Why Feeling Feelings Is Important

Since quite some time I’m trying to write an article about taking responsibility for one’s feelings. About three months ago at a writing meetup I’m attending every so often I thought ‘Okay, this article is nearly done. Just the final touch and off we go.’

Well, things turned out differently. An honest self-confession brought me to the realization: I don’t really have an idea about what I’m feeling, so how can I write about it?! 

Yes, it sounds bizarre – to me too. How can I not know what I feel? 

There was something going on, yes. There was anger. There was rage. There was excitement. But what did these emotions want to tell me? And is there anything that lies deeper?

The Seven-Minutes-Experiment

So, I started off with the Seven-Minutes-Experiment. Now I have a slightly better idea about what I feel. But this is an ongoing process. Every day I have to remind myself to take the time to feel.

What I did find out is that there is not always a necessity to act. It is the opposite: I obtain peace of mind by non-acting. By just observing I’m automatically detaching from my feelings. Because feelings are like thoughts – they come and go. They don’t define me.

Okay, where to start? I might feel cold or tired, agitated, overwhelmed or nervous. By nature these feelings are not connoted in a negative or positive way. They just ‘are’.

Our mind likes to label our feelings. It marks them as good or bad. This way our mind creates its own version of reality. And this version of reality dictates how we experience the world, how we make decisions and how we interact with our environment.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important that we categorize. The problem arises when we overrate our own judgement and we identify with this perspective of reality.

This causes stress. The mind takes over. It judges and judges. 

This way we create a barrier between ourselves and reality.

This is a difficult one. On the one hand I have to feel my feelings. Feelings are something natural. They give me a hint of what I need or what I am supposed to be doing in a given situation. They show me a direction.

On the other hand I have to be careful not to over-interpret them. Many times I would be better off by stoically ignoring them instead of labeling them and ‘acting out’ – verbally or ‘operatively’.

But let’s go a step back:

What Is The Difference Between Feelings And Emotions?

Oh boy, do I really want to open this jar? This is a huge topic. It is so complex and there are several approaches and even contradictory explanations of the relation between feelings and emotions. So, please research yourself if you want to draw a wider picture.

Etymologically the word emotion comes from the french word ‘to move’. Something is ‘in motion’ whereas a feeling is considered more as a state.

While an emotion passes quickly, a feeling can persist or better say reoccur over our whole lifetime when triggered for example by an emotion.

As you see – emotions and feelings are interconnected, but still something different.

The only way to really understand the difference between feelings and emotions is through neuroscience.

And this is pretty down to earth.

Emotions are a biochemical response – mainly brought on its way by the Amygdala and other subcortical regions of the brain. They originally helped us as a species to react quickly to possible danger or reward.

A feeling on the other hand is subjectively influenced by our former experience. They are processed in other areas of our brain, but as they are influenced by cognitive input it is hard to really locate them. 

While an emotion is a physical reaction of the body to a stimulus a feeling manifests psychologically through our experience. This process is very complex. It can be more described as a psychological conditioning.

If you imagine a theatre play emotions would be the scenes whereas a feeling would be the genre.

You could say feelings ‘plot’ emotions on the canvas of our mind. 

How Do Feelings Find Their Way Into Our Lives?

I summed up two perspectives:

Our background: What we have experienced as a child conditions us and our feelings. It determines how we act in relationships, what we think about ourselves and about others. It determines our whole experience of the world. Freud and his disciples knew that if we want to understand ourselves fully we have to go back to our traumatic experiences and feel the emotion that we faced during this traumatic event. This helps us to process and integrate the marks of our journey. Getting to know these ‘old’ emotions helps us to understand why we react in a certain way in a given situation.

Our needs: Rather our needs are fulfilled or not conditions the way we ‘feel’ about ourselves and the world. What are our needs? Yes, there is maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When we are tired, hungry or alone we lose our balance easily and we might react emotionally. Rosenberg extends or better say elaborates the list of needs even more: Next to physical nurturance every human has the need for autonomy (following own goals and values), the need for ‘celebration’ (celebration of the creation of life and its fulfillment, and also the celebration of losses, e.g. of loved ones), the need for integrity (authenticity, creativity, meaning and self-worth), the need for interdependence (community, appreciation, intimacy, emotional safety, contribution to the enrichment of life, honesty, support, trust,…), the need for play (fun, laughter) and the need for what he calls ‘spiritual communion’ (beauty, harmony, order, inspiration, peace). 

