We all have good and bad qualities and behaviors that directly stem from “Ego.” It is creating that 50/50 balance between them that makes up many parts of our life’s journey.
To have Ego is to be Human; our ego can keep us alive, help us survive, see ways to strive then possibly thrive. Ego can be attached to comparison and judgment, stimulating a need to stay alive and survive. It is also attached to self-awareness (striving) and discipline in mind-management (thriving; next level shit).
The connection of the mind to the body is the relationship between limbic and prefrontal (mind) then parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems (body). These combinations forming what we might refer to as the Ego is our driving force behind the actions we choose to take. Being human means, we can view our humanness, or separate ourselves from thinking and emotions, by observing our thoughts and feelings almost like we are viewing them through a window. This takes discipline in mind-management. But, how do we do this?
Sometimes we need to be just scared, especially if you are in a dangerous situation and need to get out of harm’s way quickly and without thought. That is why—and for good reason—we compare and judge from past experiences using Ego as our default so we can stay alive and survive.
Other times we want to experience no worries; we want to be “okay” with everything and not have reactions as it is possible to become paralyzed from over-analysis. This is what I call “Low-Grade Awareness.” Many people stay in this area because it is comfortable and familiar. Staying here would give you a sense of striving. These two feelings are part of the “Surviving and Striving side of Ego” that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zones.
Instead of just striving, I want to offer that instead of running from emotions such as fear and stress, you can lean into them and see what can happen on the other side of that window. Pull yourself back from the surviving Ego and discipline your mind to view your emotions and thoughts from a distance. This will allow you to see what you are doing and thinking and choose actions that will drive you toward what you want to become and thrive.
Stop, breathe, and question all sides. You are no longer avoiding anything but allowing yourself to fully feel the moment and learn as you lean into it. It’s messy, it’s unpredictable, but as you allow all emotions having awareness of your body and engage in acts of realization with curiosity you will begin to create solutions you never knew that you were capable of before. Homeostasis, a balance in our body, can happen when we become self-aware of the different stages of our Ego and connect them so that they are in-sync. I see it as being a spiritual being, created from a higher Power (for me that is God) learning to traverse the human experience of finding balance with Ego in order to not only survive, but to also Thrive
You need to be the Leading Lady in your own story, or you are allowing others to treat you as characters in their drama. Wanting or needing people to like you is an internal relationship situation and only you can fix it, but you have to want to. This has been called many things; being co-dependent, people pleaser, or an enabler. If you are not out rowing your own boat you are standing on the dock waiting for someone to pick you up in theirs. A leading lady would never say, “I don’t like confrontation, I’m fine with being agreeable, I want people to like me.” These are phrases that other characters and those on the dock waiting for a boat would say.
Let me give you an example of how you might know that you are playing a character in someone else’s drama.
You are at a dinner party with friends, and a lady you barely know walks up to you and says, “I’ve seen you; you are such a know it all.”
Words have been spoken that you might not agree with, in fact you may feel insulted. So, you look to your husband and tell him you want to leave, or you look to a friend and ask for the identity of the woman. Either way, you are now portraying a character in this lady’s drama and not yours. Maybe you decide to leave or maybe you complain about her. Your focus is on her so that makes her the Leading Lady.
Same situation same words have been said. But instead of turning to someone else you could approach this situation in a non-abrasive manner and ask her, “That’s interesting, how do we know each other?” Or, “I can see how that might be true,” or you could simply say, “Thank you for bringing that to my attention.” Many words can be said in this situation, but when you respond with grace and self-respect instead of reacting out of anger, always shows that you are a Leading Lady in your own story.
One of the Al-Anon slogans come to mind when exploring this concept, “Don’t be a door mat.” It’s okay to have moments that you wish you could take back. You are human and the goal is never for perfection but always for improvement. Even Leading Ladies get it wrong now and then and know when to ask for help; that is what makes them a Leading Lady. They are open to the possibilities and are willing to question their own thinking.
In the next three blogs I will explore a few concepts on becoming the Leading Lady to your own story. These concepts will center around:
Roles we play in relationships so you can be aware of the roles and parts you might be playing.
Exploring a growth space compared to a safe space and how vulnerability is going to make the difference.
