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Ep #29: How to Feel

On this episode of the Life Coach School podcast, we are diving deep into the topic of feelings and why we should learn to experience every last one of them. Feelings are vibrations in our bodies. When we resist these vibrations, we cause ourselves all kinds of problems and additional negative emotions. Resisting our feelings does not make our problems go away.

Listen in as I break down for you what it really means to feel your feelings…good and bad. If you are willing to feel, your entire life will open up in ways you can’t even imagine. Follow me on this journey as I lay out my step-by-step explanation of how you can learn to feel and become a stronger you.

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What You will discover

  • Why it is important to feel instead of avoiding emotions.
  • How the ability to embrace suffering can make you stronger.
  • Why feeling doubtful is a good sign when you set goals for yourself.
  • How to ultimately release your suffering.
  • The key to adopting a new way of thinking.

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Get the Full Episode Transcript:

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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.

Oh, my goodness! What is happening? What is going on with you, guys? I'm so thrilled to be here. I've been traveling a lot this month and it feels like I haven't been able to be here and just focus on you all. So, I'm really excited to be back and to be sitting down to talk to you about how to feel. This is something that's been coming up a lot, a lot, a lot.

So, before I jump into it, I want to mention something. I offer at www.thelifecoachschool.com a free coaching call every other week. You can jump on that call. You can request to be coached. You can listen to me coach other people and you will learn a lot through that as well. You can also request to be coached personally.

I love it when you guys leave comments on the site and I can coach you there as well but there's something I think really powerful about being coached live. It's really an opportunity for you to get a taste of what we do at the school. We adjusted our schedule for next year and it's going to be amazing. We're doing in-person trainings six-day trainings here in California for people who want to become coaches and people who just want to learn how to massively coach themselves.

So, I want to invite you all to check that out, to come on to California. So many of you have written me beautiful e-mails about how you much love this podcast. It's nothing compared to you and me live and in-person. Anyway, if you're thinking about doing something really awesome for yourself in 2015, check it out. If you want to see and get a little bit more of a taste, you can go ahead and opt in for free for that free coaching call.

Also when you opt in, you can get a copy of the recording. So go over there and check it out. Hurry up! Right now, do it unless you're driving. It would be a horrible idea. Put your phone down.

All right. Let's get started. How to feel? Let's talk about feeling and what it means to feel your feelings. So often people will ask me about the model and we've talked about the model on previous podcast. If you're just trying to jump in and start listening to this podcast here, you're probably going to be like, "What the what is she talking about?" You definitely want to go back and listen to a couple of the first podcasts where I talked about the model and get a sense of what self-coaching is.

Once you have that sense and once you start using the model, one of the things people want to do immediately is once they recognized that their feelings are caused by their thinking, they want to immediately change their thinking. It's like I call it a thought swapping. Like, "Oh, this feeling is making me feel horrible. I need a better thought." I've had three people in the last three days ask me, "What are the steps to feel better? What are the steps for the better feeling thought?"

I'm always having to say, "Slow it down, tigers. Just dial back a bit." You can't just try on a new thought, right? You can't just go to the place where you start thinking and you thought and then you feel better immediately. In some instances, that does work sometimes. If you just notice that you've been thinking something negative and you can just switch it around real quick. Most of the time, it doesn't happen that way.

Most of the time what happens is you become aware. That’s always the first step, right? This increase of awareness is the first step and you start noticing how you're feeling. Most people are like, "What the heck is going on? Why am I feeling this way?" Then immediately they want to change their thinking once they get a hold of it. What I want to increase and what I want to teach you to increase is your awareness and your ability to feel.

Now, that may sound kind of funny. Everybody has the same ability to feel. Everyone has the same emotions but that’s not true. It actually is an ability that you learn, learning how to feel, learning how to feel your emotions and being willing to feel your emotions. That is some badassery doing that. I'm not talking about always being crying. I'm not talking about emoting. I'm not talking about reacting and displaying your feelings and always being in a state of negative emotion or always yelling or anything like that. I'm not talking about display of emotion.

I'm talking about your ability to feel what you are feeling instead of avoiding or reacting to it. For example, your ability to feel anxiety is very different than suffering from anxiety, right? We talked about this in the anxiety podcast, right? If you resist your anxiety and increases it and it causes a lot of problems. When you allow anxiety, when you feel the emotion, when you feel the fear, when you feel the pain, it has much less of an impact on you than when you try to resist it, push it away, tuck it away for it to fester.

One of the things that happens is some people try to use the self-coaching 101 model to escape their feelings. It's so funny. It's like I create these tools. It's like I created the hunger scale for weight schoolers and they want to use the hunger scale as a diet. They want to use it as an external diet, which of course is not what it's meant for. Then they want to use the self-coaching as a way to escape their feelings when actually the self-coaching model is designed for you to feel your feelings, to be willing to feel.

When you say, "Okay, yes. Now, I recognize that I'm feeling blank. I'm feeling frustrated. I'm feeling judgmental. I'm feeling critical. I'm feeling anxious." The next question maybe, "How do I stop feeling this way now that I've noticed it?" I say don't try to stop feeling that way because if you stop feeling that way, you don't get stronger. You don't get the ability to feel to embrace your suffering.

