ACoAs – ACCEPTING Emotions (Part 1)

to believe it’s OK to have my feelings!

PREVIOUS: “Getting to Know Your Es – Over, #2

SITE : “10 Ways to Access High-Positive Es”

REVIEW: ACoA have been conditioned to believe that having emotions is as evil as killing someone. (POSTs: “Positive uses” for anger).
Also, people living with an intense mood disorder for a long time (panic d., obsessive-compulsive d., manic-depression, rage-aholism, paranoia….) tend to reject various emotions as unacceptable.
AND, not distinguishing emotions from action can lead to very dangerous behaviors such as self-harming, sexual acting out, addictions…..

• While we do want to aim for serenity & a balanced life, it’s not healthy to cover up painful emotions (Es) & harmful beliefs (Ts) with a bunch of platitudes & ‘positive thinking’, especially without first cleaning out old childhood trauma

Having access all our Es is essential to becoming fully integrated & able to function well in accepting Esthe world. The processes is never continual or total. It’s just important to accept all of them.
While its sometimes necessary to have some distance from our emotions or to even be temporarily shut down – as self-protection – long-term suppression causes bigger problems than whatever was being avoided in the first place.

✶ Naturally we have to take into account —
— the WIC’s over-reaction to people & situations, from the stock-pile of old wounds, &
— to our under-reaction from obeying the Toxic Messages, rather than our True Self.
As we heal & develop our “Unit” we can usually tell the difference between historical vs present-day emotional responses  (Getting to our Es)

Acceptance EXERCISE – adapted from workbook “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life,” by Dr. Steven Hayes – an intro to “Acceptance & Commitment Therapy”.
It can be used anytime we have ‘uncomfortable’ Es, starting with ones that are strong enough to notice, but not enough to overwhelm. With experience this exercise can be applied to more intense Es.
USE : Image Streaming & 24 back-up procedures for visualization skills.

a. Identify the E. If there are several at once, pick whichever one you’d like to work on first. Deal with the others later. If you have trouble naming it, sit quietly & notice physical sensations & thoughts, considering what E it may be. If needed, look at a list of emotion words, then write the one (or more) that most likely fits

. With eyes closed
, picture how you want this E to look (a color, sound, cartoon, animal….). Then put that emotion-image 5 feet in front of you, so you can look at it outside of yourself. Later on you’ll take it back, but just for a few minutes allow yourself a bit of distance to observe it
c. While picturing the emotion, describe:
“If it had a size, what size would it be?
“If it had a shape, which one?
“If it had a color, which color ?

• Let yourself SEE & feel the size, shape & color you gave the emotion. Watch it for a few minutes & recognize it for what it is – energy that is not harmful. When you’re ready, let it go back to its original place inside you – with its new characteristics

d. With eyes open, consider what you’ve noticed:
• Look at the new dimensions of this E. Is there any change in it by getting a little distance?
• Is your reactions to it different? does it feel different in any way now?
• Write & date your observations.

Use this exercise with any E. as often as you can.
You may notice positive changes in how processing-emotionsyou relate to them. As you become less afraid of feeling, it’ll be easier to accept & deal with them

—>  This 5-step chart by Will Meek, PhD. was modified from the book “Expressing Emotions” by researchers Kennedy-Moore & Watson.

Each step includes mistakes & corrections in the process = when we feel something, we can pause right then, & deal with it successfully.  (MORE….)

NEXT: ACoAs – ACCEPTING Emotions (Part 2)

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