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Ep #138: Feeling On Purpose

During our recent Master Coach retreat, we talked a lot about buffering, eliminating buffering from our reality, and living a buffer-free life. That got me thinking about another powerful concept that I would like to share with you this week…

For many of you, an un-buffered life will feel like you can’t go on.

It will feel intolerable, boring, make you angry, or even terrify you. And unless you have the ability to manage your emotional life, you will go right back to buffering.

On this episode of The Life Coach School Podcast, we’re talking about learning to feel all of our emotions on purpose and being able to manage them. Join us for an in-depth step-by-step guide on how you can learn to feel on purpose, live the life you deserve, and create anything you want in your life.

What You will discover

  • Why living a buffer-free life is so difficult for so many of us.
  • How to find out the truth about the exact life that you’re meant to be living.
  • The prerequisite to being able to feel on purpose.
  • Step-by-step guide on how to feel on purpose.
  • Three keys to creating an emotion.
  • And more!

Get the Full Episode Transcript:

download the transcript

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Well hello, hello, hello, my friends! Hi, my friends. I'm so happy to be speaking with you. I have a good episode for you this time, and I want to tell you where this episode came from. I had a retreat last week where we did an exercise. One of the students in the retreat actually took us through a writing exercise and it's something that I have a very similar exercise in my first book, "If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight?" It's basically accessing your future self and using your future self for wisdom, and one of the things that I did is project to my future self 5 years from now, and one of the things that I imagined myself saying 5 years from now is how much easier it is for me to teach some of these concepts. I have been practicing them and teaching them for 5 more years, so I imagine myself saying, "Remember 5 years ago when we had to learn it this way?" Now I have an easier way, and we were journaling about that, and while I was journaling about what my future self would be saying, this concept came up in my mind.

This is a concept that I've kind of had in the back of my mind but I hadn't had it really solidified until I sat down to outline this podcast. It all comes from a lot of the recent episodes that I have been doing about not buffering, and I think the reason why I'm very focused on this topic right now is because of how much my life has changed since I gave up my last buffer, which was drinking chardonnay sometimes, and I feel like from the rooftops I want to tell everyone, "This is the best thing that you could ever possibly do for yourself," is to remove the buffering from your life, which is overeating, overdrinking, overworking, over-procrastinating, whatever you're doing to escape your life ... Take all the buffers out. What remains in your life?

When you see what remains, you will see what needs to be changed to make your life buffer-free forever, so there is no need for the buffer, because your life is completely enjoyable without any of it. One of the things that we talked about at our retreat was that ... There's 2 things that we talked about that were new things that we said in new ways. One of them was that a lot of us will make plans in our life, we will set up our lives in certain ways, because we know that we have the option of escaping through a buffer. For example, one of my students who is an incredible people pleaser like many of us are, and she owns a law firm, one of the things that she does is she has an inordinate amount of emails that she's responding to all the time, and an inordinate amount of requests that she is constantly trying to accommodate to please her customers because of this people pleasing place, and it's almost more than any human being should be expected to be responsible for, but because she knows that she can eat, because she knows she can overeat to buffer her emotions around it, she knows that she'll be able to manage this stress.

Because she can always escape into food, she sets her life up that way. When I talk to her about completely eliminating all overeating and all buffering and all entertainment with food, she can't imagine continuing her life the way it is, and that is the point. I have this with a lot of clients that feel like, "I won't be able to stay in my current life without buffering," and I think that's the point. If your life requires buffering, if your life requires an escape, then your life needs work, not your escape. If you're one of those people who has tried to give up drinking or you've tried to give up overeating or you've tried to give up overworking and it hasn't worked, it's because of what remains being intolerable. When I did my overeating workshop, which was amazing, by the way…It was really, I think, one of the best workshops I've ever given with a group of the best people that have ever been there. It was just such a magical combination. We talked a lot about this.

We talked a lot about this idea of living an unbuffered life, and what that means to all of us to kind of evolve into that next version of ourselves, and so that's kind of step 1. You get into this life. It's now unbuffered, and for many of you, an unbuffered life will feel like you can't go on. It will feel intolerable or you will feel bored or you will feel terrified or you will feel angry. One of those emotions will come up, so unless you have the ability to manage your emotional life, you will go right back to buffering, so step 1 is stopping buffering, but step 2 is being able to manage your emotional life, and what I mean by "manage your emotional life" is that you are able to feel all of your emotions on purpose. You are able to move towards those emotions and handle them.