Now, I hear you. Who the heck would want to embrace their suffering? The reason why you want to embrace it, the reason you want to move towards it is so you can own it. Once you own something then you have authority over it and then you can manage it. Think about that word manage. You have to be in a superior position. You have to have the ability to manage it and that's what we're talking about when it comes to our emotional lives.

Remember, feelings need to be felt. They are vibrations in our body. When we resist those vibrations, we cause ourselves problems. It does not make them go away. Avoiding them, pretending they're not there does not make them go away. It doesn't stop you from feeling them. It just pushes them down and creates all sorts of avoidance patterns and reacting issues.

Now, here's something that I've been talking about a lot lately with my colleagues as some of us work on growing our business and developing new programs and working with new students. Whenever you set new goals for yourself and have new opportunities, you're going to feel emotion, typically doubt and self-doubt. We've talked about this before like when you set a goal for yourself, you wanted to feel wonderful and lovely but really what it ends up feeling like is doubt.

I tell you guys, that's a good sign because if you're feeling doubtful that means that you have to overcome that doubt in order to achieve that goal. As you overcome that doubt, that's how you evolve. That's how you grow. That's how you become stronger. If you avoid the doubt, if you pretend like it isn't there, you do not overcome and in fact, you end up letting it determine your action with very little awareness.

Think about this for a minute. If you set a new goal for yourself and you know that probably if it's stretching you, if it's asking a lot of you then you're probably going to have some doubt come up. You're probably going to have some fear come up. Instead of running away from it or changing your goal or deciding that you don't like goal setting because it brings up that negative emotion for you, what I want to suggest is that you be willing to feel it.

So let's talk about doubt. What does doubt feel like? Now, it's got to feel pretty bad because we all spend a lot of time avoiding it. We spend a lot of time avoiding stretching ourselves and putting ourselves in situations where we're not certain, where we're not sure, we're not going to be 100% successful.

When you feel doubt, what does it feel like? If somebody like an alien, just picture any alien you want in your mind. My alien is like a cute little dude. So, you picture an alien coming down from some planet and the alien doesn't understand emotion. It doesn't know what emotion is and it wants to know what doubt is. So, you're trying to explain it, the emotion of doubt when this alien doesn't even know what you mean. So, how would you describe it? You'd have to describe it through how it feels in your body, where you feel it. How it feels different than another emotion?

Now, when I ask that to you, would you be able to do that? Would you be able to describe doubt in such detail that they would be able to mimic it, that they would then be able to experience it if they did what you told them, if when you described it they could then do that thing within their body? Would they be able to experience doubt?

Most of you probably would say no because you're like, "It's just doubt. What do you mean? It doesn't feel like anything. It's just doubt," but if you can really take the time and describe it and really think about doubt and what it feels like in your body and you can describe it in detail, what you will realize is that the worst part of doubt is resisting it.

When you have just pure doubt, when you're really just allowing that to be there and you're really experiencing it, the actual emotion, the feeling of it is really not that unpleasant. I feel it a little bit in my solar plexus just like a little buzz in my solar plexus and a clenching but not a really intense one but just a clenching in my stomach. That's what doubt is and I spend a lot of time avoiding that little feeling in my solar plexus and that clench in my stomach. I spend a lot of time running away from it.

"What the heck for? Really think about it. Why am I running? It's not even like a punch in the stomach. It's just like a little clench. I'm not going after my dreams because I don't want to feel that. You got to be kidding me," but that's what we do. The way that we feel an emotion is by sitting with it, breathing into it and describing it is one of the best ways I know of how to feel it. Not explaining why you're feeling it yet but just feeling it.

As you feel it, you can tell yourself, "I can do doubt. I can do humiliation. I can do frustration." Think about whatever emotion it is that you are avoiding, rejection. What's so horrible about the feeling of rejection? I was thinking about this one. I got an e-mail from someone who had said that her boyfriend had broken up with her and started dating someone else and she was feeling rejection and it was the worst thing she'd ever experienced.
I started thinking about, "What is it about rejection that's so hard for us?" It's because we feel rejection which is for me, it's like a clenching in my throat a little bit. I mean really, when you describe it, it's just a little clenching in your throat. It's a little bit of a clenching for me in my solar plexus. Now, usually when we're rejected, we have other thoughts that bring on shame and that feels more of like for me, shame feels like a heating in my face and all over my body and a tingling that's rapid and unpleasant but it's all over my body. That's what shame feels like for me and it also clenches my throat a little bit.

Now, think about if you would be willing to feel any emotion on purpose. Think about that. If you would be willing to feel rejection, if you would be willing to feel doubt, shame. Not tolerate it but really feel it, really allow it. Think of all the things you would be more willing to do. Think of all the relationships you would be willing to hold the space for. Think about all the things that you might say that you want to say that go left unsaid because you're afraid of maybe being rejected or you're feeling doubt or you're feeling fear.

Think about it. "I don't want to do my dreams because I don't want to feel the fear. I don't want to feel the self-doubt. I don't want to feel the disappointment." If you can be willing, your entire life will open up in ways that you can't even imagine. I have so many of you talking to me and telling me that you're hiding. You're hiding in your houses. You're hiding in your lives because you don't want to experience negative emotion. You don't want to have the conversations. You don’t want to put yourself out in the world because you don't want to feel those emotions that come up for you.