With the definition of these needs and which feelings arise rather they are met or not Rosenberg lies the foundation for nonviolent communication: “The intend is to remind us about what we already know – about how we humans were meant to relate to another – and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.”

So what is there? We have a body and we have needs that make us feel one way or another. And we have things that happen to us that make us feel one way or another. And in the end we have our thoughts that influence the way we feel.

So far so good. Life should flow smoothly if we would just listen to our feelings. But a lot of times it doesn’t, because we distract ourselves.

How Do We Disconnect From Our Feelings?

A lot of times what we call ‘our feelings’ are just projections. We make other people responsible for not being heard, not being loved, for not being sufficient. More than anything they are often reponses of our old conditioning. Our little hurt self that wants attention. 

Rosenberg explains: “Judgements, criticism, diagnoses, and interpretations of others are all alienated expressions of our own needs and values. When others hear criticism, they tend to invest their energy in self-defense or counterattack. The more directly we can connect our feelings to our needs, the easier it is for others to respond compassionately.”

At the beginning I thought: Okay, I’m aware of this. I will just change it. I don’t judge. I don’t re-act. I only observe and take the time to understand my needs.

I found out that this is easier said than done. As I explained earlier – there is a fundamental biochemical process going on in our body. We don’t change that easily.

Sometimes we deny feelings subconsciously. Most likely we deny the uncomfortable feelings, because our brain can’t be bothered with finding a solution for an unsatisfying situation. 

Why? Because it wants to protect us from discomfort. We make ourselves vulnerable by confessing our deepest needs, because they might not be met. This is called coherence. Our brain likes convenience. It wants us to experience our life as ‘comprehensive’ as possible. This is why it prefers to stick to behavioural patterns that ‘work’. And a lot of times these patterns are not very useful.

Most of the time we are craving for something or we lack something and we are trying to find a ‘quick fix’.

A quick fix can be work, our phone, sex, drugs, TV or any other type of entertainment.

The problem is that these distractions lead us further away from ourselves. I don’t say they are generally bad, but they can be if they help us to avoid confrontation with our feelings.

“Avoidance is never an option in order to live a happy life,” said Margarete Paul, author of the book “Healing your aloneness”.

By avoiding our feelings we deny ourselves.

‘Not taking part’ can also be a form of denial. By avoiding new experiences we prevent ourselves from failure – but also from feeling ourselves.

Why Should We Better Connect With Our Feelings?

If you detach yourself from your feelings you will never fully feel yourself. You will never arrive in the present moment. You will never know what it means to be alive.

The more you become aware of your feelings the more confidence you get. If you are able to accept your vulnerability you have nothing to be afraid of. Social anxiety won’t be necessary anymore as you are not looking for approval.

Your nervous system relaxes if you are honest with yourself. Confess and accept anger or rage or sadness and automatically you will find release.

Additionally your body starts working in its natural power, because energy is being released.

The Real Homework

I found out that this is what it’s all about. I get to know myself by coming to my senses, by feeling myself.

Daniel Goleman, expert in emotional intelligence, expresses why this is so crucial for all of us:

“To understand human nature in general it helps enormously to first understand ourselves, which takes self-awareness. With emotional self-awareness, we recognize our feelings and how they impact us, which helps us, for example speak from the heart in a way that resonates with other people. Self-awareness also underlies effective emotional mastery, as well as empathy– we can only understand other’s emotions if we understand our own.” 

About six years ago, when I ended an unhealthy relationship, I started off with my journey of self-discovery. 

The following years were only about ‘toughening up’. I thought I have to get stronger. I thought I have to toughen up and this is the only way to get through this life. 

I was wrong. What I had to discover was my vulnerability. 

Through a lot of painful experiences I finally realized that I have to do my real homework. I have to learn to manage my emotions, I have to deal with my feelings instead of numbing them.

Stop creating yourself. Be who you are.

 

About The Physical Aspect of ‘Being Preoccupied’ – A Personal Report

I occupy myself.
I’m occupied with myself.
I’m occupied with being myself.
I’m occupied with being occupied with being myself.
I’m occupied with an image of myself.

I’m standing on top of Hirschgarten Bridge in Munich. The traffic is buzzing around me.

I’m typing the beginning of a new article into my phone. Interestingly about ‘listening’.

To be honest, I was not able to listen to anything at all, because I was so harassed by my thoughts or let’s say ‘haunted by my own demands’:

“It’s really time to finish a new article.” “You have to prepare the photo project.” “And when are you going to practice italian again?!”