The way that we kind of said it in a new way in this seminar was that when you are able to feel any emotion that your brain presents you with, then you can use that highest version of your mind to decipher whether the emotion is something that's a genuine sign telling you to do something based on the thoughts that created it or if you are spinning out in a thought loop or spinning out in unnecessary fear or worry. Unless you're willing to feel that emotion, unless you're willing to move towards it and feel it, you will always be avoiding and escaping through buffering, and you will think that that is your life.

You will think that your life that you are constantly escaping is the way your life is meant to be, and here's what I think. I think that once you stop buffering, you will get access to your truths about the exact life you're meant to be living. When you bring your desire back from all those false pleasures, you will then be able to use that knowledge and those true desires to moving towards the directions of your dreams.

People talk about this all the time. Find your purpose, move towards the direction of your dreams, and for most people that I run into, their answer to that question, "What is your purpose, what are your dreams," is, "I don't know," and they think that that's a genuine answer. They think that "I don't know" is the genuine answer for, "What is the purpose of your life?" Many people die with, "I don't know," blocking access to their dreams, and I want to let you know that it's just another form of buffering. Being willing to access whatever is beyond that false confusion, whatever fear lies beyond that, is the secret to moving forward, so this brings us all the way back to, "Okay, so how do we feel our feelings on purpose?" I've given you quite a bit of curriculum around this and knowledge and some podcasts about this, but as I take my work to the next level, I want to teach it to you in a more advanced way, and one of the things that I want you to do is feel on purpose and there are a couple dimensions and layers to this process.

One of the processes, one of the things that we have to be able to do is be willing to feel any feeling that we are presented with. The truth is, our feelings are always coming from our mind. Our feelings are always coming from a thought that we're thinking. A lot of those thoughts, we've thought so many times and become so efficient at that the thought happens kind of beyond and below our general awareness, so it seems as if we're having the feeling before we're having the thought. The way that it normally works for most people is they notice that they're having a feeling and they escape having the feeling before they've even genuinely felt it.

Let me break this down for you. You have a thought, an unconscious thought that you're not really aware of, that creates a feeling that you immediately want to go unconscious from because you don't want to feel whatever that feeling is, so now you're not only unconscious with what's going on in your mind. You're also unconscious with what you're feeling and you're right into buffering.

You're taking the action of buffering before you've even known it, so it seems like you're doing it against your own will. It seems like all of a sudden you find yourself having had 5 cookies and you don't even remember doing that. It's so unconscious. It's kind of like when you're driving somewhere and then you realize that you've just automatically started driving to work or automatically started driving to your kid's school when really you're trying to go somewhere else. It's like you have gone unconscious. When we decide to feel on purpose it means we stay present with ourselves. We acknowledge the feelings as they come and one of the best ways to start doing this is to stop buffering. When you stop buffering, when you stop overeating and overdrinking and over-working and all of the things that you are over-ing, you will reveal what is true in terms of your emotional life to yourself. It will not be good.

The way that I know that it won't be good is because if it were great you wouldn't need to buffer against it. You are having some negative emotion. The reason why you're having that negative emotion is because of what you're thinking. You're unaware of both of those things so you're buffering, so, step 1 is to allow your feelings. Step 1 is to be in a place where no matter what you're feeling, you will move towards it instead of buffering over it, so the first step is to feel what you're feeling. Become conscious of it, and when you are willing to become conscious of what you are feeling, then you will start becoming more conscious of the thoughts causing those feelings. That is a process. That is a willingness to experience restlessness, boredom, pain, frustration, hunger, right? All of those emotions that are going to come up when you stop buffering. You have to be willing to move towards them.

