Yesterday I was coaching my youngest client, a 13 year old very insightful teenager. We began the session with her reporting that she was very tired and didn’t have much to say. I was surprised and delighted at the same time. The time had come to be more in the moment and in relationship to each other as opposed to managing “stories from the past”.
I invited her to not stress herself, take some deep breaths and see what comes up. I invited her to do what I call a “body scan”, to pay attention as she was breathing to what she noticed in her body from head to toe and report her findings.
She proceeded to report tension in her shoulders. I then asked “what if your shoulders could speak, what would they say”?
She replied, “they would say “stop”!”
We entered into a dialogue about what that word was speaking to. It was speaking to the sense of pressure that she was feeling.
Of course, who could not relate?
We all feel that sense of pressure, for some of us more than others, and our body is the quickest feedback system that will let us know that we are feeling “out of sort”.
For some of us, a queasy stomach, a light headed feeling, an overhaul feeling of impending doom, a racing mind unable to focus, are all symptoms pointing in the direction of the “inner pressurer” at work.
What do I mean by that?
I mean the voice(s) that we have internalized as we grew up. The people around us, even in their best attempts to impart their knowledge, love, and care to us had their own inner critic and they passed some of those voices/comments/reactions to us.
As children we don’t really have the capacity to distinguish between what our “inner knowing” and our external care providers are saying. It is only when we grow up that we begin feeling the uneasy feelings, the feelings that don’t feel “right”. The ones that let us know that there is a difference between our inner critic, beliefs that don’t serve us, inner judgments, or other people’s judgments and our deep inner nature.
I have been working on this myself for quite some time. It took a real deep dive into breast cancer for me to begin looking at all the places in my life where I did not have self-compassion and kindness towards myself and my life. That sense of inner pressure, the “should”, “have to’s”, the not being good enough or too much/too little of something had cut off the life force from my heart and body and ultimately impacted my health.
I view my inner work and my work with my coaching clients as very simple work, make the distinction between those two voices, the voice of the heart and the voice of the inner critic.
After “speaking out loud” the sentences that were creating stress in her shoulders, I invited my young client to imagine or remember a place where she could relax and feel safe. Then, I asked her:
“What do you know about yourself that is true?”
“What qualities do you have that make you the unique person you are?”
“What inner resources do you know you can count on, if you were left stranded somewhere on a desert island, qualities that you know would show up no matter what?”
Now mind you, these are deep questions for a 13 year old teenager yet she was able to answer. We made a list of who she is and her qualities.
I then asked her the following “how do you know that these things are true about yourself?”
She then replied “deep down inside, I know”!
When you find yourself “out of sort”, stressed out, fatigued, frustrated, not getting the results you want… Ask “what part of me is putting pressure on me that needs to get somewhere, accomplish something, or imparts a conscious belief that says “is something wrong with me?””
After becoming cognizant of those feelings/thoughts/beliefs, focus on your heart and ask “deep down inside” what is the truth, about me, this situation, the people around me?
Let yourself know that you know who you are deep down inside!
Drop me a line and let me know what you think about what I wrote..
Until we see each other again, may you be happy, healthy, and have compassion towards yourself and others.