Emotions are like couriers…

May be an image of 3 people and text that says '- couriers... like Emotions Emotions are NeurodivergentWomen.co'Emotions are like couriers, they show up to deliver a message and go on their way.
 
You thank the courier for the message and watch them disappear in the distance. You don’t demand they stay with you forever.
 
You don’t declare the courier to be part of your identity either. The job of the courier is to deliver emotional messages. Messages alerting you to the presence of threats and opportunities.
 
Threats and opportunities aren’t mutually exclusive by the way.
 
This is the kind of relationship I teach my clients how to have with their emotions. So their emotions can come and go without overwhelming or becoming a preoccupation.
 
Change the relationship with your emotions even slightly. They become advisors instead of adversaries.

Discovering wisdom in wanting to surrender to adversity…

“I kind of gave up at one point”, that’s how she began describing what she referred to as “depression”. She’d experienced the end of several relationships, and was mired in thoughts of those losses.
 
She developed a preoccupation with “death”. Not uncommon when you focus on death long enough.
 
Calling what you’re feeling, “depression” is like saying you’re in the ocean. What part of the ocean? “Oh, the wet part”?
 
It’s possible and imperative to become more specific. The more precise you can be in identifying the root issue, the more specific your remediating action can be.
 
Simply thinking positive or engaging in enjoyable activities, serve only to distract your mind, if they don’t address the underlying issue.
 
I have a process of asking strategic questions that help clients become curious of their own experience, more than frightened of it.
 
My process revealed she wasn’t preoccupied with death, she was preoccupied with loss.
 
There’s a missing piece to your experience of loss when you focus primarily on pain of the loss. Even when you try to distract yourself with happy thoughts, sad ones invariably intrude. Suddenly you’re sad again.
 
She felt defeated by the inability to make herself feel happy all the time.
Even when able to experience gratitude, feelings of sadness that surfaced were seen as a failure to be more positive. This is like wanting the sun to never set, and when it does, feeling you’ve been short changed somehow.
 
I asked if she believed her options are to be happy or sad, but not both? This is indeed what she believed, classic all-or-nothing thinking.
 
She was intrigued by the idea happiness and sadness could be felt simultaneously. I added a word to her emotional vocabulary, and her demeanor softened. The word is, “bittersweet”. Bittersweet describes the feeling of happy, and sadness occurring together.
 
This feeling is nurtured by alternating thoughts of longing and gratitude.
 
One thing that helps foster this opposition to feeling sadness, is the number of people who step in to try and rescue you from sadness.
 
It can give the impression sadness is bad, and your people-pleasing ways compel you to pretend you’re happy. This, to soothe the person worried about you.
 
It’s important to acknowledge, and experience both the happy, and sad. They both have something to tell you about where you are, and what you need, right now!
 
Depression can be driven by a preoccupation with a problem perceived as, unsolvable. Identifying the preoccupation is the laser-focused root we want to find and unwind to help refine your thinking.
 
Now we can take that laser-focused root, and go after it. I asked her, “So you’ve got one part that is trying to convince you to give up? What does it think you’re gonna get by giving up? How’s that helpful to you?”
 
What we discovered, is by giving up, she stops taking risks, which eliminates the risk she’ll get attached, and suffer the pain of loss, again.
 
This insight was a breakthrough for her.
 
The part telling her adamantly, to quit, just shifted from being a villain to a teacher. That part of her is actually well intended, and wants to protect her from being hurt. But it’s wanting her to take an all or nothing position because it’s coming from a place of survival.
 
You don’t want to get mostly away from a tiger, right? It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, you want to be hell-and-gone from the tiger.
 
Now, the part of her that remembers the good times, and the one that focuses on the loss are both trying to help her feel better. But they approach the hurt in different ways.
 
Suffering, pain and loss are parts of the human experience. A more balanced perspective reminds you, you feel hurt, and you’re going to be okay.
 
