward your Destiny.

You can do this. We’re here to help.

Blessings and grace,

–Vanessa

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