The circus of my mind blasted. My brain clutter occupied all my senses.

In a few minutes I would meet my friend Patrick to have a chat about a photography project in cooperation with some founders from Munich.

All of a sudden my stomach is contracting. I feel like I’m completely hungover – without having been drinking anything.

Something else happened the day before that drained my energy: After my first ever full-body Thai Massage I cracked.

The Thai Masseuse: “Relax your muscles.”
Me: “I can’t.”
My body: “What the fuck are you talking about?!”

The massage was very painful. I expected that. But what happened four hours after the massage blew my mind.

I was writing on my computer at a co-working space when my lower abdominals started to burn slightly. I just took a deep breath to ease the ache.

A few minutes later I could feel a stinging pain circling around my navel. It started from my diaphragm circumnavigating my ribcage down to the core of the muscles around my pelvis.

“You have to move your body,” Patrick who I was working with tried to encourage me. So I moved – even though all I wanted was to lay down.

The pain started to hulk up. I was whining and shouting at the same time while my legs could barely hold my upper body.

It became unbearable. Instead of the U-Bahn I had to take a taxi home. The driver nearly hospitalized me. “Fuck no, they wont help me! Drive me home!!!,” I protested loudly.

In cold sweat and tears – after a lengthy traffic jam – I finally reached home.

I needed help.

The only person I could think of was Ralf – the only fitness trainer I know. Despite the fact that we hadn’t talked in ages I dialed his number.

With self-evidence he examined the pain with me. “Your body releases tension. Of course it hurts,” he scotches my concerns.

Apparently a muscle tension or better say ‘adherence’ released amongst my inner organs. Finally ‘loosened’ they fell into place again. “Actually the masseuse did a good job, if this is the result…,” Ralf lifted my spirits pointing out that this tension must have persisted for years.

Just by talking to him I relaxed – as good as I could. I nearly had to laugh about myself now.

You might ask yourself: “What does this have to do with ‘being preoccupied’?”

Through this experience I realized HOW much I’m gripping. How much I can not ‘let go’ of the image I have of myself.

Back to Hirschgarten bridge:

I’m standing there with my phone in my hand trying to ‘get something done’.

It is a beautiful day. The blue of the sky covers the city like a cozy blanket. The sun gives her warmest warmth possible on this early November day.

In the distance I can see the famous twin towers of Frauenkirche. I turn my face towards the sun to catch some UV beams with closed eyes.

When I open them again I can see the tops of the mountains at the end of the street southwards. As the traffic lights stop the cars next to me this view let’s me repose too.

Gentle release is crawling up my spine. It broadens my chest and opens my heart. Smoothly my body is warming up from head to toe – and so does the expression on my face. Even my feet are warm now.

This was a moment of grounding.

This moment on the bridge reminded me that everything I need is right here. I can perceive the magic of the moment if I stop being occupied with ‘doing me’.

What do I have to do instead?

“Relaxxx,” the Thai masseuse would say.

“Open up to the moment.” “Allow yourself to be present in order to heal.” This is the advice I would give to myself.

Why is this all so fundamental?

I’m taking myself so serious that it hurts. Already during the massage I could feel the spots, where energy channels are blocked in my body. I understood how much I’m physically inhering my body. The clinging of my mind manifests in my physical body.

This is the opposite of surrendering to the moment.

I will never increase my productivity in a state of stress. I will never find connection with myself or anybody else in a state of stress. I will never be happy in a state of stress. And on top of it: I will never ‘be myself’ or ‘in my full power’ in a state of stress. Lao Tzu said: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

And most fundamentally: Stress is the root cause of illness (dis-ease). If I compromise my relaxation I’m jeopardizing my health. There is absolutely nothing more important than my body.

I’m struggling with stress ever since. Already in the first grade I remember my sweaty feet. Nobody cared about it during this time. But now I have the power to care for my stress-level myself.

My body showed me several times that I have to relax. In the past I suffered from heart-burn. There were times when I could only eat grated carrots and apple because my body wouldn’t digest a thing without making my throat burn like fire.

A couple of years later I could barely move my chest, because my muscles had built a so called ‘armoring,’ how Wilhem Reich, the initiator of body-oriented psychotherapy describes it.

Since years I’m carrying these tense muscles around. Yoga, meditation and targeted exercises help me to constantly release this tension.

