The Happiest Lives Podcast

E28: Leverage Your Emotions

November 10, 2023 Jill M. Lillard, MA LPC Season 2023 Episode 28
The Happiest Lives Podcast
E28: Leverage Your Emotions
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is part 2 of the series 5 Worthy Transformations.  Imagine a life where you could feel anything and use it as fuel to grow personally and spiritually. We delve into this intriguing concept, exploring how our beliefs and attitudes toward emotions can shape our experiences. We discuss the mechanism of  'buffering' - the behaviors we often use to sidestep discomfort- and the potential long-term consequences it can create. By embracing both positive and negative emotions, you can break this cycle, free up your energy, and deepen your relationship with  Jesus, Others, and Yourself. This is JOY. 

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Speaker 1:

You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 28. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Hello everyone, welcome back to the second part of our series, the Five Worthy Transformations. In this episode, we are going to dive into the second transformation that I am offering to you inside the Happiest Lives Academy, and I have entitled it Leveraging your Emotions. So if you are thinking about joining the academy and are wanting to know a little bit more about it, this is what you will get month two. And so today I want to explore the role of emotions in our lives, how we perceive emotions and how they impact our well-being, and the transformation that you will get if you join the academy is learning how to feel anything, and I'm going to give you a process for that. I'm going to give you an assignment that is going to help open you up to new emotions. So what are your beliefs about emotions? Do you see them as productive and helpful, or do you find them unproductive and unhelpful? Do you think they're a nuisance and they are an interruption to an otherwise good day? Your beliefs about feelings are going to shape how you perceive and accept your own feelings and they're going to influence how you express your emotions and respond to other people's emotions. I find the way that people process their own emotions is the same way that they respond to somebody else's emotions. So if they're not sure what to do with their own feelings, then they may tend to be more emotionally dismissive with somebody else, maybe not validating or acknowledging the negative emotions that someone else is expressing. Negative beliefs about feelings foster self-acceptance, greater empathy and healthy emotional expressions. On the contrary, on the other side of it, negative beliefs about emotions are going to lead to suppressing your emotions, judging your emotion, judging other people's emotions, and it's going to create communication barriers. I want to encourage you to embrace the 50-50 reality. Life is a balance of positive and negative emotions roughly 50-50. Half the time you're going to feel great. The other half of the time you may feel terrible. This is what it is to be human living in a fallen world. Some of the emotions you experience, you're going to want those emotions. There are certain emotions out there you want more of in your life, while there are other feelings that are unwanted. You really don't prefer to experience them. When we're afraid of feeling any emotion, when we are rejecting or resisting emotion, we're going to waste a lot of energy and, instead of just having some agony in our life, we're going to agonize over our agony and we're going to create secondary pain on top of our pain. And so when we're open to feeling both wanted and unwanted emotions, we are going to create greater emotional resilience in our life. I find that some of us are even resistant to feeling good emotions. Do you ever have a hard time feeling joy or feeling peace? Maybe you feel like you always have to be worried. If you're not worried, something bad is going to happen, or if you feel joy, that you're going to be let down. So sometimes we're so used to feeling the negative things that, even though we want certain feelings, we may be a little bit resistant to those feelings. I also want you to consider the buffering mechanism. Buffering refers to any behavior that is used to avoid feeling emotions. Now, the behavior in itself may not be bad, but when we're using it to create more comfort and buffer our feelings, then we don't allow ourselves to process through the feeling to actually feel the feeling, and so the emotion is always there waiting to be processed, and we may add secondary pain on top of the pain we're already feeling or on top of the discomfort we're already feeling when we buffer. So a buffer can be anything like overspending, overeating, overdrinking, excessive social media use, overworking can even be a buffer, and so it's like you have this vibration in your body and maybe it just feels so intense you want to quiet it a little bit, and so you look for things that are going to create a dopamine hit, that are going to make you feel better. They're going to increase your pleasure and they're going to reduce your pain for the moment, and they do that. Short term pleasure from buffering, however, often leads to long term consequences. We may beat ourselves up, we may feel guilt or shame, we may be dealing with secondary consequences of eating too much or spending too much money, and so when that buffer creates a net negative consequence, it is no longer serving us, and we still have not learned how to process through the feeling. We've only intensified this habit of responding to emotion by buffering it and trying to make it go away, and it can be an unending cycle. So being able to recognize and address buffering is crucial for emotional well-being. I also want you to learn the skill of feeling anything. When we are open to feeling both negative and positive emotions, then we aren't going to indulge in them excessively and we're not going to spend time playing tug-of-war with the reality of something that we are feeling. So we're going to free up some energy. When we resist emotions, it only intensifies them, making them harder to manage. So do you remember the Chinese finger trap? It was just woven fibers and a little circular tubular design and had openings on each end and you could stick your fingers in both ends of the fibers. And then you put them in and you try to pull them out simultaneously, and as you do that, the fibers tighten around your fingers and your fingers become trapped inside the Chinese finger trap. That's the name. So to get out of the Chinese finger trap, you actually do the opposite. You push your fingers in a little bit more, you relax into the tubular design and then you can gently pull one finger out at a time when you're no longer resisting. Same thing is like trying to get out of quicksand. I hear, if you run in quicksand I've never been in it but that you're going to sink more, and so there is a way to enter way out of the quicksand