S1 EP56 – To Feel or Not to Feel: The Challenge of Being Present

Episode Summary

How often are you able to stay mindfully present in your body with your feelings, and take responsibility for them? Most of us are not taught how to take emotional responsibility. For most people, it takes practice to be willing to be fully present in your body, feeling your painful feelings, and even more practice to learn how to take loving care of your emotions. 


Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the inner bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about, to feel or not to feel the challenge of being present. I want you to take a moment to think back to your childhood, who in your growing up years was really present with. You were either of your parents present. Did you have any grandparents, aunts, or uncles, neighbors, or teachers who were genuinely present with you? How did you feel with adults who are truly present with you?

Did you feel cared about and important to them now think about who wasn’t present with you. How did you feel when being with adults were in their heads instead of in their hearts, how did you feel when they were in their wound itself instead of in their loving adult? So what does it mean to be present, present for what, what does mindfulness mean mindful about what we’re told to be in the now, what does this mean? How can Remi, how can we remember to do this being present and mindful in the now means primarily two things, learning to be compassionately aware of what you’re feeling in any given moment and learning to stay open to the love, the wisdom and the comfort of your spiritual guidance.

But why is this so hard for most people? It’s hard because we’ve been practicing the exact opposite for most of our lives. For most of us being mindful and in the present moment was too much for us to manage as children. We were too little to manage the emotional disconnection of our parents. And in some cases, the emotional, physical, and or sexual abuse that may have followed from their disconnection, from themselves in order to survive in the face of their self-abandonment, we needed to disconnect from our overwhelming, painful feelings, learning not to be present for our deeply painful feelings of heartbreak, loneliness, grief, and helplessness over others was actually lifesaving for us, our caregivers, disconnection and the resulting various forms of abuse or neglect that followed from their self rejection.

And self-abandonment were quite shattering to us. We couldn’t have survived it without learning to disconnect from our feelings and not be in this present moment. But because of this, we never learned to lovingly manage our painful feelings. So now think about how are you with yourself? Are you present with your own feelings and needs wanting responsibility for them? If you find yourself needing attention from others, there’s a good chance that your inner child doesn’t feel important to you.

The inner child doesn’t feel important to you when you’re in your wound itself, which means that you’re in your head rather than in your heart and that you’re not present and aware of your feelings. You’re not taking emotional responsibility since your inner child needs attention to feel important. You’ll find yourself feeling needy and pulling on others for the attention and validation that you’re not giving to yourself. You’re trying to get others to take responsibility for making you feel important and worthy and, and safe.

Beginning to do this for yourself is what step one of inner bonding is about getting present in this moment with your feelings and wanting responsibility for them. If you ignore your feelings, there’s no way your inner child, your soul, your feelings, self can feel important to you. But most of us grew up with many false beliefs about paying that can make it hard, to be willing to be present with your feelings and step one of inner. As I talk about some of these beliefs tune inside and see what you believe.

Do you believe that you can’t handle your pain, especially the pain of disapproval of rejection of abandonment, the pain of being shut out the pain of isolation and aloneness. Okay. Do you believe that if you open to your pain, you’ll fall apart, you’ll go crazy or die. Do you believe that if you opened your pain, it will be unending. Do you believe that once you start to cry, you’ll never stop or that showing pain is a sign of weakness or that people will think less of you if they see you cry or that if you cry, you’re going to be rejected or that people will think you’re nuts or that no one really wants to hear about your pain or that no one can handle the depth of your pain or that your problems are so trivial compared to other people’s that you have no right to be in vain.

Or do you believe that you, that you shouldn’t even have to feel this pain that you don’t deserve it? So you, so you shouldn’t feel it or that there’s no point in opening to pain, that it doesn’t make anything better. So why cry over spilled milk, false beliefs about pain might be getting in the way of your willingness to get present with your pain and learn what your pain is telling you. And as I’ve said, many times, all of our feelings have really, really important information for us. So if you’re avoiding being present, you’re avoiding all the important information that your feelings have for you.

But having This connection from painful feelings, many people have learned to lovingly manage them with the help of their spiritual guidance. This Is what we now need to learn in order to be present. And in order to not pass yourself abandonment and resulting disconnection onto your children, we can’t be fully present for our painful feelings, unless we also learn to be present with the love and comfort of spirit. We need this love and guidance to learn from our feelings and to manage our pain. You can greatly support yourself and learning to be present with your feelings.