Maintaining my health – more than anything else needs to be my priority. But not in a way of “I have to eat healthy”. “I have to quit smoking.”
No, fuck no. Well, of course smoking is bad, but I don’t want to make my non-smoking my addiction. Otherwise I will become occupied with ‘trying to eat healthy’ or ‘being a non-smoker’.

It is more important to listen to the signs of my body, to allow myself rest, when I need it, to listen to what my body really wants instead of being occupied with what I think I need to want.

A couple of months ago I wrote a similar article. Please check it.

What you think is your ‘goddamn right’ is your prison.
What you think is your desire is your addiction.
What you think is your self-expression is forcing your will on others.

Will I finally shatter my resistance and surrender to the battle?

 

Omnipotence

My ego wants something the whole time.

It wants to get better.
It wants to feel better.
It wants to be recognized.
It wants to defend itself.
It wants something different.
It wants me to be different.
It wants to hold on to something.
It wants company.
It wants distraction.

My intuition only wants peace.

 

My Peace is My Priority

I found a treasure in my heart and I will never let go of it again.

I’m taking my teachers serious. I treat my body as a temple.
I’m communicating clear.

All the lows are temporary.

What other people think, want or do is none of my business.
Nobody apart from myself knows what I need.
Nobody apart from myself has to understand me.
I’m not responsible for other people’s feelings nor am I responsible for their decisions.

My inner joy is my strongest force.
My playfulness is my power.
My love for life is stronger than anything else.

I don’t need to be perfect.
I don’t have to take advice.
I can just sit and smile.

With ease I welcome every situation and every encounter.
I’m pioneering my life according to my own rules.

Society is the last thing that can impose pressure on me.
As long as I feel joy I will guide my own way.
Nobody can take the life away from me apart from life itself.

I’m owning my experience of the world.
I’m owning my power.
I’m a child and I’m able to adjust to every situation.

I accept life as it is.
I’m finding comfort in the eye of the storm.

I’m not turning blunt.
I will feel even more.

 

Follow Up – Feeling Feelings

An update of my “Seven Minute Experiment” is long overdue. Honestly – this is much more than a Micro Habit Challenge. My whole world literally comes crashing down on me – in a good way. I’d like to call it a healthy disillusionment.

What did I do? I started a small diary of my feelings in my notebook. Everyday I write down which emotions I felt on this day. In moments of extraordinary joy or pain I take the time to sit for seven minutes with these feelings. Afterwards I’m documenting it.

This helps me tremendously to get a better understanding of what is going on inside of me. It helps me to get a realistic image of my emotional state – this is the healthy disillusionment. I’m starting to face my reality.

It is crazy what kind of process this experiment had started. And how something so simple can be so fundamental. Actually I have to go a couple of steps back. There was a challenge that I called “Am I ready to stop judging?” The answer was “no”. But the only person I’m judging is myslef. And I found out why.

Yeah, there is a lot of perfectionism and blaming going on. But most of all. The reason why at times I feel so detached from myself is a lack of connection with my gut feelings, my core, my inner child – however you want to call it. A lot of times instead of recognizing what I actually want in a given situation I rather judge what’s best. My mind makes a decision before I can even listen what my inner self wants to tell me.

As soon as I take the time to listen I’m accepting these feelings as they are – without judgement from the mind.

I’m trying to sum up some insights:

Boost Of Positive Emotions

When I started this experiment I thought I would go through all my negative emotions. The idea was that I would ‘sit with the pain’ and see how it evolves. What I realized was that I don’t allow enough space for my positive emotions. Once I’ve started to allow myself the seven minutes in moments of exuberant joy I’ve started to raise my energy level. Even thinking about these moments now boosts my energy level.

I’m Actually Quite Happy

Through ‘watching out’ for my feelings I get a better – and more realistic – image of how I feel today and in my life. Also it made me realize that I’m not as depressed as I thought I am. And if I have negative emotions, anger or rage these seven minutes help me to see the source of the pain. Actually I have moments of joy and pleasure (from the small things) every day.

Feelings Are Normal

It might be a bit early to point out but I can feel my emotional intelligence increasing. The better I understand myself the better I’m able to understand what other people go through. In the end we all go through the same stuff in our lives. Looking at my feelings helps me to integrate moments of loneliness, confusion or pain without judging them.

Arrival in the Now

As soon as I observe I arrive in the presence. This doesn’t only apply to things, but also to emotions. It is incredible which aspects of my life are changing through watching my feelings.

