Volcano In The Bottle

The last two years have been a never ending battle to manage sudden and unexpected changes, volatile emotions and an immense sense of insecurity, possibly even loss. I’ve experienced similar feelings and I know you are all not alone in this. The real question is are we creating our own demise? How do we alleviate this situation?

Pent Up Emotions

Many of us are living automated lives where everything is dictated by your boss, your schedule and more. I recently spoke with a coachee who came on board my coaching program to explore her passion and meaning in life. She claimed that she was not passionate about life and felt there was a lack of meaning in her work.

When I explored her experience a little more, it was apparent that she had a relatively rigid view of the world. She couldn’t pursue her passion because she had no time. Her husband was not supportive. She had to take care of her kids, and that her kids came first. While I did not disagree, all I was hearing was that she was trying to do more and making herself insignificant.

As we continued our session, she started to tear up, and commented at how “embarrassing” it was to cry at such a “small thing”.

Wow.

I asked how long she had been feeling this way, and she said “practically all my life”. That was when the treasure chest was uncovered. Her life was all about denying the self and working for others. It was a pattern that was demonstrated to her by her parents and grandparents. While she felt this inner dying, she did not question it because it paid the bills. So, we spent some time allowing herself to connect with the feeling that she bawled her eyes out for a good ten minutes, one of the first times she was ever able to connect with the emotion.

“Why did I do that?” she asked. It was as if an involuntary response overtook her.

“You became a brewing volcano that needed to let off steam,” I replied. “Better here, than at someone you love.”

Almost immediately, she gave a guilty look. “I have done that.”

“And you will do better once you know how.”

Many of us are like this client of mine. At some time in our lives, we will feel like the world is collapsing, that we are not enough and that the burden is way to hard to bear. However, rather than ABCDE-ing (avoid emotions, blame, complain, deny or make excuses) our way out of it, we need to stop denying ourselves and reconnect.

Outer Cycle CORE of Inner Activation

I’ve developed a model known as Inner Activation. It is the premise of a book I am writing that hopes to convey the need for inner transformation in order for outer breakthroughs in business, life and relationships.

The first thing one needs to do is to change the way we process such suppressions. We know that suppression and avoidance eventually cause deeper mental health issues like depression. Instead, we need to confront and connect.

Confront and Connect

To confront is to “face up to” your challenge. It’s not a great feeling, but as many therapists have discovered by now, the idea of acceptance is important. As an adult individual, one needs to sometimes recognize that the truth, when acknowledged, helps with realization that sets you free.

This client of mine was wililng to confront it. Of course it was initially disconcerting to her to feel the emotions that were pent up inside, as any of us might feel. But the nervous system that is under inner pressure will result in an external desire to burst. So the behaviors you participate in can resonate with that: debating, gorging oneself with food, violent games and so on. But these activities can very well be the way you distract yourself from the actual experience. Notice how some of these are what you might know as distress relief activities, as they don’t build up the skills of distress tolerance to manage the difficult spot.

The next thing was to connect. I have encountered various ways by which connection takes place. You can connect mindfully. You can connect through specific meditation rituals. You can utilize visualization. You can connect using psychotherapeutic methods like psychodrama, narrative therapy, Gestalt therapy and the like.

Whatever the case, it is to stop looking at the emotion as an intrusive outsider that is breaking your flow, and really recognize that it is like a child who has no other means to communicate. By sitting with this emotion and acknowledging the feeling you experience, you might end up with what you might think of as distress when you cry, but oftentimes this experience is a way that your body needs to connect with first.

Observe

So I would invite you to do this. Take stock of the emotions you have experienced over the last year or two. What have you felt? If you go deep into your emotions, what should be there that is not being expressed? What were your emotional needs? You can look at the actions you have taken and observe the pattern of your expression of behaviors. What is your typical tendency whenever you experience these disconcerting emotions?

Reflect, Release & Realign

This sequence is so important that the actual details of the sequence is at the center of my transformational process involving multiple layers of the self. Here, I describe the broad strokes so that those who are keen to get realigned can reach out to me.

When you get into a metacognitive state, you begin to spend time thinking about yourself. You are now able to not just notice what you do, but examine it.

Reflecting is not just a passing thought. It is deliberate. You write things down and express your observations and notice what those observations say about your actions and feelings at that time. My client was able to reflect on her feelings of inadequacy and her need to feel loved and loving in a time when she felt she needed to be tough.

Releasing is about having a ritual to express your emotions, but do it in a way that is not a denial. In my process, I enable my client to integrate the feeling into themselves, and acknowledge that those emotions are either a messenger (that tells you something you need to know) or a motivator (that drives you to enact a behavior).

Realignment is a process that I utilize in order for a person to uncover the true lessons and meanings for those messages or motivations. I often describe myself as a psychological chiropractor, helping you to make adjustments to your mind so that your present state and desired future are properly aligned.

One of the interesting concepts in depth psychology is known as individuation. Carl Jung describes it as a process of discovery of integration of opposites. In most cases, people push aggressively for results, only to realize that the results can only come from a proper (and sometimes seemingly paradoxical) integration of the softer side of results, such as encouragement and joyful action. Few people realize this early in life without deep exploration into their inner world.

After the intervention, this client who began from being a volatile, aggressive-sounding person, ended up sounding more tender. The changes that took place were rather startling, but not unexpected. It was a realization of who she was missing inside that was a better version of herself. It translated into better work and improved emotional stability, and a better sense of control over her emotions at home. She also felt less desire to avoid emotions, blame, complain, deny or make excuses.

Engage

This portion is about how to enact what you need into the world. It is a relatively straightforward process of having clear and well-formed outcomes in order to achieve results, although the ability to act comes from the ability to master the Success Diamond, which I have covered in a previous post.

Conclusion

When you find yourself unable to express emotions, or find yourself being volatile and snapping at others regularly, it is a clear sign that you have to get to the root of it. Some people turn to medication. While this is sometimes (if prescribed under crucial situations) necessary, I still feel strongly that you don’t benefit from psychiatric medication other than the temporary relief you get. The transformation has to be skill based. If you have the skill for resilience or stress tolerance, you are more likely to arrive at a state of self-reliance over time. The problem is that when the volcano erupts, the emergency pills have to be taken because it’s already caused havoc in the real world.

I’ve said before that we really need to be hunting our limitations so that the cycle can begin. If it sounds like we are deliberately looking for negativity, think of it as pruning weeds. Weeds grow, you aren’t aggressive toward it, and you know it’s just a cycle of removing them to make proper space for your garden.

Some limitations are beliefs while others might be emotional limits that we never knew were imposed on us. But when we really listen to ourselves, we know that anxiety, fear, self-loathe, guilt, and any other limiting emotion gives us an opportunity to learn about ourselves more deeply, and move from a life of tension to tenderness, negativity to nurturance, and lifelessness to liberation.

You may not immediately end up like my client, who opened up and discovered new pathways and possibilities instead of being trapped in just a few sessions. But I would like to invite to to consider that life should be deeply felt and intentionally lived. One with deep buried inner burdens will need help to move those things out of the way no matter how successful they are in their work or business. It merely means that there is more energy to release to magnify the results in your life even more.

See also  How to Master Skills of the Inner World so that you Achieve Results in Life, Business and Relationships.

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