Plus diving a little deeper into blame and responsibility, it can be tricky to detect when we are the victim, villain or hero.
If you are not already signed up for my Sunday Evening Thoughts and Blog sign up now. Stop being a character in someone else’s drama, waiting on the doc for a boat that may never come. Come and discover insights that will help you become the Leading Lady in your life.
Many of my clients like to say, “well I just feel this way, and I don’t know why.”
Let me share an observation on Emotions vs Sensations that I find helpful and might prove helpful to you. I believe when we step back and question our feelings, we can learn a lot and truly grow from a genuine place of curiosity and non-judgement.
During a coaching session, when I stay open, remain non-judging, have love, ask great questions, and provide a space where my client feels safe a beautiful process takes place. They start to piece together their thoughts and formulate answers to why they were feeling certain emotions and/or sensations.
Sensations are a feeling we get within our body and then we form an awareness of it. Good examples of sensation are hunger, fatigue and pain. These are the “big three” when it comes to sensation. You fall down and hurt yourself then you feel pain, it has been hours since you last ate so you feel hunger, it’s night time after a day of work now you are tired. Sensation is mostly tied to a physical experience that the body is having.
Then there is emotion.
Emotions are feelings created from a thought we are having. Some thoughts are intentional while other thoughts can be unintentional, or more habitual. Examples of forming an emotion are as follows:
It is a beautiful sunny day and you think, “Boy, it’s a beautiful day,” and that makes you happy.
A family member passes away, and you think, “I miss them so much,” so you feel sad.
It’s your wedding day, and you are thinking, “I am marrying my best friend,” so you feel love.
These are three basic examples of emotions— Happiness, Sadness and Love.
Both Emotion and Sensation create the all so familiar “feelings.” Feelings are a big driving factor for why we do or do not do something. For instance, take the phrase “Eating your emotions;” it infers that when you become emotional and want to eat, you aren’t eating because you are hungry, but because you are feeling emotions like boredom, nervousness, happiness, or sadness. Emotional hunger is very different than the stomach-aching sensation of hunger from lack of food.
If we get curious about our thinking process we can start to see that our thinking is driving habits, both unintentional and intentional. Here is a scenario to help visualize this:
You just got dumped over the phone! So, you go to the freezer (or drive to the store!) and get your favorite ice cream, because that is going to make you feel better. Well, it might for a few minutes, at any rate. But, what caused you to actually reach for the ice-cream for comfort?
You were told you were being dumped and you probably thought, “I can’t believe they dumped me!” You probably got sad or mad, or both. You didn’t want to feel these emotions, so you act from that place of sadness because being sad with ice-cream in your belly just sounds better than being sad without it and still alone. Instead of giving yourself permission to feel sad, you try to cover it up with food.
Exploring our feelings is a huge step in creating awareness. Break up the feeling and explore if it is an emotion or a sensation. You can even go deeper and see if it is an intentional or unintentional thought. It’s all about breaking the process down and it’s about acting from a place of awareness.
Stopping and realizing that whatever feeling or emotion I’m experiencing will not hurt me if I just allow myself to feel it and not do something to avoid, react, or resist it has helped me greatly.
Have you ever felt like leaving a room when someone is speaking to you because you don’t want to listen? Have you put a task on your calendar and when it comes time to do it you wanted to do something else? Respond to someone by yelling or using hurtful words, because you are so angry? All of these examples are you processing emotions of discomfort. Most of the time with discomfort we want to react, resist, or avoid, like the examples above. This week’s blog is about allow discomfort to take its place in your life and decide to process it.
Processing discomfort is a skill and I have been challenging myself to do this every chance I get. I will be completely honest, sitting and feeling discomfort is not at all something I want to do on the regular. I would so much rather feel good all the time. Actually, if I can feel just a little bit better than discomfort, I would take that, too. We, and our primal limbic system, want to do all we can to not have to feel discomfort. Anything but that!
If you were to take a moment to look over the ads that pop up on your computer, infesting your phone, surrounding your freeway and city drive you would notice that much that is being advertised to us has to do with selling us on how we can feel better and take away discomfort. Most are temporary fixes. So why do we want this feeling gone? What is it that is so terrible that we are willing to throw money at it to take the emotion away?