 

Seven Minute Experiment – Setting The Stage

Personal development is a matter of constant effort. It is a learning process that requires constant work.

I fell in love with this process, but recently I had been neglecting it a little bit.

Luckily the universe provides me with the lessons that I need to learn – over and over again.

I understood that these lessons are the process. There is no final solution. Or to put it differently: There is a constant solution.

These lessons are the solution. Or to use the words of Ram Dass and Timothy Leary “We don’t have a problem. We have a plan.”

Recently I’ve been a bit stuck. Trapped in my own perfectionism I was trying to force purpose. I was so busy ‘uncluttering stuff’ that I forgot to keep doing the work (which is part of the plan).

“Making an honest inventory.” “Writing my heart out.” – Helping me to grow. This is still the idea of growthbuddy.rocks. And on the way I’m trying to inspire a ‘growth-mindset’.

Right now I feel like I block my own progress with all the ‘intellectualizing’ and the pressure to finish hundreds of articles.

I’m working on articles about resilience and taking responsibility for oneself’s feelings while building up resistance against my own truth.

What do I mean by that? My own truth is my direct connection. It is my ability to connect with the world from a natural point – without trying to control or to be somebody.

I behaved like I arrived at this point. Like I mastered it. But in reality my confusion reached a new level and also my perfectionism and my addiction to predict the future was still holding me in chains.

I’m just a kid playing with the universe, with the world, with other people, with my own potential – without understanding the rules.

Once in a while it is good to get an outlook to the mountain without peak, but now it’s time to do my homework again.

Back To Work

I noticed it when I tried to finish my article about ‘taking responsibility for one’s feelings’:

I can’t feel feelings. In many situations I don’t know what I need. Probably because I am so distracted with organizing my life and stuff. And also because I’m so busy thinking of other people’s needs and what I can do for them. (Codependency)

I’m out of touch. Out of touch with reality. But mainly out of touch with myself. And this is why I can only express my confusion.

“The Seven Minute Experiment”

My work for now is it to get back in touch with my feelings. It is funny, because I’m talking about love and heart a lot.

In the last few days during yoga and at the climbing gym I found out that I have absolutely no connection with my heart. Well, not absolutely, but definitely I’m not acting ‘from the heart’. The muscles around my ripcage are so tight, there is absolutely no room for me. No room to enter. And this is the source of all other pain that I’m experiencing in my life.

As some of you might know I like challenges. It is time for another Micro Habit Challenge. This time it is more a Macro One:

Ha! And there we go. I was trying to define the difference between feelings and emotions. And I couldn’t. There are different definitions of it.

As far as I understood an emotion is something caused by the external. Some event we react too. This emotion can also access our deep rooted fears or desires and all of a sudden it causes a feeling within our chest.

Feelings are something we have learnt. Feelings that we feel are conditioned. For example some events trigger an old child memory and all of a sudden we feel a certain way in a certain situation without doing anything about it.

I don’t remember where I read or heard it, but apparently it takes seven minutes to ‘go through’ a feeling.

In the next 30 days I want to have a closer look at myself. This is really basic work and I’m hoping to get more clarity around the topics of ‘integration’ and ‘needs’.

Acutally I’m already a few days into the challenge. I started a diary for my feelings about a week ago. The starting date of the challenge is September 12th.

Trust in the uncomfortable.
Trust that everything that doesn’t belong to you will leave you.
Trust that everything that belongs to you stays with you.

 

What Would Happen To Your Life If You Turned All The “Shoulds” Into “Dos”?

What would happen if you would pursue the thing you are the most interested in? What if you would choose the one thing you really want to have learnt at the end of your life?

Just imagine it for a moment. How would you feel? And now imagine you wouldn’t pursue this goal?

Yeah, you might fail. Yeah, maybe you will loose all your money, but what if you wouldn’t ever have tried?

What is holding you back from doing it? Is the voice in your head telling you that you don’t have time? You are not good enough? You were never good at it? You don’t have money? You are too old? Your friends won’t like you anymore?

“Your thoughts become your reality.” Yeah right, we’ve heard this a hundred of times.

Only now I understand how fundamental this impact is. If I think negative about myself, if I don’t trust myself, if I continuously think I’m not good enough I will never achieve anything. I will never feel content or satisfied with myself.

More than that: Self-hatred is what manifests. If I don’t change these thoughts I will never manifest self-worth. This is something I have to generate from the core of myself.

