The Whole Person Blog: Week Nine, Day Two, Part 2/2 - Letting Go of Numbing Behaviors
Writings inspired by Brene Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection - Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Super Soul: Rising Strong Brene on Chase Jarvis Live Daring Classrooms Monday, February 24th, 2020
Guidepost # 3: Cultivating a Resilient Spirit - Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
One skill-set I help my clients develop is to understand how they react/respond to life events, by highlighting the chain-reaction of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that ensue.
Event: You had a disagreement with your spouse
Thoughts: He is so controlling, She takes no accountability, Will we ever get better
Feelings: Frustrated, Disappointed, Concerned
Behaviors: Blaming, Isolating, Emotional eating
Many times, the behavioral response is the method used to numb/discharge/project the feelings associated with the event. The alternative is to process the emotions, which requires becoming vulnerable to them and demands tremendous humility, consciousness, and self-control. This task is not for the faint of heart. Brene points out that we cannot selectively numb our feelings, that when we numb the painful ones, we numb the pleasant ones too. For instance, you can't drown out shame without obliterating joy as well.
While numbing behaviors are excellent at temporarily relieving uncomfortable emotions, they don't solve any of the real problems at hand. Whether that's the inability to surrender a need for control, practice empathy, bite your tongue, or extend forgiveness or an apology. Once my clients see their approach is ineffective at resolving the foundational challenges at hand, they become open to exploring constructive alternatives to their protective behaviors.
"She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful." Terri St. Cloud, www.bonesigharts.com