Discomfort happens to everyone, even someone who looks as though they have it all together, also at times in their life, has felt discomfort. The difference between them and you might be that they have decided to allow discomfort instead of react, avoid or resist it. For me, the emotion I have on the regular is self-doubt. Let me share how I process this emotion of discomfort.
I have a task before me, writing this week’s blog, and I am thinking, “I don’t know enough about this topic.”
Then I have the feeling Self-doubt.
So, I spin in thought, do more research, get up and get a snack, call my sister, get on Facebook, go for a walk. My result? Yup, you guessed it. No blog, or it took me twice to four times as long to write it because I allowed the feeling self-doubt to be in control.
Here is me allowing self-doubt in a healthy way:
The same thought comes up and I again have self-doubt. But instead of letting that emotion and thought take hold, I recognize I am having self-doubt, that my mind spins when I feel this emotion and the action does not produce the result I want.
I want to do my blog because it is a commitment I made to myself and to the subscribers who receive it. I am going to time myself for 5 minutes and allow this emotion to process through me. Sitting in self-doubt on purpose. 5 minutes pass. Still feeling a bit of self-doubt but not nearly as strong as before. Perhaps if I think instead, “It’s time to write my blog, I can do this.” My new thought makes me feel encouraged. So, I begin to write my blog, allow the writing mistakes to take place, and in 1 hour have it complete, and ready to be edited.
So, as a result, not only is my blog completed, I feel my words I wrote are of encouragement. Which in turn shows me I can do hard things by building my resilience to allow myself to sit in purposeful discomfort.
Discomfort doesn’t go away, but you grow resilience for it. You can learn how to lean into it and process the emotion contributing to your discomfort as you move forward.
About a month ago I was talking to a fellow massage therapist and he was sharing information he had read in a book titled “Quench”. A discussion began after I had mentioned that I was thinking I might be dehydrated, even though I drink at least a gallon of water a day, actually I might be diluted, but I digress.
A few points stood out that truly resonated with me, and after reading its reviews, I decided it was something I needed to explore further. It was informative and provided me answers to some of my issues. There were takeaways that I felt ready to include in my regular routine. This book isn’t just a sit down and read, then shelve, kind of book. It’s more of a “sit down, highlight, and take notes” kind of book. It’s a great wealth of data and information such as recipes.
Here are my top 4 takeaways from the book “Quench” By Dana Cohen, MD and Gina Bria:
Oil and water do mix – The water we take in needs to break through our cell’s membrane in order for us to actually hydrate that cell. That membrane is made out of oil. If we are not consuming enough healthy fats the water will not be able to replenish our cells. So, all those bathroom breaks might be due to the fact that you are avoiding fats!
Gel water – If you truly want hydration it will take more than those 8 glasses a day. Gel water, aka living water, is essential to your hydration. Think the Sun and Plants, or hydration with an electrical charge. By simply adding a tablespoon of Chia seeds to your water in the morning with a squirt of lemon or adding a green smoothie to your day with cucumber, kale or spinach in it, Or a fantastic bone broth recipe (thereby getting true gel: collagen) you super-charge your body’s hydration.
Time to Twist – Micromovement throughout your day is another key factor to hydration. Just because you hit the gym doesn’t mean you are off the hook for this one. Think of it as a little stop in your day to think and then move. These little movements, like turning your neck to look behind you, are important for keeping your joints lubricated and helping your body eliminate waste. It’s not all about keeping it in but cycling the bad stuff out.
Love me some Fascia – It’s our body’s superhighway of connection. Fascia covers everything from our muscle to organs to bones. Keeping hydrated is key to increasing flexibility and even healing faster after a sprained ankle. One way to help the fascia is dry skin brushing.
Side note: From a massage therapist’s point of view, moving the fascia is key in a good massage. So do your massage therapist and yourself a favor, stay hydrated. You will get more from your massage, because your therapist can do more for your skin and muscle.
Another piece of good information that I feel was helpful in the book was about things to avoid, like foods that will absorb water and not in a good way. Think of a piece of bread in a cup of water, absorbing it. Now if you are 8 glasses of water a day gal, or guy, don’t just stop, instead add a few of the hydration tips above to it and let your thirst, dry skin, or tight fascia thank you.