Allowing room for bittersweet, opens you to a more complete experience, where all of it teaches you, and there are no emotional villains. The toughest emotions tell you what you need the most in that moment. When you know what questions to ask.
 
This was only a part of our conversation. I helped her learn much more in this call. Now, you also know how to begin finding the wisdom, when you feel like giving up.

Why your emotions need a clean chimney

Fireplaces can be a source of warmth, comfort and security. As long as the chimney is open, and excess heat, smoke can leave.

If the chimney is blocked, by clutter or critter, the smoke could fill the house. That is, until it finds another way out.

Come to think of it, your emotions work the same way.

They want out, in the form of tears, sharing fears or asking for support you need.

But when you force your emotions down, every time they try to come up. You’re blocking the chimney.

You may think the emotions are gone, or at least contained. What they’re actually doing is filling the house, your body.

They’re looking for a way out. A window, door, something. As long as it get’s a chance to be felt.

A window could be a headache, a backache or fatigue. A door could be stomach upset, or an ulcer.

That energy wreaks havoc until it completes it’s journey. First it arrives, it passes through, then it leaves. They’re temporary.

When you shove it down you hold it hostage, you won’t let it leave. You’re only through it once you experiencep it, and learn it’s wisdom.

Allowing yourself the level of honesty and vulnerability to experience emotions freely, is courageous and one of the most generous things you can do for yourself.

Unexpressed emotions show up at unwanted times. They source defensiveness, low self-esteem and so on.

For all the effort we make at being seen, feeling important. It makes sense you need to know how it feels, to get better at knowing it when you see it.

Start by seeing yourself through accepting and compassionate eyes. So your emotions come, show and go.

Here to help you find your way.

Are your emotions user friendly?

The emotions I grew up with were primarily, fear, anger, sadness, and so on.

“What’s your relationship like with your emotions?” Hold that thought, we’ll get to your answer in a bit.

As a Neurodivergent kid, growing up in the 70’s, and 80’s, few knew what to do for a child coloring so far outside the lines.
Bottom line, it didn’t go well.

There were good times, and beautiful moments as well. Hard to remember, hidden behind a preoccupation with woundings versus wisdom.

In my later years, I committed to refining my primary responses to life, either flying off the handle, or collapsing into a puddle of tears. This tormenting pendulum made it nearly impossible to feel safe in my own skin.

One belief that surfaced, was your imperfect moments aren’t human, but a cumulative score kept by some imaginary gatekeeper. If you have a high score you’re some how worth less.

I’ll let you in on something, one of the reasons we neurodivergents are so creative, and resourceful, because we have significantly more opportunities to discover workarounds, and other unique solutions to problems.

Having committed decades to the inner work, I enjoy a wonderful balance of my emotions. A calm mind that accepts the e-motion or energy motion, of the visceral responses to the world around me.

Anxiety and depression remain ever present, but they’re largely a manageable field of weeds. Frequent tending required.

I wanted to explore this topic of emotion with my online community. So I posed the question “What’s your relationship like with your emotions?” I was blown away by the number of responses and the pattern in them.

Maybe a fourth of the answers expressed an accepting, and positive relationship with their emotions.

The rest described their relationship with their emotions as:
“love-hate”,
“I focus on the surface stuff and tuck the rest away”
“detached”
“roller coaster”
“tumultuous”

No one deserves to live with the belief, that the opportunity to feel is primarily an opportunity to feel bad.

Showing emotion isn’t for the purpose of letting your guard down for you to be hurt in some way. It’s simultaneously an opening of your heart, to allow for the sharing of love and connection with each other.

As mentioned earlier, learning to shift your focus from woundings to wisdom, gives you access to the inner resources you need, to heal when your heart is hurting.

One positive answer from a community member stood out, “My emotions ebb and flow in cycles throughout the day. I take each feeling as it comes and allow it space, and feel it throughly. I don’t control them and they don’t control me. We work in harmony most days, and when we don’t, I listen to what they tell me.”

