Courage for career women blog

with Vanessa May

How to move through negative emotions

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One of the common things I see in coaching is clients arriving in a tough spot. They share the story of what’s going on and how stuck they feel. They want to know the way out and when this feeling will pass.

It’s such a human place. Who wants to feel those negative feelings of insecurity, inferiority, vulnerability, sadness, regret, fear, overwhelm or anxiety?  

What I’ve come to realise is that when we hold on to those big feelings we prevent ourselves from tuning into what feels good.  

Imagine for a moment those big feelings are a big beach ball that you push underwater. You push it right down but as soon as you let go it bounces high above the water. So, in holding and pushing down those big feelings, one thing is guaranteed, they will resurface.

It’s in accepting and allowing these feelings that you will begin to find the space to inquire about what feels good. The answer for me lies in the release. It feels good to breathe, to move, to decide what’s next.  It feels good to ask myself, “What would love do here?”  

Let’s move this into a business reality. Imagine there’s a big conversation to have, a boundary to assert, an opinion to express, a raise to ask for. You spend hours questioning yourself if you should or shouldn’t speak up. What happens if what you say has a negative impact? If it’s career-limiting? If it hurts someone?  

The more you question, the more anxious you feel. The pressure builds.  

Pay attention to your inner voice

You assess the risks of acting, but do you really listen to yourself?  

Do you pay attention to that inner voice that knows something is off and that something new wants to happen? Do you ask yourself what would feel good here? What will it feel like on the other side when you’ve moved through your fear and acted? What is the risk of doing nothing and maintaining the status quo?

Paying attention to what doesn’t feel good is all very well but there’s also the need to counterbalance and notice what would. Because the truth is you will know. You do know. You may not think you do but you do. 

It might take a little space and time to let the frustration and fear subside but once you breathe into it, something will unfold. 

So, the next time you feel unsure and feel yourself going into the familiar analysis paralysis, stop. Ask yourself, “what would feel good here?” Listen. Ask, “what would love do here?” Then choose.  

Need some inspiration?

Listen to the words of Maya Angelou, love liberates here. 

And if you need help moving through negative emotions, reach out.