I just want to ask you, you have every right to hide if you want to hide. I'm not going to tell you shouldn't be hiding. It's up to you but what are you hiding from? You're hiding from the emotions that you're creating that really aren't that big of a deal. I mean, I think the worst feeling is panic, terror, humiliation.

A panic attack is a pretty unpleasant experience but panic attacks come from the resistance of emotion building upon each other. The anxiety building on the anxiety and then the anxiety causing more anxiety which then turns into panic which then turns into terror which is a full on panic attack. It's certainly not pleasant. You think you're going to have a heart attack but the worst part about that is thinking that you're going to die. You're not really going to die.

So, here's how you do it. How do you feel? This is how you do it. You name the feeling. Now, there's some contradiction here. Some coaches or some teachers teach not to label the feeling. That's not what I'm teaching here. I think labeling it is so powerful because then it's not this big generalized thing. You name it, "I feel sad. I feel humiliated. I feel frustrated." Then relax into it.

Now, if you're trying to pay attention to exactly how it feels, that will come naturally because what you will do is you will go into the watcher in order to observe your body feeling. I will tell you, that is the way to do it. Instead of being really at the effect and the resistance of the emotion, when you go into the watcher to describe the emotion, you get a little bit of relief from that emotion. Notice as many things as you can. What does it feel like? Where do you feel it in your body? What exactly? Like you're describing it to the alien exactly how would you describe it.

Is there a certain color associated with it? What adjectives would you use? Is it hard? Is it soft? Is it fast? Is it slow? What is the worst part about the emotion? Like I think with shame, it's the heat. I feel like the heat in my face and down my neck and on my chest, like the heat of it. Really when you think about physically, the physical heat of shame, it's not like it's burning. It's just unpleasant.

Now, when you're feeling any emotion that feels unfeelable, one of the best sentences, one of the best thoughts that I've ever had is, "I'm feeling this emotion," whatever the emotion is, "I'm feeling shame because of a sentence in my mind." Now remember, our thoughts cause our emotions. So any emotion that you're having is caused from a sentence in your mind. Now again, it doesn't we don’t want to be having the emotion. I always use the example of grief. A lot of times we want to be feeling an emotion like grief but it's still caused from a sentence in our mind thinking, "I'm going to miss this person. I'd loved this person so much," et cetera, et cetera.

So let's say you're feeling rejection. Allow yourself to feel rejection. What does it feel like? Then say to yourself, "I'm feeling rejection because of a sentence in my mind. This is rejection. This is what rejection feels like. I'm feeling rejection because of a sentence in my mind."

I tell a story often about a recent trip I had to Mexico where I was having what I call the complete shame attack. I was feeling so much shame. Shame comes from a thought, a version of a thought, "I have done something bad." or "I am bad," or "I am wrong," or "There's something wrong with me." I couldn't really identify exactly why I was feeling it or what the exact sentence was but what I did know is that it was shame and that I could name it and that I could say it and that it was caused by a sentence in my mind.

I went through the day and allowed myself to experience it. I reminded myself that the reason I was experiencing it was because it was a sentence in my mind and it took all the power away from anybody else that I might be blaming or anything that I was believing was wrong or bad about me. It reminded me that the sentence in my brain that was firing over and over and over again was causing this emotion of shame. "This is shame. This is shame." That was my mantra as I was vacationing in Mexico with my family. "This is shame. I am feeling this because of a sentence in my mind."

The other thing that really helps when you're feeling an emotion, when you're really feeling it is to focus on your exhale. A long, slow exhale will really help to increase the inhale and the air breathing will allow you to feel on a much deeper level. It will allow the feeling to really be there.

Now, I want to sell you on why feeling matters. I gave you a couple of reasons already. When you resist it, you make it stronger and worse, that's one reason. The second reason is if you're willing to feel any emotion, you will be willing to show up in the world in a way that most people are unwilling to do which means you probably have a life that most people are unwilling to create for themselves which is super awesome.

The last reason why I want to say be willing to feel is because it will give you access to your brain. It will give you access. If you're willing to stop and feel, you will get access to the thoughts that are causing that emotion. Some of those thoughts are oftentimes out of our awareness. We don't even know that we're having a thought that there's something wrong with us, that we're bad, that we're unworthy, that there's something that we need to prove to the world or there's a reason why we need to hide.

Those are all just thoughts. We don't recognize them as thoughts when we're in it. We think that's just our reality but really, it's because of something that's going on in our brain. It's the best news ever. So, if you're willing to stay in that feeling and notice the thought causing it and don't try and change anything. Don't try and swap the thought to get out of the feeling. Allow it to be there until you have felt it through. Feel that feeling all the way through because why not? It's just a little bit unpleasant when you allow it. It doesn't usually last very long when you allow it.

When you are willing to walk into your own suffering and not resist it, that is how you release it because when you are willing to feel it, that's when you claim ownership of it. Don't be in a hurry to do this. If you're in a hurry, it means you're believing that the feeling is so awful that you got to get out of it. What I want to teach you is that the worst thing that can happen is a feeling emotionally and if there is no feeling that you're unwilling to feel, there's no reason to be in a hurry.

