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Meeting Emotions: Sharing Our Fear

Meeting Emotions: Sharing Our Fear video.
Hello. In this section, we’ll be looking at Meeting Emotion.
We’ve already discussed in these unprecedented times that how you can acknowledge your feelings, particularly of fear, worry, anxiety. And in this section, I’m going to talk you through what I think is a really helpful model from Kristin Neff, who teaches mindful self-compassion. And I’m going to talk you through that and also refer you to some other resources as we work through. So this is about acknowledging, moving on from that self-awareness, acknowledging your feelings, and how by sharing those with yourself and others, it can enable you to move on and to be in a better place in terms of your own well-being.
Currently, and in life generally, there are many ups and downs. And I know myself, in one day, I can vary from feeling almost elated with the kindness and compassion that we’re seeing, to a great fear and sense of being overwhelmed. And that is OK. In this section, we’ll look at this model that may enable you to also be aware of that, and manage that in a way that is without any judgement, and treat yourself the way you would a good friend if they were sharing that with you.
This model is from Gilbert, and it’s a way of, again, recognising that we would like to be in that safe space, but that sometimes we are challenged. And again, as many of you will recognise, sometimes the greatest learning does occur when we are challenged. But what we want to avoid is feeling overwhelmed, because as you learned in the section around your amygdala hijack, if we are overwhelmed with emotion, if our amygdala is stimulated and charged to the degree that we are full of fear, the fight/flight response is the one that’s kicking in, then our cortex will not be working, so we cannot think straight.
So what we really want you to notice is where you are within this context and to move you from that feeling overwhelmed, or perhaps a bit challenged, and hopefully towards that feeling of safety, both at work and at home.
Victor Frankl, who was an Auschwitz survivor, this is his quote. And I do find it really helpful and quite profound, really, because what he noticed when he survived Auschwitz was about how very little interactions, almost trivial, could have a huge impact on him. And very like what’s happening today, there’s much that is outwith our control. We cannot change much of that, but what we can have an impact in is how we respond. So that is within our grip. And I think this quote really demonstrates that in a way. So we do have the power to choose how we respond. And remembering, too, our thinking, is– are only thoughts. We can change our thoughts, and we can then change our behaviour.
So thinking about this model, Meeting Emotion, you can find out more from Kristin Neff’s website. We have put other resources up here for you. But I think it can be really helpful, particularly with what’s happening at the current time. So it’s intended to be a kind of– I suppose it could be a cycle or a model, not necessarily a hierarchy. You might find that your emotions can change as you go through different periods or with new feelings, but it certainly starts with that self-awareness, so noticing, how am I feeling right now? What is going on? And for many people, that may start with a resistance, a kind of burying your head in the sand of, “No, no, it’s fine.
I don’t really want to talk about how I’m feeling. I’ll just continue to resist.” And we do know from the evidence that that is generally not helpful.
People who we hear a lot around resilience. The ability to bounce back is about being able to recognise and meet your emotion and manage it. People who struggle are often people who bury it and will not acknowledge how they’re actually feeling. So the resisting is the first part. Then it’s about exploring and being curious about what’s going on. “Oh, I’m noticing I’ve got this anxiety in my tummy” or “I’m noticing I’m really feeling– whatever it is you’re feeling– and exploring that, and thinking about perhaps what was the trigger, what– something was said, or you just witnessed perhaps something that is absolutely distressing. Then we move through that to tolerating.
And by that, I mean a way of almost moving through that acceptance, being able to see what’s happening, and have that common humanity with others, share in their experiences. Then we look at allowing your emotion to be there. So it’s OK to feel worried. It’s OK to feel scared. At the minute, that is OK. And then moving on to that acceptance stage. There’s a lovely explanation, if you like, in one of the Kristin Neff’s books that I thought I would just share with you. And it’s in a guest house metaphor, as described by Christine Brähler in 2015.
And that resisting is about struggling against what comes about, as if you were hiding in the house, locking the door, or telling this, go away. Exploring is turning towards that discomfort with curiosity, peeping through the peep hole in the door to see who’s arrived.
Tolerating is about holding. It’s about inviting the guest in, about asking him to remain in the entrance hall of the house. Allowing is where we can let the feelings come and go, allowing the guest to go wherever they want to in the house. And finally, in the acceptance stage, it’s about recognising and valuing all the experiences that we have. So you’d be sitting down with the guest and listening to what he had to say. And finally, a quote from one of my self-compassion teachers, I think from Kathryn Lovewell, who is an English author and trainer. And she talks about “If you name it, you tame it. And if you resist, it persists.”

“If you resist it persists”

We will discuss the importance of acknowledging and sharing our emotions as part of the rollercoaster of life.

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