If you start to develop your connection with your guidance. So here’s how to begin. It starts with remembering to open to the love, comfort, and wisdom. That is always here for all of us. Even if you don’t believe anything, is here. Start to practice gratitudes towards spirit thoughts, such as thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for my life. Thank you for my pets or my relationship or my health or my food or my work, or my gifts and talents, opening to feeling love and gratitude for all that you have while thinking thoughts such as I love you.

Thank you for always being with me. You’ll find your heart filling up as you thank spirit for what you have, and you reach out to your guidance with love the fullness you feel in your heart. When you express this gratitude and love is your experience of spirit being in your heart. This is connection with spirit. See if you can practice this as much as you can throughout each day. And then along with remembering to connect with spirit, remember to check inside with your feelings when you feel anything other than peace inside, invite the compassion of your guidance to be present in your heart for your feelings.

Be fully present with your painful feelings, sitting with them. As you would sit with a hurt child who you dearly love, don’t judge your feelings or try to fix them or do anything to make them go away. Just be with them with acceptance and compassion. As you feel your connection with your feelings and your guidance, find the place within you that wants responsibility for your feelings. And you’re likely going to find that just being with them starts to bring some calm.

This is step one of inner bonding. This is presence. This is mindfulness. This is being in the, now this is essential. Before moving on to the other five steps Of inner bonding. If you start to practice in her Bonnie, you’re going to find that the wounded feelings that we mostly cause with our self abandonment feelings, like our anxiety and depression or guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, jealousy, envy, or ways of avoiding the deeper existential feelings of life. Like I’ve said, the loneliness, the grief, The heartbreak, and The helplessness over others in situations.

Here’s an example. I started to work with Alan because he was upset with Alice’s angry and controlling behavior. Having Been married for five years with a young child, nothing was improving in their relationship. Even after seeing a few marriage counselors, Alan saw himself as a common caring person. Well, he saw Alice as a scary person, just like his abusive Mother, Alice and Allen were typical of many of the couples I work with. And I knew exactly what was going on in my first session with Alan, because I couldn’t connect with him.

I couldn’t feel him. Alan was stuck in his head and cut off from his body, cut off from his feelings. I asked to see them for a conjoint session, and I could immediately see that Alice was a very intense person, full of feelings, that she had no idea how to manage. And she was immediately reactive to Allen’s disconnected energy. Alan then immediately got Tensen withdrew in response to her reactivity, which further agitated Alice Allen’s disconnection triggered Alice’s fear of abandonment stemming from her very disconnected parents, and then work separately with each of them, helping them to become aware of the existential painful feelings they were avoiding with their anger and withdrawal.

Alice became aware that she felt very lonely around Allen, just as she had growing up. She realized she was covering up her loneliness with her anger and her blame. Alan realized that he was avoiding feeling his heartache and helplessness over Alice’s anger by staying in his head and withdrawing just as he had with his mother as Ellen and Alice learn to be present with their deeper existential painful feelings that they’d been avoiding their whole lives and learn to embrace their feelings with compassion, to learn from them and, and to release them.

They learned to let each other in, by speaking up and then their relationship greatly improved in a very short time when Ellen was disconnected, did it in his head. Alice learned to say, honey, I’m feeling too lonely with you right now. So I’m just going to go take a walk. I’ll check in with you in a bit, rather than getting angry. When analysts attacked and blamed Alan, he learned to say, Alice, I love you. But when you yell at me and blame me, my heart hurts and I feel so helpless to help you. And, and, and I feel scared I’m going to do some work and see if we can reconnect.

And half an hour, as Alice became more comfortable with loneliness and learned to take responsibility for her own feelings, her anger almost completely vanished. And as Alan became comfortable with his helplessness over others and over Alice’s anger and learned to take responsibility for his feelings, he was gradually able to be more present with himself and with Alice, as they learned to love themselves, rather than to continue to protect against their pain, they were able to share their love with each other. It is so gratifying to me to see the people I work with being able to share their love for each other, because they were both open to learning this big change in their relationship occurred over months, not over a years when both people are open to learning, even major relationship problems can get resolved relatively quickly.

