Stop Laying in Your Salad

Sad Woman in Salad
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I was working with a woman this week who’s a smart, hard working and successful human, AND she’s pretty exhausted...

Along with supporting her to go and explore her hormones and gut health, we’ve been taking a peek ‘under the hood’ at her emotional landscape.

We discovered that instead of eating her salad, she’s ignoring it, or laying in the bowl and hoping she gets full… 🥗

Said differently, she has a relationship to her emotions where she either ignores them and ‘gets on with it’ or slips into having a bit of a wallow.

 

Neither option helps her feel ‘well fed’…

 

Like many women currently in their 30’s and 40’s my client was raised by well meaning but not emotionally astute parents, and wasn’t offered empathy or acceptance for her emotions growing up.

Without those things, women can grow up with an injury to the instinctual way they respond to themselves when emotion arises.

I’m passionate about working with women in this place, and speaking about this for female leaders because I’ve journeyed this deeply within myself.

 

When you ‘ignore your salad’ – ignore your emotions, pretend they’re not there and just get on with the tasks of life, there’s a tension that sets in that comes from bracing against what is true in your body and heart.

Eventually this chronic resistance results in numbness in your system and you can end up feeling disconnected and lonely, like you’re going through the motions in life and even burning out.

You also never get close to yourself.  You don’t get to hear the important whispers from your system that are guiding you towards whats possible in your life!

 

Conversely, when you ‘lay in your salad’ – wallow in your emotions, circling around through painful events and replay them over and over, it can be something akin to emotional self harm.  You stay stuck in pain, usually because that pain validates a story about yourself you hold as true, ie ‘I don’t matter’.

Your pain and story become a shield, ‘protecting’ you from risking yourself again in the same way, but ultimately keeping you trapped in a disempowered pattern and state.

 

Either way – disconnection or over-indulgence – you never get to digest the nutrients in the ‘salad’.  You’ll always feel metaphorically hungry, despite having a full bowl in front of you.

Most women I work with who are learning how to have a healthy relationship with their emotions do a combination of both these but will usually err towards one.

 

I was a chronic ‘ignore my salad’ kinda gal, with a side of wallowing.  This instinct injury or wound, combined with the skill gap, absolutely contributed to my experience of burnout, which is what ultimately woke me up to this pattern and forced me to confront the way I was doing things and make a change…

 

So, what do you do instead??

You’ve gotta eat the salad!

Chew it, break it down, swallow and then absorb all the goodness it holds!

 

This means learning to feel your emotions fully, in a constructive way.  Being able to bring warmth, empathy and kindness to yourself.  Being able to feel what you’re feeling while also not getting caught up in the story that so often comes with challenging emotion – just feeling the raw sensation and energy in your body.  Confronting your habitual patterns of avoidance or collapse and choosing to believe in a different possibility for yourself.

This needs to include moving your body in ways that supports this emotion and energy to move and be felt (can be gentle and subtle, raw and loud or anything in between!).  It needs to include placing your hands on your body in a way that feels supportive and connecting, and speaking to yourself in an encouraging, present and warm way.  It needs to include listening to yourself deeply…

This might include crying.  It might include screaming into a pillow.  It might  include shaking your body.  It might include journaling and emptying out all the things you wish you could say to someone…

 

And then, and then, with whatever is left, whatever gem of new understanding you might find at the bottom of the bowl, you get to make a choice.

This whisper from your system that came through your emotional world – what is it asking of you?

If you’re starting out on this journey, I recommend practicing by putting on a song that suits what you’re feeling, closing your eyes, taking some deep breaths and moving your body however feel for the duration of the song.

Get good at this, and it will make you a more effective, creative, clear and self trusting leader.  It will make you a more present, loving and available partner and/or parent.  It will give you more energy.  It will help you feel more passionate about life, and connected to joy.

If your strategy is solid but there’s something missing, or you feel like you’ve tried everything else, perhaps its time to ‘peek under the hood’.

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Never underestimate the power of your past. Because it’s not in the past. It’s here in this living moment with you – woven into your responses, choices and perceptions; baked into your nervous system and psyche through and reinforcement and repetition.

That doesn’t mean your past has to define you, not at all.

Though, you’re lying to yourself if you say ‘its in the past’, yet have done no work to clear the ripples of that past from your system to create space for something new.

Yesterday, in a session with my coach, I went ‘back in time’ to the end of 2020, when I went through an experience that was somewhat challenging for me.

Here is a sublime example

Despite acknowledging the challenge at the time, I realised looking back that I hadn’t fully resolved or digested what happened there.

Part of me stayed frozen in that experience, and on the subtlest of levels, I have gotten in my own way unconsciously ever since.

That past experience was with me in every moment. It informed my capacity and energy levels, choices and perceptions.

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings and gifts link example: and then move forward with your life.

„ QUOTE DESIGN: I CALL THIS PROCESS ‘DIGESTING’ YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES, AND HAVE SPECIFIC PRACTICES I TEACH TO SUPPORT YOU TO DO THIS.“

I call this process ‘digesting’ your past experiences, and have specific practices I teach to support you to do this.

The challenges of the past – and your adaptations – can become like a cage you find yourself living in if you’re not aware, but this digestion process ensures your continued liberation…

Which past experiences do you need to free yourself from?

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings.

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