Thursday, September 9, 2010

Inviting Your Emotions With Tenderness

As you may have heard the therapists at The Awakening Center say, we all have many Parts -it's normal and natural to have different personalities within us. There's a Part of you who wants to sit on the couch and watch a movie, while another Part knows that you need to study for a test tomorrow. There's a Part which is supposed to be in charge of all the Parts - this is your Self - the person you were meant to be. Sometimes when we lose our Selves, another Part takes over and tries to 'run the show' - the Pseudo-Self is usually critical, judgmental, perfectionistic and very vocal! I call this Part "The Bully". The Bully tries to berate us into change - but it doesn't work. We usually end up feeling hopeless and then another Part rebels against the Bully and does the opposite of what the Bully is yelling about.

So how do we change this negative pattern? By trying something completely different - by "Inviting Your Emotions With Tenderness". Jennifer Schurman, one of the therapists at The Awakening Center has written an article about using tenderness rather than criticism and judgment. Finding our Selves leads us to inner peace and contentment - the opposite of hopelessness and rebellion!

Oh, BTW, Maureen McNichols is running a workshop "Women and their Inner Bully" on November 13! If you would like more information, call Maureen at (773) 929-6262 x 12.

Amy Grabowski

Inviting Your Emotions with Tenderness
“All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness. It wants room to unfold. It wants to relax and tell it’s story.” From “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth

Often when working with clients I find myself saying over and over it’s not about the weight, it’s not about the food, what’s going on that brings your attention back to these things? It seems at times that it is far easier to obsess over what to have for lunch, how many calories are in that latte, or when the skinny jeans will fit. But this focus is keeping one distracted from what is connected to these things. It’s simpler to think that if we do all the “right” things related to our eating it will calm our minds, give us peace, and bring us happiness. This is yet another empty lie. We begin focusing on solving what’s not quite right by focusing on our body rather than ourselves, our emotions or our needs. We look to our bodies to solve what is beyond them to solve and in the meantime beat them up and demand they give us what we are looking for. It is like getting stuck on a path that promises to bring us what we need yet just keeps us going in loops of pain and disappointment. So if our bodies can’t give us these things where do we look? Inside at ourselves.

Some of the most crucial and amazing work begins when clients begin trusting themselves, listening to their voice and hearing what they need. Choosing to slow things down, invite and spend some time with our emotions is what brings us closer to a true sense of recovery. Beginning to make the transition from the focus on our bodies to the focus on our true selves is a scary step as it brings us to the feelings that perhaps we have been avoiding. However, reminding ourselves that this work of feeling what is there, using it as a signal for what we are needing and responding in a caring way is the beginning of finding what we have been looking for. It’s getting onto a new path that has the potential to lead us to true peace, contentment and happiness. It’s not a simple or speedy journey but one that leads to a place of reconnecting to ourselves. Beginning to rely on ourselves and trust that our emotions have a positive intention for us are the first steps on this new path. My hope is that when you feel the focus shifting to your body bringing you answers you challenge yourself to look inside, spend some time with those feelings and ask them some questions as they may have something important to say. Something that just may take you a step closer to finding all that you long for.

Jennifer Schurman, MA, LPC
Jennifer leads a therapy group on Monday evenings for those trying to recover from eating disorders and disordered eating. Please call her for more information: (773) 929-6262 x 20.

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm hard on myself, but it's so difficult to change. I never thought of tenderness as an option. I'll have to think about this a bit more