Navigating Feelings


originally posted Wednesday, May 18 2011


Most of us are terrific storytellers…….to ourselves!


We feel particular emotions, at home and at work, and make assumptions about what those feelings mean.  They are our own feelings, so  shouldn’t we know what will transpire if we believe what we think our emotions are telling us?


If we believe a particular way of feeling will result in negative consequences, we often do a magnificent job of repressing those feelings.


Unless, we can’t.


When I was 4 months pregnant with my son, my father died suddenly.  For the rest of the pregnancy, I was deeply grief stricken at the loss of my dad.


In addition, I worried that my grief would somehow “spill over” into our baby son.  There were times I was certain the consequence of my “inability to control” my grief would result in losing him, too.


At the time, I worked in home health care as a Physical Therapist.  I spent a lot of time in the car.  I remember taking actions that make me smile now, but were done out of a sense of wanting to create some kind of “balanced” experience for this developing baby boy!


I figured if he had to hear my expressions of grief, he should also hear other sounds.  I purposely tuned into jazz, classical and rock stations on the car radio, thinking Beethoven, Mozart, Wynton Marsalis, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel would even out his experience!


That was 26 years ago.  I’ll never know but I wonder if this healthy young man’s depth of compassion and empathy for others had its roots in those experiences!


We think we “know” what will “happen” if we allow ourselves to feel and that the result will be negative.


I was incorrect.  So much unnecessary angst!


In business, I worked with a client who was concerned about his feelings of anxiety prior to delivering a presentation.  He didn’t think he “should” feel this way.  It wasn’t “good” to feel this way.


While exploring this topic, it became apparent that for this individual, the level of anxiety was really an energy associated with preparedness.


When this person had these feelings, he delivered an excellent presentation!


Now, he feels really good about those same feelings!


A coach can help the client “navigate” through the “minefield” of his or her feelings.

Perhaps, the coach can assist the client, instead, to “dance” through that “field” of those same feelings.


Together, the coach and client can determine what is real and what is not about these feelings.


We have a choice about what we choose to believe about how we feel.


Once we choose, we can take action that is most supportive of who we are and who we strive to be.


It sounds easy!






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