Here's the process broken down for you in detail of how to feel a feeling on purpose. Number 1, be willing. Number 2, greet the emotion. I want you to imagine that you are opening your front door and letting the emotion in. Come on in. You're not trying to get it to pass by the door. You're not trying to punch it in the face. You're not trying to hide from it in the closet while it's at the front door. You're literally not afraid that it's there. You're opening the door and allowing it in. You're saying, "Come in, emotion. If I don't get to know you, if I don't make you someone that I would have welcome in my house, you cause me all sorts of trouble, so I will let you in."

The next step is to get to know it in detail, and the best way I know how to do this, and I've taught you this before, is to describe that emotion in as much detail as possible from that watcher position, so you are willing, you greet the emotion and then you describe it in detail. The best way I know how to do it is to do it on paper. Write it down. If you were going to teach someone what this emotion felt like in a classroom, how would you teach it? How would you describe it? The other way I want you to think about it, and this will come in a little bit later, is I want you to memorize this emotion so you can re-feel it on purpose at any time, so here's an example. If the emotion is fear and you allow it, you greet it, you allow it in, and then you pay attention and you make notes on it.

If I want to feel this on purpose later when I'm not feeling it, how would I recreate this emotion in my body? How would I be feeling in my stomach? How would I be feeling in my chest? How would I be feeling in my head? What would my fingers feel like? What would my feet feel like? When I'm going to recreate this later, I need to pay attention. A great way of thinking about this process is to think you are an actor and you are going to need to repeat emotions with the snap of a finger, and you want to memorize how to be in fear. You can do it when you're actually feeling fear, so pay close attention. That is one of the ways that you can feel on purpose. You memorize it and then what you do is you literally recreate it later when you're not feeling it. You create it on demand. One of the most powerful things you can do is feel a negative emotion on purpose when you aren't actually being cued to feel that emotion, because what it teaches you is that you are 100 percent in control of your emotional life and you have complete authority over any of your emotions.

For those of you who've listened to the episode on anxiety, you know that one of my suggestions is to feel anxious and increase that anxiety, because when you have the ability to increase the anxiety, you have authority over it. You also have the ability to decrease it. Now, in the beginning, these feelings will just appear. You will feel them on purpose and then you will repeat them at a later date. Now, this is the first part. This is kind of like, let's call it Freshman year. We're feeling our emotions on purpose. We're recreating them on purpose because we know exactly how to identify the vibrations that are in our body and what each one feelings like. In the beginning you may be only to qualify your emotions as bad and good. What does your body feel like when it's in a negative, uncomfortable, bad emotion? How do you know that that's different from a positive emotion? How does your body feel different in a positive emotion?

A lot of what we've talked about recently in my advanced coaching training was how to create and believe a new thought and create a new emotion, so this is the second part of feeling on purpose. If we're feeling our emotions that we have on purpose that are coming up that are negative, then we also want to learn how to practice and rehearse positive emotions so we can create them on purpose. The best way to do this is practice, practice, practice. Again, thinking of yourself as an actor is a great way of doing this, and if you are willing to take time to do this, you will blow your own mind in terms of your ability to feel whatever it is you want to feel. This is very different than creating a positive emotion in order not to feel a negative emotion, so step 1 is you have to be willing to feel any negative emotion on purpose.

You're not in a hurry to get away from it, but then you're also able to create at will positive emotion on purpose, and when you practice it, you'll be able to pull up this emotion at any point you want in your life. You won't need to do it to get out a negative emotion because you're already willing to feel that. Here's how you want to start it. You want to pick the emotion that you want to practice and you can say, "I am happy. I am excited. I am motivated. I am determined." You pick one. Those are emotions I really like to practice feeling. The best way to start practicing, in the beginning, is to be overly obvious. Think of Jim Carrey.

You want to overly exaggerate the emotion that you most want to feel, so it was funny, at this recent retreat, one of my students ... I was sitting at the kitchen table and she walked in and just kind of said hi to me casually, and I told her, I said, "Absolutely not, that is unacceptable. I want you to greet me like my puppies great me. I want you to be so excited to see me," and so she went back out the door. It was so great. She went back out the door, came back in like she was a puppy that hadn't seen me in a week and was like over the moon excited, and my other student that was sitting there with me, she goes, "You were so delighted. Even though you know that was coming, you were so delighted for her to do that." What was so great about that is she was excited to see me the first time, but when she acted it out and over-acted it out, she created such a bigger dose of that emotion for both of us.