You might ask: ‘What does self-worth have to do with pursuing your passion?’

Everything! I have an example for this: Since some time I’m offering coaching in the field of my profession. I give storytelling and video production workshops.

But the beginning was rough. I thought “I’m not good enough.”, “What if I don’t have an answer to all the questions?” The first time I was really fucking nervous. I thought I can never master this. I can never carry the audience. I can never teach anything.

Now, nearly two years later I did it five times and my perspective changed completely.

The other day one girl from a course last year honoured me with the best compliment I’ve ever received in my entire life: “I learnt from you because you are so passionate about it.”

What did I do? I helped her editing a video. Together we shortened a four minute clip to 40 seconds. She told me the way I did it was so inspiring – so calm, with patience and sure instinct.

This blew my mind.

How did I get there? Yes, I learnt the software in university. Yes, I did a lot of internships. What happened? I just liked it. I started to experiment. I edited as much as I could and over the years snipping moving images became a second nature.

But how did this happen? I liked editing, so I edited.

“Make your passion your addiction.”

Now that I write it down here it sounds like a romantic life story. But I tell you what: There are dozens of skills I haven’t started learning yet, because I think I’m not good enough. 

How could I not understand this? It is just about doing it. Doing one step at a time. Of course you are not a Mozart from the moment you are starting to compose music and you are not a Picasso the first time you wield the paintbrush. But you are getting there eventually (or at least a bit closer). 

Your mind will find thousands of reasons not to aim for the things you really want to do. Is it a lack of money or talent. There will always be something else to do. Something more convenient, something easier or socially more accepted.

The secret is to just get started, to do the first step, to make space for the things you like, to make your passion your priority.

And what happens if you do something you like? You feel joy. So why not make it your addiction?

Make Your Passion Your Priority

Yesterday I was speaking with some people about this topic. There was a guy who just went through a similar learning experience like me. 

Our question was:  “What do people do differently who are always on ‘doer mode’?” Or my interpretation: What do people do differently who immerse fully in an activity? What do they do to not have these big walls of self-doubt? How do they make the critic shut up? 

The secret is that they just follow their intuition. They don’t listen to these voices in their head. 

And – if we want to hear it or not – we have the choice if we listen to the voices in our head or not.

What would happen if you would turn all the “I should’s” into “I do’s”? Your life might finally moves into the direction you want. You might discover joy within yourself.

If anybody tells you “follow your passion” is bullshit please don’t believe them.

Go on! “Follow your bliss” as Joseph Campbell would say.

“Finding your passion is the natural outgrowth of healing.”  

Margaret Paul, Psychologist

Find your bliss or you will never find joy in your life. Be as passionate as you want. But be passionate. Make it your life mission. What else is this life about?

Life is about feeling alive. So do what makes you feel the most alive.

If you have other suggestions let me know. I’m open minded, but I prefer to do what makes me feel most alive rather than anything else.

“It is not a luxury to pursue this experience [passion], but a necessity. Without this special experience that gives meaning to our lives we tend to wander about, aimlessly looking for someone, something, or some substance to fill the void within us.,” says Margaret Paul. The author of the book I’m studying currently. It is called “Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child.”

When we are passionate we forget our problems. We are in the flow. We feel content. We get in touch with our true nature. If we manage to fully immerse in an activity there is no future and no past. We arrive in the present moment.

Is there anything healthier in this life than this feeling? I doubt it. By not pursuing our passion, we exist, but do we live? Come on… 

Please double check your “I should’s”, your “I always wanted’s” and your “As a kid I always liked to do’s”.

It is up to you to fuel what you are passionate about.

If you can’t find anything it is might be a sign that you are caught up in self-hatred. Then this is might be something you want to deal with?

Go on. Aim for healing, but be nice to you. Give yourself time. Whenever you are impatient ask yourself, why you are in such a hurry to get through your life.

Be patient. Feed your body and nourish your soul and the rest will come.

Start with small changes. Surround yourself with people who do something completely else then you are doing. Get inspired. Don’t resign the battle.

Observe. Soak in the positive vibes of the people who found their bliss – without envy or resentment.

Just be happy to have the chance to be a part of it.

Go ahead and find your happy place!

“The ego is concerned with getting something while the inner self is creating. In this way creation is the motor for unconditional love. “

 

3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.

Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?

There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.

More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?

Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?

To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.

1. Practice Being Alert

Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.

It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?

Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?

