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Episode 083: Live Happier Q&A (April Edition)

I am answering listener questions…well actually only 1 question but an important one. If you are struggling with acknowledging your feelings…this one is for you.

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Transcript:

Hey everyone. Excited to be back here for yet another episode of the Happiness Hacks Podcast. Today, we’re getting into some of the Q&As that you have all submitted. If you’re interested in submitting another Q&A, please go to live-happier.com\podcast, and there will be a link there for you to submit your question that I will be answering in upcoming episodes. I’m going to try to do these at least once a month. If I get a lot more questions, I’ll be doing them more frequently and might be ending each episode with a Q&A. Who knows? We can do anything we want, but for right now, I’m devoting whole episodes to these Live Happier Q&As as they come in.

And before we get into the Q&A, I want to do a quick plug for my Happier Approach Mentoring Community that just was launched a couple weeks ago. I am loving this community. It’s slowly getting started. It takes a while for people to start contributing and sharing their thoughts and what’s going on with them, but wow. Some of the conversations in the community are just amazing.  And I really could not have asked for more, so I’m really excited. I would love for you to join us.  Why I created the community was I wanted a space for people to be able to come after they’ve read the book or in the middle of reading the book, The Happier Approach and be able to ask questions and practice the concepts that are in the book.

I designed the Happier Approach Mentoring Community as an addition to the book as a way; when you’re in your life, and you’re getting stuck, you can come into the community and practice, ask questions, get help around the concepts because my bookshelves are packed with self-help books. Some I’ve heard. Some I haven’t. The self-help books are amazing, but what they don’t do after you’ve read them is help you implement them. Because of the nature of a book, that’s just not what it’s supposed to do, and so I wanted to build a continuation of that, and that is why I built this Happier Approach Mentoring Community.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can go to live-happier.com\hamc. So live-happier.com\hamc for Happier Approach Mentoring Community. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well so you can find there.

For 2018, you can have access to the community for the full year for $99. It is a special beta price as I’m building the community. I think it averages out to be like $11 a month or $12 a month, so it’s pretty cheap considering that you have someone holding your hand, and there are Q&A video calls that I’ll be leading. I’m in the community regularly, answering questions and asking questions as well, so it’s just a great place to build on these concepts that we talk about here in the Happiness Hacks Podcast, and I hope to see you there.

As always, if you have any questions, email me NancyJane@Live-Happier.com  I love to hear from you.

Okay, so let’s get to the question. I’m only going to be doing one question today because it is a doozy of a question, and so I wanted to take some time with it. The question is around the acknowledging your feelings part of ASK, and that is the first step in ASK when you hear your inner monger talking, or you feel that anxiety is coming on, is to acknowledge what you’re feeling. And so, they wrote it and said, “This feelings thing, you know, I’m not a fan. I get stuck in my feelings, so it doesn’t work for me. Once I acknowledge the feeling, it goes on and on and on and on. Help.”

So I wanted to say I totally understand that. I get what you’re saying about the fear around the acknowledging your feelings. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that this person that struggles with this, particular acknowledging your feelings, and I’m sure there are a lot of us out there that struggle with this as well, the reason you’re getting stuck, and I doubt you’re getting stuck in the feeling. I bet you’re getting stuck in the analysis of the feeling.

So, the A step is acknowledging your feelings. It’s not analyzing your feelings. It’s not justifying your feelings. It’s not figuring out the source of your feelings. It’s not debating whether the feeling is appropriate or not. It’s not diving into your past to see where the feeling originated from or where the trigger came from. It is simply acknowledging that you’re having a feeling and being able to label what that feeling is. That’s it. It’s very simple, and in its simplicity, it becomes complex, I realize.

So the simplicity of it is that something happens, and your monger starts chatting, so you start to feel the anxiety. Maybe your chest is tight, or you notice you’re pushing, pushing, pushing, kind of in an almost manic state, you’re pushing yourself so hard. Or, you notice you’re procrastinating big time on something, and so you stop, and you acknowledge your feelings.

So let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re getting ready for a review at work. You’ve done your part of the review, and you’re waiting to hear from your boss and have the meeting about how the review’s going to go. And your monger steps in and is like, “This review is going to be terrible. You totally dropped the ball on this and this and this.” And starts labeling all the stuff that you’ve done wrong or starts saying, “You don’t have enough work right now, and so maybe they’re going to notice that they’re going to need to fire you.” And is just sending you all kinds of messages.

And so if you stop and you acknowledge what you’re feeling, up is going to come fear that you’re going to lose your job, but also a feeling of lack of control, a feeling of insecurity, a feeling of unworthiness, a feeling of doubt. Those feelings are what’s coming up for you. And so, that’s all you need to do is acknowledge that you’re having those feelings.

What we tend to do is say, “Oh, I’m feeling doubtful.” Or, “I’m feeling insecure.” And then we jump in with a justification as to why we shouldn’t be feeling insecure, why it’s silly to feel insecure, why that feeling isn’t appropriate. Or, we jump in the other way in justifying exactly why we should feel insecure and all the reasons that prove we should feel insecure, so we get stuck in this debate of whether the feeling is valid or not.

