When I met Miles he was in a long term relationship and working in a high powered job. He described times he experienced overwhelming emotions that would literally bring him to a halt. This meant that at home his relationship was affected. There were times when he and his partner would become stuck and unable to talk. In particular he Miles experienced the frustration of not being able to think about the wider picture.
His goal for transformational coaching was to work through the ‘stickiness’ and find ways to not let overwhelming emotions dominate.
Sit alongside the emotion: The first thing Miles experimented with was trying to stay with the emotion rather than running away from it when with his partner. He began to see that in those moments he could acknowledge what was going on and recognise that his desire to push the situation away was a mechanism coming from a misplaced protection. He tried talking to the part of himself that was emotionally overwhelmed and found this was a really sound strategy . His acknowledgement of what he was feeling replaced his desire to run.
Experiencing it: The natural step for Miles after this was to sit alongside the emotion and acknowledge those strong feelings and their right to exist. That experiencing emotions also helped him to decide if the feeling was of the moment or a historical one that had been triggered. If it was a ‘now’ feeling he could continue to sit and express it. If it was a historic it was important to recognise this was not the right time to deal with it.
Having learned to sit alongside the feeling and experience it, the final step was for Miles to develop an understanding that no feeling is permanent. For Miles, he developed an Inner monologue, saying ‘It will pass, it will pass.” He was then able to turn off the unhelpful voice. This then meant he could become more open to his partner.
As a result of developing these strategies Miles noticed a number of changes.
Firstly, he found he was able to engage with other people better as well as his partner. At work he could hold onto emotions when dealing with difficult people.
Secondly, he became kinder to himself. He was able to do more of the activities he wanted to do. He was able to celebrate his successes. This ability to recognise success helped build his confidence. He was also able to enjoy more of his own company.
Conclusions? More than anything Miles felt a sense of gratitude. Knowing overwhelming emotions were temporary helped him move past moments of ‘stuckness’. The best outcome was he ability to engage with others and after learning new strategies he felt able to stay present with his partner.
#integrity #reflection #courage #transformation