Monday, September 25th 2017

How to shake free of bitterness and *stuck* emotions

Three ways to move you, me and we from resentments to emotional life, liberty and happiness

blond-and-hair-smallGUEST COLUMN: DR. JEANINE AUSTIN — The clients I coach will often tell me that they wish they could quickly and effortlessly shake free of things that have bothered them.

Like an injured athlete who is asked to “walk it off”, many of us wish we could spend a second or two walking off emotional discomfort and then be free of it.

Unfortunately, many of us struggle with this.

For much longer than could ever be considered healthy we may be irritated, frustrated or just plain bugged by a slight, a faux pas or a cross word that transpired between ourself and someone else.

If we were painstakingly honest with ourselves, many of us would find that we have concentrated on someone’s perceived misdeed for days, weeks and (alas!) perhaps even years.

Recently, my mother and I had a conversation about shaking free of stuck and unpleasant feelings towards others. We had seen the movie, Sex in the City, and this sparked thoughts about its inspirational themes of tolerance, forgiveness and love.

Certainly, we agreed, when we are intolerant and are unforgiving, we waste time stuck in the turgid quagmire of bitterness.

doveIn its wake, bitterness leaves us depressed, alienated and exhausted. We waste time and energy being stuck in the vortex of unkind feelings towards others. While the object of our disgruntled feelings has often moved on, we are still fixated on the (often imagined) slight.

At the end of the day, especially for those of us who have done a great deal of work on ourselves, it is an embarrassing predicament. We can really tell how far we’ve come and how far we have to go when we are challenged by stuck emotions.

As someone who is not a stranger to thin skin, I recognize that having challenges in regards to “shaking free” is the shadow side of being intuitive, caring and compassionate.

Certainly, we are not looking to lose our sensitivity but instead to be able to negotiate more skillfully the challenges of interacting with others.

Dr. Jeanine’s healing steps

1.  Be gentle with ourself and others. We may want to also seek to understand our process as well as someone else’s before we attack or retreat. For example, even if we feel we are being attacked, it may be important to remember that someone’s harsh response to us probably has very little to do with us.

2.  We may want to go deeper into the situation with a life coach, therapist or trusted friend. Carl Jung offered that, “All neurosis is an attempt to heal the self.”

let_go1However, rather than a neurotic response that keeps us circling around a problem, we may want to, as Buddhist nun Pema Chodron offers, “Lean into the sharp points.” My friend Lauren will often ask, “What is really the issue here?” and then discuss that with me.

When possible, be with the emotions. When I have allowed myself to really feel into my pain, I often find myself wondering in just a few days what I was so upset about in the first place!

3.  Until you have gained clarity and composure, try not to act inauthenticaly. In other words, overeating, gossiping or faking forgiveness (although acting with intent to forgive can be a move in a healthy direction) are poor coping strategies that will not lend themselves to the integration of coping skills for future challenges.

Sometimes it just isn’t easy to “get over it”. The gift in being stuck is that we are shown exactly where we still need to work. We can only be truly free when we learn how to liberate ourselves from the challenges we most need to transcend.

dr-jeanineJeanine Austin holds a Master’s degree in clinical social work and a Doctorate in life-coaching.  Her passion is helping women live a joyfully, authentic life.  Tapping the latest advances in depth-psychology, along with a spiritual perspective, she assists her clients live realized lives. Dr. Jeanine provides one-on-one coaching that honors each woman’s unique expression in the world. Jeanine will offer you a free consultation by Email .

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3 Comments on “How to shake free of bitterness and *stuck* emotions”

  1. Thanks for the very helpful tips Dr. Jeanine. I'll be visiting your site as well for some more info. Holding on to resentments is an issue that I have struggled with in the past, eventhough intellectually I know I am only hurting myself. I love your advice that we need to be more gentle with ourselves. I'm going to try that!

  2. Dear Dr. Jeanine; Thank you for sharing your sublime life experience and wisdom. Your invitation to not 'fake forgiveness,' as when forgiving is the "right" thing to do (especially if the ego has built an image of itself as 'spiritual'), is so grounding.

    Thank you for not preaching to us from a 30,000-foot point-of-view, and instead, sharing your personal experiences and stories -- and relating them to a deeper realization of this life that we each feel so intensely.

    Your third step:

    3. Until you have gained clarity and composure, try not to act in-authentically.

    What do you think of the notion of . . .

    "Try not to act at all"

    What comes to you with that, from your experience with yourself and your clients?

    Thank you for vectoring into this space with all that you see!

  3. Dear Dr Jeanine, thank you for being so honest about your own feelings and focusing me on listening to my feelings today. It made me put an "ear" back between the title D.R, as it seems many who "hold " onto that title seem to have forgotten how to listen to people (or perhaps just me which is equally as bad) never mind their own feelings.

    I like what you have to say because it brought up lots of feelings and how to deal with them, which is good. But on the subject of "not acting inauthentically" ( perhaps an oxymoron in itself as De Niro is the only person I know who acts authentically), I'm a "fake it till you make it" kind a guy; mainly because in the interests of not leading an armed insurrection or berating half the people I meet on public transport for my own amusement on a daily basis ;I feel I owe it to society at least try to be civil until I can afford decent therapy.

    I like the nun's point of leaning into the sharp ones too, so I do try to be rigorously honest with myself so that I can appreciate the goodness in others, because if I don't see my own flaws, I can't forgive myself or others and it gets real ugly, real quick. So its important for me to express myself in nurturing environments like soulscode and other safe forums, as I used to have loads of resentments, but then I narrowed them down to one....everyone in the world who doesn't think/isn't me.Thank you again for such a thought/feeling provoking piece.

    Blessed Be Danny Boy

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