That is the experience that’s possible with our emotions. It was the topic of conversation with the Women in my Inner Circle yesterday morning. The HOW to get there from here.

This ability isn’t granted at birth. It’s ideal to receive instruction on the thinking, and habits that help make this the way you live your life.

I’ve invested in a combination of therapy and mentorship. Plus a commitment to confront and correct the ways I deceive myself (I call it the No Bullshit Rule). This inner work has been transformative in helping me regulate my emotions instead of fearing them.

How do you experience inner peace when you work so hard to keep the lid on the pressure cooker?
Different emotions mean different things. It’s hard to find the meaning if you don’t even know what emotion you’re feeling.

Even happy or calm can feel like a threat when you have more words to describe the difficult emotions, than the positive.

Working to expand your emotional vocabulary, and ability to experience a wider range of emotion is key. There are so many subtle, invigorating and wonderful layers to life. But living with emotional color-blindness keeps them out of view.

An important distinction between emotion and feelings. Emotions are the raw energy your body produces in response to your interaction with life.

Feelings refer to our stories about the what and why of our emotions, the story we create about our emotions. The moment you begin having thoughts about your emotions, you are feeling. Got it!

By learning to experience your emotions safely, in a variety of ways, you can also get in touch with your feelings/stories.
The story determines how long an emotion stays, how intense it can feel, and whether you wise-up or wound from it.

Your mind and body are one. Emotions wake your body, and mind up in preparation for action.
You have more options than fight or flight. But you need more emotions in your repertoire to discover them.

Let’s get started.

Uprooting Self-Sabotage so you can move forward


 Sabotaging opportunities for ourselves is so common.
 
When you live with Neurodivergence (e.g. Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia), it’s practically a bodily function.
 
After all, the brain’s primary objective is to keep you alive. What you do with that life is another conversation.
 
Self-Sabotage is a way of protecting yourself from an imagined threat.
 
A threat can be the opportunity in question is unfamiliar. If you “hate” surprises, or don’t like unpredictability. WELL! You’ll do your best to prevent yourself from having that experience, right?
 
Something I want to make clear. Self-sabotage IS NOT a character deficit. Self-sabotage is something you DO, it’s not something you ARE.
 
Self-talk such as, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I like this?” Stem from the belief the problem is you, personal.
 
It’s like owning a top of the line, BMW, but you put a crappy coat of paint on it. The problem is the paint not the car. The sabotage is the paint that covers everything you have going for you, the value underneath.
 
The problem is actually, a pattern of thinking and behavior you use to protect yourself, from opportunities to step outside your comfort zone and grow.
 
In fact, depending on your life experience, you may be so used to chaos that feeling calm is highly uncomfortable. So you manufacture crisis to feel the stress chemicals in your mind/body again.
 
There’s one emotion that underpins all self-sabotage. Want to hazard a guess?
 
Fear! Which opens the door to questions rooted in the cause versus the behavior of self-sabotage (e.g. canceling a lot, avoiding, procrastination, lying and so on).
 
The questions shift from, “What’s wrong with me?” to “What threat do I perceive?”
 
“What pain do I imagine I’ll experience if I embrace this opportunity?”
 
The threat you imagine, and fear you won’t be okay as a result, is at the root of self-sabotage.
 
We’re taught to measure the value of an opportunity by weighing the pros and cons, the good versus the bad. As though they’re experienced side-by-side and not simultaneously.
 
For instance, “I want to do a good job in this new role. I’ve consistently done a good job, I plan to do my best. However, if I don’t, I’ll still be okay.”
 
When considering an opportunity it’s easy to imagine the best case scenario, and the worst case scenario. Neither is particularly useful.
 
But a doable scenario (like the one noted above) is balanced. It considers likely outcomes, based on evidence on hand, and reminds you you’ll be okay, and find your way, either way.
 
