Something is bothering you. A challenging situation at work, your relationship isn’t working out the way you had hoped it would, your kids are testing your patience, you’re having trouble finding a job and money is tight. These are some of the challenges that my clients have struggled with this week alone. We all have challenges and things that disturb our peace. What matters more than fixing the problem, is looking at how we are relating to ourselves as we go through the issue.
When something is bothering you, the natural reaction is to attempt to fix it. But when we try to fix several things are happening. First, when we approach a situation as needing to be fixed, we are judging it as wrong. Second, we are spiritually bypassing the emotional healing and spiritual expansion that the situation is presenting for us. Last, we rarely experience sustainable change when we force or fix something because there is typically something much larger at hand.
When I was a student in the University of Santa Monica Spiritual Psychology masters degree, they taught us a concept called, “I am upset because…”. Fill in the blank with whatever is bothering you or making you upset - work, relationship, money, health, spirituality. What I learned in that program was that most of us attempt to fix the “…” part of “I am upset because…” when true healing happens when we go to the part of us that is upset. Here is a real life example from one of my clients.
This client was struggling with one of the teams she managed. She was frustrated with them and simultaneously felt guilty for being irritated with them and ashamed for not being the type of leader she wanted to be. Instead of strategizing how to lead the team, we first went to the part of her that was upset. We had a conversation with this part of her that was frustrated, irritated, feeling guilty and ashamed.
What we discovered was the irritated part was triggered. It felt alone, it felt tired, it didn’t want to have to do all the work. After further inquiry, we discovered that this was how she felt as a child; alone, tired, and that she had to do everything on her own. The client first responded to the “feelings” by trying to smooth them over, attempting to look for the positive, versus really validating how the emotions felt. When I guided the client to acknowledge and understand the emotions without trying to fix them, the feelings became less intense and less bothersome.
Often times when something is bothering us its a younger part of us that is being triggered and looking to be healed. So instead of fixing this part of her, we brought love, compassion, understanding and acknowledgement to it. When this part felt loved and understood, the level of irritation subsided and an organic and authentic approach on how to handle the situation was able to rise to the surface. The client felt lighter, freer and more peaceful about this team and herself.
The way to get to the core of what’s bothering you is not to fix the issue, but instead to look at how you are relating to yourself, and how you are relating to the issue. Healing happens when you shift how you relate to yourself as you go through the issue. Healing happens when you apply love to the places inside of you that are bothered, upset, fearful or hurt.
Try this tip with yourself at home and comment below on what your experience!