It was so fun. I created that emotion of excitement. She created it. We actually had a much more memorable moment than her just coming in and saying hello to me, and so it was great. The rest of the retreat, every time she saw me, she did that, and so it just created this moment of delight that we wouldn't have had otherwise.

One of the things I want to warn you against when you're practicing emotion is not to go to your past to recreate it. There's a lot of actors who use method acting, where they find situations in their past and they think about those situations in their past to create that emotion, and one of the criticisms of that method is basically it takes you out of the present moment, and so we want to be able to create emotion from our thinking that is in the present moment, that is something that we are moving towards in our life.

When you're creating emotion, there's 3 things you want to think about. You want to think about what you're thinking, the vibration in your body and the actions that you would take if you felt that way, so this goes right back to the model. Your thoughts create your feelings which create your actions, and when you incorporate all 3 of those things to create an emotion, you will notice it in your mind. You will notice it in your body as a vibration and you will notice it in your actions, so if you think to yourself, "I'm very excited. I've never been this excited in my entire life. I'm so excited," notice even how just when I say it out loud, my voice gets excited. Then what would my body be experiencing and how would I act that out if I was the most excited I've ever been in my entire life? That's what we want to practice, and then if you were more motivated than you've ever been in your entire life, what would you be thinking? How would your vibration feel? How would you be acting out in the world? That's what you want to practice.

You can't do it just once and think that you're going to be good at it. If you want to be a person who can call up any emotion, you have to practice those emotions. Here's the best news. Your body does not know the reason why you're experiencing any kind of emotion. It doesn't know if it's because you just won the lottery or if you just thought you won the lottery. It doesn't know if you just met the man of your dreams or the woman of your dreams or if you just are thinking of watching a show. It doesn't know, so you create a very real experience in your vibration when you practice emotion, and when you get good at feeling emotions, you actually create that vibration in your body and in your energy field, which puts you in the mindset of creating more of it.

Some of you may say to me, "Okay, well if that's true, I don't want to create feelings of dread. I don't want to create feelings of fear. I don't want to do those on purpose," but here's what I'm going to sell you on. If you are moving towards the space of your dreams, if you're moving towards your purpose, fear and dread and doubt are all part of that experience. You do not want to avoid those emotions. You want to learn how to be able to move towards them. You want to know how to create those at will so you can increase or decrease them at will. If you're not afraid of feeling doubt and fear, there's nothing you're going to be afraid of doing. There's no goal that's going to be too big, because you're going to be willing to move towards and then through those emotions, so don't be afraid of feeling a negative emotion on purpose, thinking that somehow that will cause you problems. If you have authority over that emotion, you can use that to create anything you want in your life.

Life is supposed to be half and half, right? Half negative emotion, half positive. If I don't give you unhappiness, I can't give you happiness, right? You have to have both to understand both. Happiness can't exist without unhappiness. It has no contrast. If everything's always happy, how do we even know what happy is? By embracing both layers, positive and negative, and not judging them as "bad" or "good" and seeing the negative emotion is the raw material for our dreams to be created, because in order for us to evolve to the next version of ourselves, we have to doubt and fear that we can get there otherwise we're not evolving at all.

Step 1 is practice the emotions. Be willing to experience the emotions that you've having involuntarily. Whatever comes to your mind. The second one is to practice feeling negative emotions on purpose so you can establish some authority over them. Step 3 is to practice feeling positive emotion on purpose. The way that we do that is we say, "I am," and then we name that emotion and then we overact it. Completely over the top act in a way that you would feel if you were that emotion, completely over the top, and then pay close attention. What do you notice in your body? What do you notice in your actions? What do you notice in your mind? Then we're going to continuously practice all of those emotions on purpose. Instead of feeling like we are at the effect of everything that happens to us, we will start to realize that we are the cause of it and that we can create anything we want in our lives.

If we need determination, we can create it. If we need motivation, we can create it. If we are experiencing fear and doubt, we can move towards it and through it. That is the secret to having anything you want in your life. The only reason you don't have something you want in your life is because you're not willing to feel the feelings that are required to get it. True that, so practice feeling on purpose. I promise you guys, I'm going to be teaching this in an upcoming course. Stay tuned for my course on coaching. This will be a huge piece of that. I can't wait to share. I'll see you guys next week. Take care. Bye bye.