About half of your life is going to be negative emotion. You're going to have a negative emotion. It's part of the human experience. If you allow it to be there, you will create an intimacy with yourself, a trust with yourself and ability to know that there's nothing you can't handle. There are no thoughts that you can't handle. Then and only then will you be able to then release that thinking and then you can adopt a new thinking.

When you truly understand the current thinking and then it's not working for you, that's when you can release it and start anew and pick a new thought that will ultimately stay with you, that will ultimately change your life, that will become that new pattern. You can't rush your way through it. You can't pretend it's not there but you don't need to because remember, there is no feeling that you can't feel if you're willing to experience it.
I would love to hear from you in the comments. What feeling did you allow yourself to feel this week? What was it? Now, I know some of you have never commented on the podcast. You've never gone there. You're just one of those people that doesn't do it but I want to challenge you to do it, to go there and say, "Today, I felt ..." whatever the feeling was and talk about exactly what it felt like in your body and share that with other people who are practicing this work as well. It will blow your ever living mind.

Then while you're there making a comment, make sure you opt in to hear our free call coming up on Wednesday. We're going to do them every Wednesday. Once you opt in then we'll always send you a reminder about the call and you can join us or listen to the recording or grab one of our replay webinars. We'll also give you access to that when we give you the replay.

All right, everybody. Have a wonderful, beautiful week and I'll talk to you all next week. Bye for now.

Thank you for listening to the Life Coach School Podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you would like to hear on the show, please visit us at www.thelifecoachschool.com.

37 Comments

  1. Hi, just listened to your latest podcast about how to feel and you asked for responses. I think it’s great work. The feeling I was trying to just let me is this on-going feeling I’m having when I am around other women/moms my age. We live in a very affluent town, and we are lucky to own a house etc, but my husband nor I have put much emphasis on decorating, updating etc… we have just been happy to be able to buy a house and have healthy kids. But more and more as my kids get further along in preschool and elementary school I’m feeling “less than”.. sorta straggly.. you know a bit embarrassed by my house, and by my kinda awkwardness … feels like so much of the socialization between parents is like a sorority/popularity club.. and I’m feeling sort out of it… and kinda “less than”. I know this is a feeling from LONGGGGGG ago, that hasn’t really come up much.. but it’s back up for me. My mom raised my sister and myself and we never had much money nor much of a family social life.. and even though my life is really different now I still feel left out, awkward and not sure how to fit in. The the feeling I’m just trying to feel is being the “not popular” one… so I’m sitting with that feeling… now what?? 🙂

    1. Brooke, this is pure Gold! Truly exceptional, the best podcast I have heard in my entire life!!!! You are truly exceptional, truly inspirational! Brooke should run for president! teach this stuff in schools, colleges, univercities up and down the land! I have never heard such teaching in my life. Going through loss and grief and totally lost. Thank you so much Brooke, God bless you! I am so deeply touched, and can see the way ahead when I was lost before. Where have you been all my life? A thousand thank you’s!!!!!

      1. So glad you found Brooke’s podcast and are enjoying it. Thanks for sharing, Zoe! –Brecklyn

  2. It was really helpful to hear you describe that it takes some time to experience the feeling before we can coach ourselves to another thought. Sometimes when I am self-coaching, I feel like I’m not getting it right because the feeling won’t go away when I find another thought, but I guess I just need to be prepared to feel the feeling for a while longer first.

    Last night, I had an experience of the kind you asked us to relate in your podcast. My husband had this cousin who came into our lives about 6-7 years ago. Both she and my husband were in their emotional childhood at the time (I think she still is, but fortunately he has grown up!), and were flirting with one another by email in a compliment-fishing expedition. I think he rationalized that it was OK because she was his cousin, but they didn’t know each other as kids. She always acted appropriately when we saw her in person, and I had no idea what was going on. When I saw some of the emails a couple of years ago, I told him that I felt it was an inappropriate relationship. He agreed, felt remorse at rationalizing his inappropriate behavior, and stopped the flirtatious emails. He also agreed never to text with her, as that was another strategy she used to try to keep the relationship the way it had been in the face of his unilaterally changing the tenor of their communications.

    Well, he’s been out of state this all week at training, and she contacted him for the first time in about three months by text. He forgot that he had promised me he would not communicate with her that way, and texted her back a very brief, three word text. When he told me this, I got very upset that he broke his promise, and all of the feelings from his earlier behavior with her came back to me. I felt angry. I tried to coach myself with thoughts of how he had done the right thing by changing the relationship and had been completely appropriate and wonderful since then, but I was still angry. I wondered whether I was forcing my new thoughts about the situation, but really just needed to feel that anger and let it pass first.

    Thanks for another great podcast!

  3. Brooke – this podcast is ME! I’ve been “on the run” from my feelings for at least 33 years now (I’m 44)…and I always run into my freezer and bags of almonds or cashews to numb out rather than experience them. I’m listening, taking notes, printing the transcript and making a commitment to really really do this work! I want access to my life. What you said truly resonated with me. If I can feel ANY feeling, I get to live life with the trust that I can handle any situation. And this, for me, is the key to truly resolving my food/body/weight issues. I know the binge eating and resulting body issues are only masks for me not feeling my feelings.

    Thank you! I love the step by step idea of labeling it, describing it (to an alien), relaxing into it, and perhaps even getting excited about having them, knowing that this is the doorway to my life!