And so as much as you can, I want you to stop doing that and acknowledge, “Wow, I’m feeling insecure right now.” That’s it. The power of being able to say, “Wow, what I’m feeling right now is _____ what’s happening for me.” That is the truth. Because what happens is, we don’t trust ourselves, and that is the main reason that our mongers have so much power. We listen to this inner critic voice telling us how wrong we are, how terrible we are, how we missed the mark, where we’ve failed, what we haven’t accomplished that we should’ve, and on and on.  It’s constantly being vigilant about everything that’s going wrong.

And so, if we trust ourselves, we can honor what’s really happening for us.  Because our monger puts us in this trance-like state, we don’t really trust what’s coming up for us, and that’s the point of ASK because the more we trust ourselves, and the more we respect where we’re coming from, the less we need this voice telling us how terrible we are.

So part of the reason the monger is there is because we’ve unconsciously allowed it to run the show, and we’re taking back control by learning how to quiet the monger. We’re taking back the control, and I use the character of the biggest fan, to represent what that control looks like. Part of the way we take back control is honoring what it is we’re feeling, honoring our process, not constantly trying to hijack it and justify it. That’s why, in the Happier Approach book, I talk a lot about gratitude and think positive and have self-compassion, and how those exercises, have, in a lot of ways, hijacked our ability to trust ourselves.  Because instead of allowing the feeling to come and go all the way through, to say, “Yeah, I am feeling insecure. Oh, insecurity. Ick.” That’s hard to feel. Instead of allowing us to have that feeling go all the way through, we immediately jump in with, “Be grateful you have a job.” Or, “Think positive. It’s not going to be that bad. Come on. It’s just a review. What’s the big deal?” And that is not what the A acknowledge what you’re feeling step is for.

That step is merely to simply say, “I’m feeling this.” And so for me, as I’ve said in the past, that’s why I like the idea of Oh Sweet Pea, because that’s the voice of my biggest fan, and I get her started in the acknowledging piece. I bring her in with the phrase, “Oh sweet pea.” And the minute I say that to myself, ’cause I’ve said it so many times, my body literally relaxes because I’m like, “Oh, I don’t have to be on guard here. This is going to be nice and kind and accepting. I’m ready to get into that space.” And so she says, “Oh Sweet Pea, no wonder you’re insecure. This is a tough thing. It’s a review. No one likes to be reviewed. Those are hard.” That’s it. You don’t have to justify why it’s hard. You don’t have to prove that it’s hard. The point is, you’re feeling insecure, and that’s all that matters.

So, you’re feeling tired. You’re feeling sad. You’re feeling scared. Yes, you are. That’s okay, and you don’t have to get stuck in proving that it’s okay, or proving it away. You just have to acknowledge that that feeling is there, and so that is why the acknowledge is just one piece of this puzzle. A, acknowledge what you’re feeling. And then you slow down and get into your body ’cause that allows you to relax a little, get into your body, see the world differently, and then it’s K, kindly pull back to see the big picture.

Pulling back to see the big picture is then the place where you can say, “Okay, it’s one review. Could it go that bad? Probably not. You just talked to your boss. He was friendly. It’s probably going to go fine, and if it doesn’t, this is what we can do.” And you can pull back and see that big picture.

But if you have done that before you’ve slowed down and got into your body and before you’ve acknowledged what’s going on, all you end up doing is fighting with your monger, and you end up getting in an argument with them. So yeah, you do get stuck in the acknowledge what you’re feeling stage because you’re justifying what you’re feeling. You’re not simply acknowledging it.

So that’s the challenge, and that’s why I wanted to give you some time on this subject. I’ve talked about it in the past, I realize, and this might be repetitive, but I think it really deserves a repeat.  I’m so glad you asked the question because this is a key step in rebuilding that trust. Recognizing,  I don’t have to talk myself out of my feelings. I don’t have to pretend they don’t exist. I can acknowledge what they are and not be scared of them because they are signs. They are things that are happening in the world.

Now, that doesn’t mean I need to act on them. That doesn’t mean I need to jump out and say, “I can’t take this. I can’t do the review. This can’t happen.” No, no, no. You’re just acknowledging. You don’t have to take action at all. And so that’s what happens, I think. A lot of times we think if we acknowledge the sadness, or we acknowledge the anger, then immediately, that means we’re going to have to go do something to express the anger, and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m only asking you to acknowledge it. Simply to label it, and see where that takes you.

So, I hope that that helped answer that question and gave you some different ways of thinking about it.  Understanding that feelings are about trust and paying attention to what it is we’re feeling because, for those of us who have a loud monger, we have spent our whole lives running from that feeling. We haven’t acknowledged it. We haven’t built that trust, and so that’s what the ASK system is helping you do, is rebuild that trust.

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