without running, and so that's going to feel very counterintuitive. So we know that resisting trying to push a beach ball down under the water, it's going to keep popping back up because we're resisting it, we're just going to end up exhausted. But when we allow it to be there, it eventually will drift or float away, or we can poke a little hole in it, right? So we want to be allowed the emotions to be there, and being able to develop this skill of feeling anything is going to allow for a fuller emotional experience and deeper understanding. I like to look at my emotions as memos. They have information for me, and if I am just crumpling up the memo, ignoring the memo, letting the memos pile up, then I'm going to have a little bit of clutter, a little bit of mess around me and I'm going to miss out on important information that is going to help me live my best life. So emotions are messengers with valuable information, and when we pay attention to and explore those emotions, we are going to gain insights. We know that emotions are tied to our thoughts, and so you have circumstances and you have a thought about it, and when your brain thinks something, it releases a chemical cascade which is a feeling. You're going to feel that emotion in your body and we get curious and pause the emotion, that we name it and acknowledge it. We can identify what are the thoughts that are fostering this emotion, that are creating this emotion, and when we gain this insight, we can figure out what we want to do with that information, if those thoughts are serving us or if they're not serving us. When we ignore the emotions, we are going to miss out on opportunities to connect and grow and learn. I also like to think of my emotions as a bridge to my father, that it is a portal, it is an invitation to engage with the Lord and it helps me connect in a way that's authentic. So we've talked about heart scanning and the first step in heart scanning is being able to expose, to acknowledge what is there. And another part of heart scanning is to be able to engage. And when we can turn toward the Lord and come to Him as we are in a state that is authentic, we can acknowledge that we are feeling sad or hurt or confused, that we feel angry, but we invite Him into that space. Then we are no longer putting up a wall. We are inviting the presence of God, we are inviting the power of the Holy Spirit, and when I do that, I find that the Lord is my comforter. He is very near and dear and I can feel His love and His presence, and I know sometimes he will even correct me, like he will comfort me. But he may also correct me and he may redirect me, and sometimes His presence may be there in just a silent way, and during those moments I know that he is binding my heart to His, that he becomes my sure foundation, and so when we can embrace emotions in this way, we are leveraging them to our advantage. We are leveraging them so that we can have a deeper, stronger bond with the Holy Spirit living inside of us. So I wanted to give you a few practical tips for leveraging your emotions. One of the first things is to identify what are some emotions that you want to experience more of in your life, and in the Academy we will do that. We will identify three emotions that we want to create more of. So maybe you want to feel more, have some more excitement in your life. You want to feel excited. You want to feel more interested or engaged. Maybe you want to feel more joy, you want to experience more peace. Maybe you want to feel more motivated. You're going to identify three emotions that you want to focus on, and I'm going to take you through the process of cultivating more of those feelings in your life. I also will have you identify three emotions that you don't want to feel, that you buffer so that you don't have to feel those A lot of times. I don't like to feel restless, I don't like to feel tension, I don't like to feel bored, and so I might find myself resisting those feelings. Maybe some of you don't want to feel fear, and so you will do things to avoid feeling that. And so we want to be willing to feel those feelings, to recognize that they are harmless, that they cannot hurt us, and the best way to do that is to recognize the ways you buffer the feeling and remove the buffer and then learn how to sit with the feeling. And I will walk you through how to sit with an emotion, how to allow it, how to process it, so that you can watch yourself move through the emotion and see that it is harmless. It's our resistance to the emotion that is what brings harm to us. I also want you to understand the role of buffering. If you're going to leverage your emotions, you want to understand the role of buffering activities and what the underlying thoughts and feelings are that are leading to that buffering. We're going to confront our fears related to feeling and learn to embrace all emotions. We want to have the full human experience which includes all the feelings. Okay, I want that experience for my life. That is a full, exciting life, just like a blockbuster movie has all the emotions. That's what I want to open myself up to in my life. Remember, your emotions are not permanent Like waves in the oceans. There's going to be the ups and the downs, and when we can learn to lean into the wave, when we can learn to ride the wave, then we're not going to be always be reacting to the wave, and Learning how to do this is going to help you Grow, it's going to help you transform and it's going to deepen your Relationship, not only with yourself and the Lord, but with other people. So this is the second transformation Leveraging your emotions. I would love to invite you, I would love to have you come do this work with me, where I will surround you with all the support you need so that you can learn how to use emotions for your advantage, to to feel anything and experience All of the feelings. If you are considering the happiest lives Academy, but maybe you're on the fence, maybe you have some questions, then reach out to me. You can email me at Jill at the happiest lives calm and just in the subject line. Just put questions about the Academy and I will respond and we can even we can set up a phone call, a Consult, and I am happy to answer any your questions. If you are on the fence about this program, if you want to check it out, go to my happy vault comm. Look for the link at the top that will link you to the information about the Academy. So I invite you to Meditate on the words that I shared with you, the concepts that I shared with you, and if there's any way that I can help you Take this work further, that is going to be in the happiest lives Academy. So thank you, guys, for tuning into the episode on leveraging your emotions and I look forward to meeting with you again next week. We're gonna talk about the third, the third transformation, which is making powerful decisions. I will see you then.

Embracing Emotions for Greater Well-Being
Leveraging Emotions for Personal Growth
Introduction to the Happy Lives Academy