  4. Hey Brooke, I am continuously blown away by the value you offer to us (for free) with these amazing podcasts. I look forward to them each week and re-listen to them more than a few times. I did want to give you some feedback on your instruction regarding anxiety and feeling your feelings. I have done some work with allowing myself to feel. Recently it was by using a book called The Presence Process. I heard about the book on a Martha Beck Life Coach Training call. I worked through that book over some months and found myself in the throws of deep depression. I experienced trauma as a child and lived in a world of fear. Basically, my body and mind were in flight or fight for years and years.

    I loved the way you described the feeling of hiding. You asked listeners to imagine ourselves hiding from someone who wanted to hurt us and to feel the energy that would take. You are spot on.

    I do offer another perspective and would love to have a discussion about how a person who suffers from PTSD might sit with their feelings. Unfortunately, we end up going back to our trauma – basically reliving and retraumatizing ourselves over and over. I believe that is what happened to me. I subsequently went to a SE (Somatic Experience) therapist who informed me of the danger of my sitting alone with my feelings and then being drawn into the vortex of shame, as I experienced my trauma.

    She taught me a method of titration – from Peter Levine’s work. How it worked was first, that I NOT do this work, but with someone present; second, that I go into the feeling but just for a bit and then come back to the present moment, get grounded by looking around the room, feeling my feet on the floor; know I am safe in the present moment and not really stuck in the past.

    With this work, I was able to heal another layer of sorrow and suffering. I believe you have an incredible talent for explaining things is a very clear way. I am not sure if you have done this work with women and men who have experienced trauma. If so, would love to see a discussion of it included in your presentation. Thanks so much for your service to the world. I for one, am continually impressed with your tools and teachings. I am concerned for others who want to do the work but who may find themselves flashing back to their trauma.

    1. This comment of Pat is really interesting. A crucial part of why people are avoiding their feelings is cos they’re afraid of them, overwhelmed by them or even traumatized by them. The process you call titration might help in gradually feeling one’s emotions.
      Sorry, by mistake, I replied to another post

  5. Hello Brooke,
    My boyfirend and I are very different kind of person. We have different expectation of life. We love each other and are attracted by each other. He said more than once to me that I was not the suitable girl who would end up marrying with him. Each time when our talk came to this issue, I always lost my temper. I want to think that we are the right person for each other and our relationship will last long. For me, I am serious about relationship with a man, being with him means I have faith in this relationship, making me always think of good thought about it and feel secure. I listen you talk that we should be responsible for our own emotions. Yesterday, he mentioned the issue again, he said how I was not suitable to be a girl to marry with. I was rather sad. But this time I did not lose any of my temper. I acted like I was peaceful. While I was not really peaceful, I cried a lot yesterday. I do not want to hurt him by saying those negative things as before. What he done made me feel difficult to be with him as normal. Someone says if a relationship can not survive in the long term, why it have to waste time. Then the short term is meaningless. I am in trouble applying your teaching. I tried hard to manage my emotions by trying all kinds of thought, but no one lasts long to make me peaceful. What I can do about the relationship. You say we should not leave someone or some places in order to chang our feeling. And I do not want to communicate with him about this. I want to stay with him joyfully. How can I do?

    1. This comment is really interesting. A crucial part of why people are avoiding their feelings is cos they’re afraid of them, overwhelmed by them or even traumatized by them. The process you call titration might help in gradually feeling one’s emotions.

  6. Gage-

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    Now, remember you are feeling “left out” not because of other people and not because of you home, but because of your thinking. T

    This is a tricky one to make sense of because it seems as if it is coming from outside of you.

    Also, I want to add that the feeling is not from long ago in the sense that you can only feel a feeling now in this moment. You can’t feel an old feeling, and this is very good news.

    So, you have some thoughts that are causing you to feel.

    Notice this:

    Thought: I don’t fit in.

    Feeling: Awkward

    Action: (curious how you would answer this. How do you act around other moms when you feel you don’t fit in?)

    Result: I am guessing the way you act does not help you fit in.

    So just notice how this thought is affecting you.

    And…once you are willing to feel awkward-you can realize that it’s not so bad. The feeling is not that terrible. It’s the thoughts you are having that are multiplying the feelings you are having.

    Does it make sense?

    Brooke

  7. Hi Shari-

    Thanks for sharing your story and that you are feeling angry.

    What is so clear is that you think your husband caused you to feel angry. What I want you to clearly see (because it will give you your power back) is that your THOUGHTS caused you to feel angry.

    When your husband said that he had texted her, you have many thoughts you could have chosen from that would have made you feel many different emotions. You went with: He broke a promise and then you made it mean something about him and about you.

    The way you are trying to feel better is to try and reconcile what he did. This is very different than trying to change the way you are thinking about it and that is why changing your thoughts here is not working.

    When you own that you are the cause of your own anger and you actually feel it-then the alternative thoughts are more available to you because you are willing to give up the “punishing” thoughts towards your husband. You start to realize that your negative emotion is only hurting you, not him. And you are the cause of it.

    Again, this is great news.

    What he does is not why you feel. What you think is why you feel.

  8. Hi Julie!

    Thank you so much for your comment. I am thrilled that the podcast resonated with you and that you are willing to start applying the tools I teach to yourself.

    Good stuff!