By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.

2. Slow Down

Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.

“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.

By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.

3. Find the ‘Why’

I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.

I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.

We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.

 

Cracked

My dreams are shattered by your rationalism.
But at least I can see clearly now.

Your arguments damp my fire like water cannons.
But thankfully you hold me back from burning out.

Your honesty cripples my self-worth.
But finally my masks are falling.

You cracked my heart like a walnut.
But ‘There is a crack in everything and this is how the light gets in,’ right?

Now I’m shining like a 300 watt light bulb.
Can you see it?

 

We Grow When We Sleep

Yesterday I fell asleep before I could post anything. The casual pre-tooth-brushing-five-minutes-nap turned into a six hours pass out. I woke up when the dawn was already breaking.

But now I’m happy, because it inspired me to post something more meaningful.

The topic of my heart turned out to be healing. Cultivating self-love, spiritual growth, personal development, overcoming pain, reclaiming compassion – in the end it all comes down to the same thing: Healing.

Yesterday night after a two days storytelling coaching job I’ve decided to have a piece of pizza and a glass of red wine at this tiny pizza bar near Rosenheimer Platz in Munich. “What’s this?,” with childlike curiosity the guy behind me in the queue pointed at the pizza ‘salsiccia spinaci’. The spark in his eyes resonated with my wave-length. Unhesitatingly I sat down on his table to share a moment of company.

Immediately he opened up and told me the story of his past weeks. “I just came back from fusion festival,” he reminisced and reassured unintentionally that we belong to the same tribe.

It turned out that he just dropped his medicine studies. Becoming a doctor collided with his worldview. According to him being beneficial for humanity and working in the – irritatingly called – ‘health sector’ is a contradiction in this society. “We learn medicine for 70-year-olds,” he complained with a last trace of disillusionment. “Modern medicine is more about ‘interfering’ with the human body than about maintaining health,” he summed up.

You decide to be sick.

I could totally comprehend what he was saying. Taking responsibility for our own bodies should be something we learn in school, but instead we rely on a dubious system to keep us alive when we are sick.

“You decide to be sick, ” he advocated for our ability for self-healing. Through his words I found myself releasing a lot of tension that had built up during the past weeks of traveling and working.

Things like meridian lines, qì or kundalini energy are referred to in human history since decades. So, why would I not feel what is happening inside of my body if I learn to pay attention to it?

Dis-ease is what’s causing illness. And what is the state of health? ‘To be at ease’. Only when we find relaxation we find health.

I soaked up every word of the conversation – well aware that this encounter was a once in a lifetime one.

I smiled at the universe pondering the lessons of my past months: Healing takes time and not constant action. By re-acting all the time, by planning, by overdoing I’m ruining my (karmic) energy and in the end my physical and mental health.

“When you change your perspective things change automatically.” Briefly we’ve started talking about politics, but this quote applies one to one to the good old habits.

There doesn’t have to be a direct cure for everything. As soon as we are making an effort to change a small thing, e.g. what we eat, how much we sleep or how we work we eventually find great results:

Things fall into place automatically. We find the time for the things we love, our stress-level drops and in the end we might even become healthier.

I need a practical example for this: Since I’ve started to seriously reduce processed foods and industrial sugar my overall ability to focus had improved tremendously. Automatically I’m getting more stuff done (like this writing experiment). THIS is healing on a higher level.

It doesn’t take as much as I thought to become the human I want to be IF I’m willing to honestly change my point of view, question what I thought was ‘me’, if I’m willing to seriously try new lifestyles…

Through these changes I rattle the fundament of my thinking patterns and eventually the truth reveals.

By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

When we are planting a seed we just need to water it. If we are looking at it all the time and try to convince it to grow faster nothing will happen, but we will stress ourselves out.

Our body is a living entity of organs, chemical processes and microorganisms. It is a part of nature. An autonomic system of nerves and neurotransmitters takes care of it. I don’t need to ‘be aware’ of it all the time. It is better to let it be sometimes. By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

“We grow when we are sleeping.” – I woke up with this sentence in my head this morning. It really made me smile as normally I would have been disappointed that “I got nothing done” last night. Instead my body decided to get some rest before I could even tell him to do so.

There is a built in regulation system that protects me if I let it. By trying to control it all the time I hinder it from doing its job.

I can’t believe it took me such a long time to understand the connection between my stress level, my immune system and my productivity.

Again it became obvious to me: If I want to grow I need to let go.