Blue Iris, a great divorce support and education organization asked me the following question, and here’s how I responded:
“How can we deal with some of the more difficult feelings that come up during a divorce“?
First of all, I’d like to make a distinction between an emotion and a feeling. With emotions we attach a belief, a story, and thoughts to the experience. For example, a belief might be, “I’m not worthy” or “I’m not good enough.” These may be age old beliefs we’ve been taught to have from childhood, but they get activated and reinforced by our recycling them over again during a crisis. A feeling is a physiological response to the moment. For example, someone had said something derogatory and it hurt, or someone jumped out from behind a corner and I felt frightened. Both are physical responses to an experience that you’ve just experienced.
It’s important to know that feelings are our teachers. Some are not very pleasant to feel, but they are letting us know that something is needed. We will need to discern between our emotions and our feelings, but both tell us what we need to heal the old outdated story and identify what we need in this exact moment to feel safe and sound. Clearing the old stories takes some work, but can be reframed and replaced with the truth of who you are. We get to release that which no longer is working for us and claim our true self and our authentic voice. The healing balm is to be seen and witnessed, soothed and held in them, so we can move through and manage them, and not have our emotions manage us. Learning to mange your emotional and your feeling body is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your children. Our feelings are a great source of wisdom and you can access that wisdom in your physical body.
If you know how you feel you will know what you need, and you can get that need met. If you don’t, you won’t be able to get your needs met. It’s pretty simple but it can become difficult when emotions and feelings collide and get enmeshed together. Knowing the difference can and does help us move from the little girl “read my mind and you should know what I need” psychology to the woman psychology, where we get to take responsibility for asking for our needs to be met and we get to say yes, no, or renegotiate in response to someone asking us to meet their needs (and vice versa).
We are our own best resource. We can ask for help and soothing when we know we need it from our tribe of friends and from supportive family…but only if we know what to ask for. So, I invite, encourage, and implore you to ask for help and allow yourself to receive it as a gift to yourself when your need is being met. In divorce it might be a friend, a therapist, a minister, a tribe of wonderful women and friends, etc. Whatever the case, they can only help if you let them know what you need, and believe me, friends want to help as you would want to if one of your friends was experiencing the crisis of divorce.
Sadness, grief, shock, despair, loneliness, depression, anger, fear, and shame are some of the many feelings we have as we navigate the crisis of divorce. If you’re stuck and need some help moving through these and discerning your emotions from your feelings, then I invite you to give me a call at 303-333-5553, or email me at Lizannecorbit@gmail.com for support and help moving through this difficult time in your life.
In the meantime, I send you soothing and blessings to you as you traverse this leg of your life’s journey.
Safe travels to you,
Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash under Creative Commons 0 License