    Brooke

  9. Hi Pat,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your healing.

    As a coach, I do not work with clients who suffer with PTSD. This is something I refer out to other professionals who are much better at helping clients, like yourself, who suffer with trauma and need additional help feeling through.

    Most of my clients are simply traumatizing themselves with their thinking and that is where I can be of tremendous service.

    I appreciate all your kind words.

    Thank you,

    Brooke

  10. Hi Teen-

    Remember, you get to decide how you want to think about this relationship. And you get to feel love no matter what he does if that is what you want to feel.

    Why do you want to be with him?

    This question will really help you find your thinking here.

    What do you make it mean that he doesn’t want to be with you long term? What do you make it mean about you?

    Again, this will reveal more thinking.

    Now, please notice that your answers to these questions are the thoughts that are making you feel so terrible.

    I would never suggest that you pretend not to feel something you are feeling, but I also suggest that you don’t need to react to your feelings either. You don’t need to say mean things in order to feel angry.

    Ask yourself how you want to feel. Then, remember, you don’t need him to change in order to feel that way. You are the one you can manage your emotions.

    Then, once you feel this empowerment, you will know what to do within or without the relationship.

    Nothing but love for you…

    Brooke

  11. I’m not sure how to feel about today. Last week I was asked to help a colleague with some training. This colleague is new to his position (three months) and just not “getting” it. I sat with this colleague last week and during our training (I might have to point out that I am not a trainer. I am a tasker, I’m focused, like to get things done and get them done right. I’m tenacious.) he chose to complain about his current manager. I didn’t want to get involved in their situation so I suggested he speak to their superior about his concern. This week we sat together at the colleagues desk for additional training. I was surprised when I realized this week that nothing we reviewed last week, was retained. The colleague didn’t remember any of the tasks we reviewed and didn’t take any of my suggestions on ways to improve his knowledge of the job. I had decided to take a new approach. Maybe instead of teaching him how he wanted to be taught…which was telling him step-by-step how to do things (which myself and others have done numerous times throughout the last three months), I would ask him to show me how to do things so I could see where the gap in knowledge was and how his thinking was getting him to the wrong answers. Well, this backfired on me. This morning while we were in training he was very standoff-ish and non-responsive to the training. I had let him know that I had other tasks I needed to be doing (I have a full time job that has taken a back seat to help this colleague) and if he didn’t feel this training was beneficial, then I would like to go back to my work and that I would let our director know it wasn’t valuable and wasn’t working. This colleague blew up at me. Telling me I’m condescending and degrading. Telling me I embarrass him in front of those that sit around him by asking him questions about how to do things which points out that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I apologized and immediately let him know I was only there to help him and not to embarrass him. I was asking questions because I felt there was something I was missing and that I didn’t feel that training by giving him step-by-step instructions each time we reviewed the same topic was helpful. He continued to yell at me and tell me how unhelpful I was and how degrading I was to him. I apologized again and left his desk. I was really hurt by this. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told this. I have a lot of knowledge about my job and the project I’m on so many people come to me with questions. I go out of my way to help people understand the project and the tasks, how each team works and how each task affects the other. However, I feel that when I think I’m being helpful, others think I’m being condescending….which isn’t my intention at all. I’m told over and over again by leadership that what’s in my brain about this project, needs to be shared with others and others need to get up to speed on where I’m at. After this colleague’s outburst today my mind started going in all different directions. I was very upset and thought maybe I shouldn’t talk to anyone unless I’m asked a direct question and then only answer the exact question with as few words as possible. I told myself I wouldn’t give my opinion anymore and I do what is asked of me and that’s all. But now, this makes me sad. I am good at what I do. I know my job and have worked very hard to get to where I am. At one point today, I actually thought it might be time to move on and find another job. Why do I let comments like this bug me so much? I don’t feel like I did anything wrong and I was only trying to be helpful but some people don’t see that. Do I need to change who I am? But then I think so what, the few people that think you’re condescending will now like you and all those other people that like you will now think you’re not personable, not knowledgeable, not happy….which I probably wouldn’t be because that wouldn’t be the real me. I need help.

    1. Hey Jen-

      Here is what I want you to see: Your thoughts about him determined how you treated him. You were thinking that he wasn’t doing a good job and wasn’t retaining information. You believed he wasn’t getting it. Now, I recognize that you have evidence to support this-but this level of thinking is not going to have you acting in a way that will connect you to him.

      The way he responded is of course what hurt your feelings about it. Your thoughts about it and what you made it mean is what caused you to be upset. That is an important distinction.

      If you can take full responsibility for your actions (which you totally did by apologizing and sharing your intention) and your feelings (which you aren’t really as much as blaming yourself and looking for an escape route) you will have much more access to solutions.

      The question is “why isn’t he getting it”? What is the reason? That is the cause of his inaction in the job. Trying to fully understand your “client” will help you solve the problem he is having. It sounds like he has some feelings of inadequacy that are exasperated when someone tries to help him. That is something you can work with if you first understand where he is coming from.

      You don’t need to avoid these situations-they are great learning opportunities.

      Brooke

  12. Ms. Castillo –
    I cannot stress enough how absolutely game changing your program has been for me. This one podcast around how to feel has been the missing piece. The simple statement “…..because of a sentence in my mind”. Wow! Thank you so so much for sharing, all that you share. A student for life….