What I’ve written is a condensed version of what I shared with the members of my Women’s Neurodivergent Community. The entire exchange is even more powerful. As a member you’ll have full access to it and more.
 
Learn to take a chance on yourself versus taking a dive. Either way you’ll be okay, because you have me to show you the way

Does my worth as a person change if another person is unhappy?

 
I remember being sent to my room when expressing emotion showing I was upset. I was so anxious in general, my emotions would come out as screaming, crying or meltdown.
 
I knew being upset got me pushed away, either literally or in the form of oversimplified sentiment, “Just ignore it”, “You’re too sensitive,” “Quit being so dramatic!”
 
Nothing about how to make myself happy. Plenty about what I need to STOP doing so others can be happy with me.
 
What was it like for you?
Did you feel your ability to make others happy was always just out of reach?
 
I posed a question along this theme to my Women’s Inner Circle and the conversation BOOMED! The question is, “Does my worth as a person change if another person is unhappy?”
 
We’re raised in our culture to be people pleasers. We grow up having to please our parents, our teachers, our classmates, employers and so on. All to avoid rejection in some form.
 
Our Swiss army knife of tools designed to help us fit-in enough to survive, though not enough to belong, and thrive.
 
Believing you have the power to give someone else happiness, opens the door to them taking yours.
 
Say you’re in a good mood, then someone says something critical or disapproving. Suddenly, your good mood sours, and you find yourself in a formidable funk you can’t seem to find your way out of.
 
One reason for this shift may be a feeling of failure as a people pleaser. This is subconscious, of course.
 
The belief you can control someone else’s emotions, is bolstered by years of training, at the hands of a manipulative other. Using shame and blame as twin arrows to break your heart, time and time again.
 
You may even return to others in attempts to make them happy. They may even criticize you for your efforts. You can’t win.
 
Fortunately, the objective isn’t winning the emotional manipulation game.
 
Let’s return to the question, “Does my worth as a person change if another person is unhappy?”
 
How about, “does the worth of the ocean change during low tide”?
“Does the Earth lose worth when the sun sets?”
 
Your worth as a human being is constant, regardless of the ebb and flow of your or anyone else’s emotions.
 
My goal is to be the most human I can be. That means accepting everything about myself with kindness and compassion.
 
That is taking responsibility for keeping my consciousness clear of the cobwebs that make me want to vomit my suffering upon others.
 
Your inner work, learning to be responsible for showing up in the best way you know how, is the beginning and end of your responsibility to others.
 
Acceptance requires you to look your inner critic in the eye, while you assertively claim your power to own your story and your worth.
 
Then come the mighty boundaries you learn to make sure someone else’s pigeon can no longer poop on your head.
 
Let’s make this happen for you.

Must be a misunderstanding between us……

Misunderstandings happen, right?
 
Misunderstandings are expected.
 
Misunderstandings are best anticipated and prepared for.
 
Sure, there are times when the words seem to come out, and are heard exactly the way you meant. But that’s rare.
 
More often, communication can be like pouring vegetable soup through a screen. The liquid gets through but the veggies are caught in the screen.
 
When you communicate. Your words and meaning are screened through the other person’s story. Their emotional armor, their biases, assumptions, entitlements and so on.
 
The most valuable parts of your message, like the veggies, may never get through.
 
I’ve spent decades learning to be a more effective communicator. With heavy emphasis on what causes misunderstandings between we Neurodivergents and others.
 
One of the biggest hurdles to communication is believing only others misunderstand. I see this in many folks with neurodivergence.
 
Although social relationship and communication skill gaps define neurodivergence, too many ND’s insist they did everything right and everyone else is the problem.
 
This belief is inaccurate and a recipe for loneliness.
 
It’s imperative to learn what your brain misses, assumes, and so on, in relationships. Concrete, all-or-nothing, emotional reactivity, auditory processing, take your pick.
 
Then develop humility where defensiveness currently resides.
 
