Ep #54: Useful Emotions
I always strive to continuously grow and expand my knowledge base as well as my wisdom, by studying different teachers. Some of the most important work that I have done on myself within the past year that helped me grow tremendously is studying my own emotions. I have been fascinated with figuring out how we can use our emotions to help us create what we want in the world.
In this episode of Life Coach School we delve into the topic of useful emotions, what they are and how they work. We also talk about the flipside – the indulgent emotions and how they either harm us or simply don’t do anything for us. Tune in to hear about the intricacies of this life-changing concept and how it can help you in your life.
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What You will discover
- What “useful” emotions are.
- Why certain powerful useful emotions don’t usually feel good.
- The relationship between the willingness to be uncomfortable and creating what you really want.
- The useful emotions that feel good.
- The importance of being intentional with emotions that we create.
- Indulgent emotions that don’t serve most of us.
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Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the 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.
Hi everyone how are you doing? I'm doing fantastically well. I am thrilled that you guys are here and back for another podcast. Hi Stacy. Hi Nicole. Thinking of you. Those are two of my students from in person and they were wondering if I was going to mention them on a podcast so there it is, my super fans. I'm mentioning them. I'm in love with those girls. Anyway let's go.
Today we're going to talk about useful emotions. Now I will say this is some of the most important work that I have done I would say within the past year on myself. I'm always wanting to grow and expand my knowledge base, but also my own wisdom. What I mean by that is I'm always trying to learn from other teachers and reading and studying from them, but I'm also really determined to access my own wisdom. One of the things that I have noticed is that the less I have thoughts that don't serve me, the more I can access thoughts that come from a place that I don't really know where it comes from.
There are often times when I'm coaching someone and I say something to them and I don't know where it came from and they're like, "Oh my gosh. That was the most helpful thing you just said." It trips me out because sometimes I don't know where that thought came. I feel like I'm just really in the present moment. I don't have really any of my own thoughts about the client or myself going and I'm able to access a deeper level of myself.
I'm going to talk about that in a future podcast episode because it's really changed the way that I have done my coaching and also the work I've done on myself. When I first started coaching I was much more interested in replacing negative thoughts with positive thought. I think that that was influenced by my study of Byron Katie who really taught me that you could take a thought and just turn it completely around, the complete opposite of that thought and use that opposite of that thought and that really had served me.
What I have found as I have done this work longer and longer is that you don't even really need to replace the thought with your own self coaching and even with my clients, it's just a natural progression. If you allow the new thought to appear, one of the first things you have to recognize is that your current thinking is what's causing your feelings. You are feeling your thoughts. You are feeling that sentence in your mind.
As I've been doing this work one of the things that's really come true for me and really helped me understand is the study of emotion in my own self. I've talked a lot about it on this podcast, but today I want to talk about useful emotions. I had never really thought about my feelings being useful until I was studying the model with actually one of my students and we were talking about how thoughts drive our actions and that really the fuel for all the actions that we have in our life come from our emotions.
A lot of times we think what we want to experience is peace and love and serenity. Usually when I ask my clients that, that's what they say they want to experience, but when you are in the process of creating something, when you're in the process of evolving into another version of yourself because for some of us we dig that stuff we don't want to just feel peaceful all of the time. I know that there are some of you that do want to feel peaceful all the time. That's a beautiful thing.
For some people, we want to use our emotions to help us create what we want in the world. One of the things that I had been thinking about in terms of entrepreneurship was the idea of courage. I was listening to one of my teachers Dan Sullivan talk about courage. What he said was that courage doesn't feel good and yet it's very necessary. My brain exploded. It sometimes does and I went wait a minute if courage is such a useful emotion, if it helps us do the things we're afraid to do and I can see how courage has helped us evolve literally as human beings. I mean back in the day it required courage to kill things that were going to eat us or kill things that we needed to eat. I can see how courage is just really a powerful important emotion and yet it doesn't feel good.
Then I started thinking about this idea that I have been having an issue with, with the whole life coaching industry and the push back I've been getting from some people is that we should always want to feel happy all of the time. If we can't feel happy all the time then what is the point. I don't think we're meant to feel happy all of the time. In fact I talk about this a lot in this podcast, I think fifty percent of the time we're not going to feel a really enjoyable emotion. It doesn't mean we have to feel negative emotion. I think there are some emotions that are indulgent emotions. I'm going to talk about those in a minute, but stay with me you guys because this is a new concept that I have been studying and it has been life changing for me and for my clients. I absolutely wanted to share it here with you.
Let's talk about the idea of useful emotion so I mentioned one, which is courage. I think that's a very useful emotion. Another emotion that I think is very useful is determination. Now I want you guys to think about feeling determined. That doesn't always feel great, you know what I mean? When you think about being determined, I think about me having a little bit of tension in my body, a little bit of grit. It doesn't feel like ease. It doesn't feel like peace. It doesn't feel like cool water on a hot day. It feels strong to me. It has a little hint of effort in it as I feel it I can feel myself getting revved up a little bit.
I think that's another very useful emotion. It's been super powerful for me to remind myself that feeling determined is very useful although it's not always very pleasurable to feel determined. Now some people may say they feel a lot of pleasure when they feel determined, but I was thinking about for my weight loss clients. I was thinking about this idea of them feeling determined to lose weight and being willing to feel determined which doesn't feel as good as the pleasure of giving in to overeating. It's a useful emotion, but it doesn't feel like comfort and are we willing to be uncomfortable.
