Hi, welcome to today's TLC. To be honest, I need a little TLC today. I am just feeling so
overwhelmed because I'm sick and I'm sick again. I just was sick like three weeks ago. And the
last few days I've had a sinus pressure headache that's awful. And my boys, I have four boys and
they're so loud. And so when I have a headache and they're running around and they're loud,
oh, it just makes everything worse. I just want to crawl up in bed and do nothing today. It's also
hard for me to look at a screen, so I can't just sit around and watch movies. I can't just look at
my computer and do some work. I can't even scroll on my phone. I just feel like there's just
nothing that I can do. I just want to curl up in my ball and fell sick and have other people take
care of me.
You ever felt like this when you're sick? I call it "feeding" the sickness where you just focus on it.
And so it feels bigger and bigger and bigger. And all the things in your brain are focused on why
this is a problem and why other people should solve it.
A second way that we often show up when we don't feel well is to "fight" the sickness. This is
where we pretend like we're not feeling sick. "Oh, I'm not somebody who gets sick. I'm just
going to ignore it and then it'll go away."
This usually comes with actions that will distract us, like that to do list that definitely needs to
get done today or that big project that we've been working on and we just sprint through and
run and run and run refusing to be sick, and then when it's done, what happens? We crash and
our body demands that we listen. We might be able to fight it for a while, but it will eventually
catch up with us.
Too often we think that these are the only two options: either to feed this sickness and just
wallow in it or to fight it and pretend it's not there. But there's a third option here. An option
that's way more useful. This third option is to feel the sickness.
Now a lot of people will confuse feeling the sickness with feeding the sickness, but there's a
difference. You've had a kid in your life where they get a little tiny scratch and they just fall
apart because it's such a big sore and they can't do anything with that hand now because they
got a little scratch and, "can't you see that it's bleeding a little" and they act like you need to
take them to the hospital.
Well, that's feeding it where you just make it grow and grow and grow. Feeling it, is where you
recognize, "I have a scratch. I have a sickness. I have a sore. What does that sore need? What
does that sickness need? How can I tend to it, but not feed it to make it bigger?"
I really have been sick for the past few days. I've got some sinus pressure headache going on. I
woke up in the middle of the night, coughing a ton and couldn't sleep because had that tickle in
my throat that just won't go away. I've been feeling stuffy. You can probably hear ( kind of
nasally today) and I just feel more tired than usual.
I'll be honest, day one: I fed it. I woke up frustrated that I had this sickness. And it was a day
where I didn't have a ton planned, but I canceled some of my plans and decided to just kind of
be a bump on a log for the day.
Now, I have love for myself. There's nothing wrong that I chose that. But I will tell you, by the
end of the day, I didn't feel any better. I hadn't even gotten dressed, I put on a hoodie and
some sweatpants and just let that be enough.
At the end of the day, I didn't really like being with myself. So the next day I made a new
commitment. I woke up and I got dressed. I put on my makeup and I looked at myself in the
mirror and said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you today."
Now that didn't mean that I went and ran all my errands and chased after my kids and did all of
the physical things that would be a normal day for me. It meant that I drank some extra water
and made sure that I was doing the things that I knew that would help my sinuses feel better.
It meant that I didn't really go out in public a lot because I didn't want to get other people sick,
but I wasn't sitting at home walling in my illness. It meant that I paid attention to my physical
cues. When it was time to take a nap, I rested.
And, although I didn't really want to make dinner I took time to make something that was a
little bit more nutritious for my body and I actually found myself enjoying the creative outlet
while I was cooking. This balance of allowing myself to be where I was at and paying attention
to how I was feeling, helped my body and my spirit to heal.
Today I'm feeling a little better. I'm not all the way better. It didn't fix my illness, but I'm feeling
hopeful that I'm moving in the right direction and that I can still create my day in a way that will
be fulfilling and nurturing to me.
Now you might be saying, okay, Stephanie, that was a nice story about you being sick, but what
does this have to do with me? I'm not sick right now.
Or are you?
Sicknesses away that our body is telling us that something is off something is wrong. Just like
our body sends us physical cues when we're not feeling well, it also sends us emotional cues
when we're emotionally not feeling well.
So let's take this metaphor of how we respond to being sick, to how we respond to our feelings.
Now, feelings don't mean that there's something inherently wrong with you or there's
something underneath that needs to be "fixed". A, feeling is just a vibration in our body in
response to our thoughts. So if I have the thought, "Shoot, I forgot to pay that bill!" what
feeling is going to come in response to that? Worry, frustration, shame? Or if I have the
thought, " My sister comes in town next week!" I'm going to feel excited a little bit motivated to
prepare for it. It's going to come with a different set of emotions, but it starts with what I'm
thinking. And then I have a feeling.