Thank you for listening to the Life Coach School Podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to TheLifeCoachSchool.com/HowToFeelBetterOnline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.


  1. My new favorite quote! I’m posting it everywhere! “The only reason you don’t have something you want in your life is because you’re not willing to feel the feelings that are required to get it.” This blew my mind wide open! I had to go back and re-listen just to let it sink in deep, like all the way to my toes! Thanks, Brooke! 🙂

  2. Hello Brook,
    I’ve been listening to your podcast for the past two months and making some progress in awareness of my thoughts/feelings. The tools you recommend are very helpful and doable. I’d really appreciate your comment on how to do affirmations that work. Is this better if I say “I like myself more and more every day. Every day I find something to like about myself ” instead of “I love myself “?
    And another question is about boundaries with my two 15 y. old teens. We have broken relationship (my bad attitude in the past) and I’m working on myself. I understand that I can’t control other people. But they are my children… I want to be close to them, to protect them. I’m asking if you can make another podcast on mending relationships with children.
    Thank you so much,

    1. Hi Svetlana,

      Thank you for being a loyal listener of the podcast! I’ve passed along your topic suggestion to Brooke.

      PS – If you haven’t already done so, would you take a few minutes to leave a review for Brooke’s podcast on iTunes? She’s trying to reach 1,000 reviews. Here’s how: https://thelifecoachschool.com/138

      Thank you in advance!


  3. Brooke-
    Am feeling so lost with the results of the election. I’m not sure which way you lean politically, and I suppose it doesn’t matter. In the next podcast would you be willing to speak to the very difficult feelings so many of us face in light of such a divided nation? What can we do with feelings of powerlessness and despondency that are results of something so much bigger than us?

    1. Such a great question, Rebecca, as this election has brought up so many different emotions for everyone. I’ve passed along your topic suggestion to Brooke. Stay tuned!


  4. Hi Brooke! I’ve started listening to your podcasts recently and are really enjoying them. Often when I’m diving into a self-improvement topic I get stuck on something I learn and think “well that would work for me if I wasn’t chronically ill”. Something you said today struck that same nerve with me: “The only reason you don’t have something you want in your life is because you’re not willing to feel the feelings that are required to get it.” I just know that there has to be a different way I could be viewing things, and would love to know how to shift my thinking around being ill and not being able to make the changes I want. Because I often hear something like that and think – “well, I am trying to make so many life changes but my energy levels and lack of health are stopping me”. And then I feel like it’s not in my control and whatever topic I’m trying to learn really isn’t going to help me. I would love to hear your thoughts on how I can view this differently, and also make changes in my life (job, finances, relationships, health, happiness) while being in a situation where I don’t have the energy or health to do much. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your question, Christie. Brooke will address this in a future Questions and Answers episode.

      PS – you may want to check out Brooke’s new program, Self Coaching Scholars, in which she teaches you how to apply the concepts learned through her podcast. This also includes two live video calls with Brooke every month, where you can get your questions answered. You can get more information here: https://thelifecoachschool.com/join/


  5. Hi Brooke!
    I love your work and I am having great success applying it to my life. Changing my thinking has changed my life very quickly and in extraordinary ways!

    My question is how do I know if I am using positive behaviors as buffering. I really enjoy exercise, eating intentionally and keeping a clean house. Sounds positive (maybe controlling?) but I have started to worry that my enjoyment comes from the “busyness” these activities bring. Many times I will be very conscious of my feelings while I’m participating in these activities. Therefore, I am able to be the watcher because my body is busy so my mind is more clear. I feel like I need this everyday and I don’t have another way to work through my negative thinking. I literally do not want to go a single day without a workout. I get very anxious and sometimes angry. Is this a sign that I am using a “positive” behavior as buffering? I am struggling to figure out when a seemingly positive behavior becomes a negative force in my life.

    1. Hi Billie,

      Great question! I’ve passed it along to Brooke and she may address this for you in an future Questions and Answers episode. Stay tuned!


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