Humility is rooted in self-compassion you extend to the imperfections inherent in being human. 
 
I spent an hour this morning teaching my women’s inner circle how to meet moments of miscommunication, with skills that can prevent them or quickly repair them.
 
I don’t teach scripts, I teach you to understand communication in a way that the words eventually come intuitively.
 
Relationships become less overwhelming and more fulfilling when you can navigate communication confidently versus avoiding it.
 
Let me know if you’d like to learn this too.

Keeping your thoughts from getting to you…

Ever wish you could take a break from your busy mind, at least long enough to calm down?
 
Ever notice, when watching rain through a closed window, you don’t get wet?
 
You can learn to experience your thinking in a similar way. Be a witness instead of a wearer.
 
I find fashion a wonderful artistic medium, but I don’t want to dress that way.
 
I’m fascinated by the various ways there are to think about life. Many of which I have no interest in thinking.
 
Being a witness can be extra challenging when you have a Neurodivergent brain, that pays attention to everything.
 
This skill begins by declaring the thoughts you no longer want to affect you.
 
Next, as a witness looking through the window, imagine you’re watching someone think outloud. The words coming out of their mouth are the thoughts in your head.
 
These two steps will help lay a foundation for you,  of what it’s like to observe the chatter in your mind. As though it were in front of you, versus inside of you.
 
The rest you’ll learn in a customized way in my ND Women’s Inner Circle.

You have more ideas than you know what to do with?

You have more ideas than you know what to do with?
 
One of the more difficult aspects of the ADHD experience, is the seemingly endless barrage of interesting questions and stellar ideas that flood your brain each day, right?
 
You want to remember them all, or write them all down. But that being a chore in itself, you end up being frustrated with yourself.
 
Especially, since you end up with a bunch of ideas you rarely act on.
 
First thing to consider. When you stand before the ocean, you don’t need to swim in the entire thing, experiencing every drop, to say you swam in the ocean. The part you swim in earns you that distinction.
 
And the ocean you swim in today has the same water it had yesterday, albeit moved around, as the water keeps flowing. Your creative mind is the same way.
 
Though you have different ideas, they’re part of the creative ocean that is your mind. So any idea you choose to focus on, is the part of the ocean you swim in, for now.
 
Understanding that by swimming in a piece of the ocean, you’re actually connected to the entire thing. One idea acted upon is representative of your overall creativity.
 
So no need to think in terms of which idea is better. It’s important to act on your questions and ideas enough to learn which ones pay off for you most often. Find the pattern.
 
The analysis paralysis you get stuck in now, denies you that experience, because you spend more time fretting and collecting than executing.
 
When you and I work together, I’ll show you how to observe your mind calmly. How to spot the ideas that are the best fit for your life, right now.
 
Then how to act upon them, and create the life you want, instead of tolerating the one you have.
 
Interested in learning more? Send me a message.

May I ask you something personal?

May I ask you something personal?
 
One takeaway I noted from the July 2 call for my Inner Circle members, is the importance of asking for permission in relationships. Not to the point it becomes controlling, of course.
 
It’s about establishing, and communicating your boundaries.
 
As someone challenged with non-verbal communication, this helps prevent many foot-in-mouth moments.
 
I ask my wife, and sons if I can hug them, and respect their right to say, “No’. I know their needs matter too, and if a hug at that moment would be too much, I honor that.
 
In the past I would’ve taken a, “No” as a rejection, and feel terrible afterward. Because of the inner work I’ve done, I no longer experience the rejection. Instead, I feel compassion for the other person.
 
Asking someone (versus simply doing it), if you can ask a personal question, shake a hand or hug is important. It gives you both an opportunity to establish boundaries to decrease the likelihood they’ll get crossed.
 
Too often, we discover each others boundaries once they’ve been crossed. Then there may be trust to repair etc.
 
Ask, Ask, Ask, and you will get into the habit of showing others how much you respect their needs, and boundaries.