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“Swapping Feelings”

By Julie Dieterle

Leesa’s article (Lost and Found) talks about a technique for dealing with emotions that helps move from a “stuck” emotion to a more “fluid” or moveable one. It is important to feel the feelings and acknowledge them. Grief is huge and, as you hear from the article—sudden and overwhelming.

The technique is: We swap one feeling for another one. It is especially helpful when there is a strong negative or destructive emotion. Grief, pity, fear, powerlessness can carry us to a place of inaction or isolation — a “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m just going to go eat worms” place. I think we can all see where that path takes us—depression. OR It could build up inside and come out sideways where we strike out at others—often at someone we love or we know can’t strike back.

Try remembering a loving time, a successful time, a time you showed courage, a time you made a right decision. It must be honest and true to you, or you hear the internal message “Oh sure!!” It must be a strong feeling that counters the one that is threatening or holding you hostage. It may be a statement that is the action you CAN do now.

For example–I felt verbally attacked at a business meeting and was unable to respond to the person. I needed to acknowledge that I felt that “punch”. I acknowledged to myself that I spoke my truth – maybe anger would come in as defense. That motivates me. Now I have a choice: I can “bite back” at her or someone lower on the chain, I could “swallow it and forget it”, I could think about it rationally and end up talking to her when I am calmer.

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