  13. Hi Brooke,
    For a long time I believe I have been running from feeling my emotions. I never liked the feeling of rejection, frustration, anxiety or pain. I would try my best to escape those feelings. When I was not successful at overcoming those feeling other feelings came of shame, defeat, frustration and embarrassment. I have been dealing with anxiety attack only when driving on the highway. For years I would fight against that feeling, which of course just made it worse and than I would be afraid to drive on the highway. As I decided to feel the discomfort and not fight against the anxiety, it was less and I was able to go further in my driving. I am using this in other areas of my life. Areas that I was afraid to feel the discomforts like in goal setting because than I feel like I am accountable to meet that goal. I enjoy all the passive activities but when it came to massive action, well, those anxious feeling start coming and after a few tries. I’ll stop for a while and either try again later or not at all. I don’t want my life to be one that is hid in the shadows not being able to move forward all because it doesn’t feel good. I think it is powerful to learn to be able to feel what you are going through and not try to fight it but accept it. To know that I can do doubt, frustration, fear. That’s where I want to be, to feel the emotion and not allow the feeling to dictate my life. This is the first time I have done self coaching. Thank you Brooke 🙂

  14. Hi Brooke,
    I have listened to this particular podcast a few times now and I am finally beginning to be able to digest the message about “feeling the emotion and not fighting it”. It is a very challenging task for me because I fear that I have been disregarding my emotions for so long that they have all begun to feel like ‘anger’.

    I am the second child in a family of four. I had a great childhood with two parents who loved me and a brother who was loyal, but diffiuclt to measure up to (likely, only in my mind). He is extremely smart, successfull and driven. I try not to compare my situation to his, but the feeling of inadequacy has always knawed at me.

    As a child, I do not remember ever feeling confident about what I had to say or what I did. As a teen, I began to considered myself the social, energetic and silly one of the family. My mother, who is kind and generous, has always referred to me as the ‘pretty’ one. And, I don’t think she ever really paid too much attention to my academic accomplishments until I was in college.

    As a young adult, I found my inner intellect and set my sights on attending the best graduate program in my chosen field. I was able to achieve that goal, and have been relatively happy in my career. I love the work that I do, but I have spent much of the past 20 years focusing on my children, spouse and home; rather than putting my job at the forefront. I have recently switched gears and now have a position that is more demanding.

    I applied for a new position and was given the opportunity, however, it has been very difficult for me. I can’t shake the idea that I do not belong there. That I am somehow not being taken seriously. That I am not supposed to be there. I find myself angry a great deal. Feeling that I am being ‘ignored or disregarded’ instead of given true consideration for my thoughts and accomplishments.

    My husband and I have a good marriage, three great kids and a nice home in an urban/suburban environment. My kids are doing well, but seem to be slow with respect to finding their inner confidence and intellect; which is fine… as I can relate to that! And, I have a job that can be stressful, but very rewarding as well. I really should feel accomplished, but I do not.

    I am writing this simply to get it down and allow myself to really see/feel/know what is going on in my mind. I am interepreting all of these feelings that I have been experiencing all these years/months/days as inadequacy. I try not to compare my situation to my brother’s, but the feeling of inadequacy continues to knaw at me.

    I know that I have shared a great deal here, but it feels better to get it down in writing so that I can begin to process this emotion. I don’t think it really is anger, but I haven’t yet been able to clearly identify this feeling. And, I react to many situations where this feeling emerges with anger, rather than sitting with the feeling and properly naming it.I seem to respond with anger no matter what the true emotion may be…I think the real feeling of ‘inadequacy’ or something to that affect!

    Does this sound like something you have dealt with in the past? How can I coach myself to be better at identifying my feelings so that I can manage them more effectly?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you so much for posting here and sharing your thoughts and feelings. I know this work can be challenging when you are first learning it.

      I would try to take it one thought and feeling combination at a time.

      The reason you feel angry at work is not because of your work-it’s because your thought: I’m not being taken seriously. I don’t belong. I am being ignored and disregarded. These THOUGHTS are going to create anger for you.

      Now, the reason you might be having these thoughts might be because of your thought about not being good enough an it’s accompanying feeling of inadequacy, but again that is just another thought you are choosing to think.

      What is your opinion of yourself? That is what you might want to take a look at? Without a high opinion of yourself and what you have done in your life, you will find it hard to feel accomplished. Thoughts create your feelings there as well.

      I see that you feel angry and inadequate. You are articulating your feelings very well and quite accurately. That awareness is a huge step towards finding your way to feeling more accomplished and at peace.

      Brooke

  15. Oh, and I forgot to thank you for the wonderful podcasts and all that you do! Your work has been so helpful for me over the last few months. I am so glad I found your site and podcasts! I look forward to hearing a new one each Thursday. You are awesome!!!

  16. I have a question. How long should you BE with the feeling, like loneliness, and allow yourself to feel it, allow yourself to see what thoughts are bringing this feeling…

    “Like I don’t have many friends.” “I feel stuck and don’t know what to do about it.”

    and at what point do I use empowering questions (Tony Robbins style) to turn around my thoughts.

    Are empowering questions the best way to turn around the feeling? Or is it too soon, and can be looked at like avoiding the feeling.