When each person is open to feeling their feelings and to taking responsibility for them being present with our feelings, with the desire to be responsible for them is a big challenge. For many of us, not only did most people learn early in life, that it was too to feeling, to feel their feelings of loneliness and heartbreak and grief and helplessness over others. But many of us were taught that it was actually wrong to feel our painful feelings. I’ve previously shared that my mother had a favorite expression that she used every time I expressed an unhappy feeling.

Don’t be ridiculous. So of course, either in very early to ignore my unhappy feelings and to avoid them with caretaking, staying in my head, keeping busy achieving and food, especially sugar in addition, okay. Since both of my parents blamed each other and me for their feelings, I had no idea I was responsible for my own feelings. It was a huge challenge for me to learn, to be present and responsible for my feelings. I was so quick to turn to my various addictions before I was even aware that I was having a feeling, no wonder, I never felt important.

The problem is is that when you don’t feel important to yourself, you generally won’t feel that you’re important to others. Also, it’s likely that others are going to treat you the way you treat yourself, discounting you or ignoring you in the same way you discount or ignore yourself. And of course, this is what was happening for me. When I first started doing her bonding, I had to use a lot of reminders, remind me to get present in my body with my feelings, but even with all these reminders, it took me a lot of practice before I was somewhat consistently aware of my feelings in the moment before that I was only aware of them after the fact, one of the great benefits of learning to stay present with your feelings and learn to take responsibility for them is that it becomes much easier to stop being reactive in the moment when you haven’t learned to take care of your feelings, the wound itself reacts as the only way it knows to protect you from pain.

For example, my client, Lori told me in one of our sessions that when Eddie blames me, I react so fast before I have a chance to get my loving adult on board. I’m explaining and defending before I can even take a breath. Most of us learned early in our lives to react to any kind of rejection, to react and blame anger, withdrawal, judgment criticism, or being ignored with some form of reactive behavior. I had learned as a child and adolescence as a child and adolescent to react to any form of rejection by explaining, defending, crying, blaming, back, getting angry, complaining, or giving myself up.

Now I respond as a loving adult, which means that I respond with compassion for the suffering. I see the other person is experiencing or speak my truth and then disengage or remain quiet and compassionately, hear them out or remain quiet and disengage. I remember that I have no control over the other person’s intention to act out of their wound itself. So I focus only on my feelings and my guidance on what’s loving to me rather than trying in any way to get them to see things differently or behave differently.

Sometimes when trauma is triggered, you might feel so scared that you go into the fight flight or freeze response. Before in her bonding, I used to completely freeze in the face of anger, blaming or shaming. I would freeze like a deer in the headlights because I had no loving adult who knew how to take care of me in the face of others, unloving behavior. I would get triggered way back to feeling my mother’s rage at me as a child, having no idea what to do. And then once I unfroze, I would go into My judgemental, Angry explaining, defending, crying, giving myself behavior since practicing in her bonding and developing my loving adult.

I no longer have this misplaced freeze response. And for this, I am so Grateful now As a result of being present with my feelings and having created the new neural pathways in my brain, from my loving adult, through my inner bonding practice, I’m no longer Reactive In order to fully accept my lack of control and another is in their wound itself and their being unloving to themselves or me, I needed to fully accept the loneliness of the disconnection from them and my helplessness over them. This means that I needed to be open-hearted and in deep compassion for myself, and this is what I’ve learned to do.

So the challenge of not reacting means that I need to be fully present with my compassion, for my own existential feelings of loneliness and heartache. And it means that I need to completely and compassionately, except my lack of control my helplessness over another. And it means that I need to be connected with my guidance to know what is loving to me in that particular situation, whether to actively listen, to reach out, to Sue them, to be with them and just listen to lovingly speak my truth, to be open, to learning with them or to lovingly disengage. I also need to be fully willing to take the loving action on my behalf rather than try to influence the other person in any way.

Well, none of this is easy and it generally takes a lot of practice to move beyond reactivity and into loving action with yourself and with others. It’s absolutely worth the work. Now. I hope you download my new free ebook, the four mistakes that blocks, self love and relationships, and then attend my free webinar, three secrets to loving yourself and others. You can access these on the inner bonding website by scrolling down on the homePage@innerbonding.com.

I send you my love and my blessings.

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