Most of the time you will notice a feeling before, you know what thought it comes from. I want
you to think about what you typically do when you start noticing a feeling. It's like those days
when you're going about your routine, and then you start feeling unsettled about something or
easily irritated. You are a little bit more snappy with your kids or that coworker that sometimes
you have hard time being patient with just seems a little bit more irritating today... Or you're
looking around your house and all you see is projects that you haven't completed and they start
feeling overwhelming. You notice a pattern that that feeling starts building within you.
What do you do when you start to feel it build? Do you feed it with thoughts like, "I'm so
overwhelmed," "No one is paying "attention to what it is that I want," "He was just so
annoying," or "I'm never going to get ahead in this house"? I do one thing and then they turn
around and it's messy again."
Remember that our feelings come from our thoughts. So when we start feeling that
overwhelm, then we keep thinking about things that are overwhelming, we're just going to feed
that. Just like I was feeding the feeling of being sick by focusing on all of the negative parts.
Or are you the type of person when a feeling starts to swell up that you push it away? You say,
"Nope, I'm not going to feel that today. I'm too busy. I've got other things that I'm doing." Like a
beach ball, you push it under an under an under until there's just so much of it, that it just
explodes in your face.
Feeding it or fighting it are not the only options. Remember the third more useful option is to
feel your feelings.
But how do you do that? How do you feel your feelings instead of feed them or fight them?
The same way that you would treat a physical feeling. Remember when I talked about my more
useful sick day when I was paying attention to how I feel and doing what I needed to help my
body feel better while still choosing how I wanted to show up and doing things to be engaged
with my day.
Let's take a scenario that happened to one of my clients.
A few years ago, she had had a tragic loss where her husband had unexpectedly passed away.
She had gone through therapy and processed a lot of her grief and sorrow, but she found that
her day-to-day life, she was still struggling a lot because the grief would just keep coming up.
She kept telling herself, "This grief is never going to go away." When I started talking about her
experience with grief and what she would do when she would feel that grief, it was really
apparent that she would either feed the grief (sit and wallow in it, have it overwhelm her, and
stop her day to day life), or, she would fight it (resist it, tell it to go away, and pretend like it
wasn't there) until like that beach ball she'd pushed it down so far that it would pop back up
and then it would be overwhelming.
She got stuck in this cycle of either feeding it and feeling overwhelmed by it or resisting it until
it got so big that she would then feed it again. That's when she came to me, hoping that she
could break the cycle that she had been in for years.
I wish I could show you the clip of her face when I offered to her, that may be it wasn't the grief
that was keeping her stuck. Maybe it was her resistance to feeling the grief. She felt so relieved
that there was another option. It didn't have to be 1) be overwhelmed by grief or 2) don't feel
at all. There was a third option: to allow it to be there without feeding it, to give it space in her
life and say, "It's okay that this grief is here. And, what can I do to take care of me today? What
can I do to still create my day the way that I want?"
A feeling will last 30 to 60 seconds if you just allow it. Now that feeling might come in waves
over and over again, depending on what it is, but it won't stick around and it won't build if you
give it space to feel.
One of my favorite ways to feel is to find it in my body. I'll recognize the feeling start to build in
me and I'll take a breath and say, "Alright feeling, I see you. I feel you. Where are you?" And I'll
find it in my body: in the density of my neck or in the gut of my stomach. Or, sometimes I even
feel it in my hands. They'll be shaky with excitement or tense with anxiety. Once I recognize
where it is in my body, I just give it space to be there. It's okay that I have a pit in my gut. It's
okay that my shoulders are a little tight. It's okay that my hands are a little shaky. I give it a
breath... And I let it be.
And then I say, "You could stay here as long as you need, this is what I'm going to do next: I'm
going to make dinner. I'm going to help my kid tie his shoes. I'm going to go run that errand. I'm
going to give this presentation. Whatever it is that I need to do next, you can come with me. It's
As Mr. Roger says, "Feelings are mentionable and manageable." If we mentioned them and
then do what we can to manage without resistance, just like we heal our bodies, we heal our
hearts. It's as simple as giving a little space to allow that feeling.
After all it is called emotional health. Right?
It doesn't have to be big and overwhelming. If you can practice allowing the feeling instead of it
or fighting it, I promise you, you will have the emotional literacy to know what's going on in
your life and know what to do next.
So here's Today's TLC: take a moment to feel. Just practice. Whatever you're feeling in this
moment right now... It could be curiosity. It could be resistance. It could be whatever emotion
is starting to bubble up because you're open to having a little bit of space for it. Take a
moment, 30 seconds and just feel it.
Where is it in your body? What does it feel like? Can you give it some space?
Now, decide what you want to do next. You don't need to react to it. You can respond. But,
respond in a way that's loving. Loving to your body, to your heart, to your mind. That's what
TLC is all about. I promise you if you practice this, you'll feel a little bit lighter on your journey
forward. If you want to learn more about how to think light, feel light and live light, then hop on
my website, www.thelightcoach.com to schedule a free intro session and explore what's
possible for you. That's www.theL-I-G-H-Tcoach.com. I promise you it'll be an adventure that
you will never forget.