    When do we know that we’ve experienced the feeling enough, and it’s time to go into our higher self (Susan Jeffers) and turn it around so we feel how we want to feel?

    Do you believe Susan Jeffers model is avoiding the feeling? With the pain to power model? Thank you!! Janet

    1. Hey Janet,

      I am not familiar with Susan Jeffers, but I will check it out.

      When you aren’t in a hurry to change, when you are ok with not changing, that’s when you are really ready to change the thought to feel better.

      I know that doesn’t seem likely, but it is so effective.

      It’s when you realize you are feeling a certain way because of a sentence in your mind and nothing more, then changing seems simple.

      B

  17. Hi everybody,
    I listen to this podcast carefully and I watch myself feeling and thinking. I feel as until now, I was unconscious, living things, being in such a bad mood, and never knowing that it can be different and that I am the creater of my life (I spent 20 years of my life like that).
    I studied so many things and nothing changed. One time I read : “Knowing doesn’t matter, but doing, that’s your key for success”. I started to be different. This week I’m really in harmony with myself, I slowly eat healthy food, I see the consequences of others behaviour on my body etc.
    I saw myself feeling as if I was nothing, it was as a hole in my belly, my heart beat faster and the hole became heavy. I started to breathe slowly and deeply and I alawed myself to feel and to be one time in my life, not perfect.

    Best Regards,
    Marjorie

  18. Hi,
    I’m one of those people, who never leave a comment, but was persuaded by this episode. The emotion I let myself feel is somewhere between sadness and desperation, with a hint of rejection. I cannot describe it perfectly, since it’s some kind of a mix of emotions. I also can’t tell, that there was a specific area in my body, where I could feel this emotion. The thing is, that in the same moment that I tried to feel it, it made me cry instantly.
    It was somehow relieving, even though it didn’t make the emotion go away.
    I think it is very important to learn to cope with your emotions. There will be always times, when the negative emotions come up, and rejecting them and just waiting for them to disappear is not going to solve anything.
    So thank you for the inspiration and showing us the way to really feel them and maybe enjoy them a bit.
    Keep up the great work!
    Mary

  19. Ok so this week is my second week running my own business. I’m 50 and have had a super successful career but this week I had to handle anxiety a lot. Like I was waking up with the feeling in the pit of my stomach. This podcast has totally helped me. The anxiety is based on stupid thoughts mostly but also some sound thoughts.
    I love that I am still learning how to handle my emotions and really appreciate your help.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. Brooke appreciates it. Glad to hear her podcast has been helping you during this time in your life. –Brecklyn

  20. First of all, thank you for your podcast. It continues to help me work through some buried emotion. I am doing what you suggested by taking my time to feel all this buried emotion, but it seems to come up at the most inopportune times. I have not been able to cry for a really long time, (like 10 years). I have made it a goal of mine since listening to the podcast to 1) be able to cry in front of myself and 2) be able to cry in front of others. I had the urge the other day at work and was going to fully allow the tears, but as I rushed to the backroom, (I work at a restaurant) my manager saw me and asked what was wrong. It completely took me out of the moment and I haven’t been able to conjure up that sadness again. I can feel the vibration of different emotions in my body when I’m alone, but for whatever reason, I really want to cry because I think it would be a huge breakthrough. Any help from coaches or community would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Thank you for your question. Brooke will be responding to questions in an upcoming Questions and Answers episode. Stay tuned!
      –Brecklyn

  21. I have been listening to Brooke for the past several months now and feel this is the best things to happen to me in terms of self-coaching and changing many lifelong thought patterns and habits. Just finished listening to episode #29. I really struggle with doubt. I let doubt interfere with many things I would like to pursue but am afraid. One recent example is my wanting to learn to sew. I’ve sewn a few sets of curtains, I love it but am not very good at it. I let my doubts get in the way of trying. I do plan to sit and think about this feeling of doubt, so I can get past it and pursue the joy I’m missing in life. In the podcast (aired in Oct., 2014), Brooke mentioned free coaching calls that are available every other Wednesday. Since this podcast is several years old now, the calls may not longer be available, as I am unable to find where to opt in for them. Could you please let me know if they are available, and, if so, how do I opt in? Thanks for your incredible insights, Brooke.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your note and for reaching out to Brooke. First, may we suggest you listen to Brooke’s 5 Minute Makeover video. It’s a helpful resource for discovering and naming your feelings. Also, we offer free coaching from our new coaches in training, so stay tuned, because we will share that info in an upcoming Friday Coach Like email from Brooke! You can also learn more about coaching form Brooke here.

      Lori

  22. I started your podcasts about 2 weeks ago from the beginning and just finished this episode. Today, and it’s still early, but today I feel proud. I started working out and portioning my meals 23 days ago. This morning I took a couple of progress photos and compared them to my “befores”. WOW! I didn’t realize how different I looked. I feel proud because for the first time ever, I decided to take control and stick with my plan to achieve one of my goals. To me, feeling proud puts an automatic smile on my face. I notice that I’m standing a little taller. I hear a bad ass theme song in my head.

    I’ve enjoyed listening and will continue until I catch up to the present. You have influenced me to take control of my thoughts and become more aware.

    1. Hello Alyssa,

      That is so wonderful! So proud of you, and you SHOULD be proud! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

      Lori

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