That's another one of the emotions that I put as a useful emotion is discomfort because here's the thing. I think that growth is uncomfortable. I've always said and I've said this on this podcast I think your willingness to be uncomfortable will be in direct proportion to what you create that you want. I think that's such a bummer, but I think it's true. I think whatever it is that you want to create in your life the path to it is not always going to be comfortable. It's going to bring up stuff maybe that will cause you to be uncomfortable and often times I think that is the point.
Another feeling that I live to feel is persistence. Now I was debating whether that was an emotion or not. I was debating on what it feels like, but I do own it as an emotion because I think it's different than determined. I think it feels different. I think it feels more I don't know how to explain it. I feel it more in my gut so you guys will have to tell me in comments if you experience those two as different.
Another useful emotion, crazy useful emotion is acceptance, acceptance of our circumstances that we can't control, acceptance of ourselves and what our brains do. I mean let's just call it acceptance of our brains. One of the things I noticed in person training was how many of us want to judge our brains and judge the opinions in your brains and be embarrassed by the opinions in our brains. What if we could just accept what's going on with our brains? We don't have to judge it in order to change it.
Acceptance sometimes doesn't feel great. Think about it. Acceptance is a useful emotion. It creates us into a life we want more often than not, more often than resistance, but acceptance doesn't always feel good. I mean sometimes I just imagine it's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, acceptance, acceptance that everybody is really doing their best even when their best is terrible. Acceptance that things are going to happen in our lives that we don't want to have happen. Acceptance that other people are going to behave exactly the way they want to behave with or without our input. The more we're willing to accept it the better our lives are going to be because we're going to have less resistance.
If you think about that resistance and hate and frustration that all comes from a lack of acceptance…even though acceptance doesn't feel awesome all the time, it's definitely something I would choose over resistance or hate. The other one that and I had already mentioned this one was discomfort and that willingness to be emotionally uncomfortable and even physically uncomfortable as we are heading towards our dreams in our lives.
I want you guys to think about what emotions are the most useful to you when it comes to the goals you want in your life, so think about, if you think about that model think about the result you want in your life and then think about what would be the best emotion to fuel that result. Sometimes compassion may be the appropriate emotion and sometimes it may be determination, sometimes it may be acceptance.
You can think about what is the result, what is the action you're going to have to take to get that result and what feeling do you want to fuel that action, where do you want to be coming from when you're taking that action. Really cool useful thing to think about.
Now let's talk about useful emotions that feel good. I talked about some useful emotions that don't necessarily feel good, but let's talk about some that do feel good. I came up with a short list and I would love to hear what you guys have to add to this list. Confidence, oh yeah. I think that's the best one. Confidence feels so good. I'm not talking about false pretending to be confident. I'm talking about feeling confident. It's when you have studied so hard for a test you know there can't be anything on that test that you don't know the answer to.
It's when you are going to help someone and you know you have the tools to be able to help them without a doubt. It's when you have prepared, when you have practiced and you know that you have the ability to get it done, that's confidence. I love the feeling of confidence. I try and do a lot of my work, my coaching work to really fill my mind with ideas of confidence. I do notice as I was mentioning before that when I clean up my thinking I realize that my natural state is typically one of confidence when I get all of the other noise out of my mind and when there's no other thoughts that bring me out of alignment with myself, I feel very confident.
I see that as a very useful emotion because from confidence we will take the risks. We will do the things that are needed for us to show up in our lives. Another great I think useful emotion is eagerness, when you feel eager. I saw that on a list of emotions and it got me so excited. I'm like, "Oh I love that feeling of being eager because it feels like I'm young and energetic and I can't wait. It's not really about how perfectly I'm going to do something, I just can't wait to do it. I love that emotion.
I love the emotion of excited. I think a lot of us can relate to that being excited about something, thinking thoughts that create that level of excitement and how fun it is to take action from that fuel, that fuel of excitement. That action just seems to come so much more easily. I like the emotion of motivated. I like feeling really motivated to do something. I think that's one of those feelings that's a little bit in between feeling good and not feeling as good. Motivated can sometimes come from a place where it's got a little bit of an edge to it and I think that's okay. I think it's very useful, but it doesn't always feel pleasurable.
The last one I had for useful emotions that feel good is curious. That's one thing I think I'm telling and fascinated. I'm always telling my students when it comes to their clients, when it comes to themselves those emotions of being curious and fascinated will serve them so much more than any other emotion because it puts you in a place of being open to understanding instead of trying to shut everything down and trying to guess and being opinionated and judgmental being curious and fascinated by everything that we do.
If we can be curious by what's going on in someone's brain, then we can be the best kind of coach because all we're interested in is understanding what's going on in there. We're not trying to judge the person by the contents of their mind.
Now I think it's important to think about useful emotions. One of the things that I do at the school and one of the things that I teach is that you should understand what your top three emotions are on a regular basis by observing them and then remind yourself that those emotions are choices. When you look at the emotions that you're having in your life, if you are directing them consciously are those the emotions that are going to give you the results you want.
Now for example if one of the results you want is a peaceful happy home and the emotions that you are feeling are peaceful and happy that's probably a pretty good bet that you're on the right track. If you're wanting to overcome a huge obstacle in your life and you're feeling at ease and joyous you may not have the right fuel to overcome that obstacle.
Now I can already hear people pushing back and saying, "Can't you overcome an obstacle with joy?" My answer is absolutely yes, but we most often don't. Most often we don't overcome obstacles with joy and in fact we don't even attempt to overcome an obstacle because we want joy instead and overcoming the obstacle usually can take away that joy. It does not have to, but I think sometimes we need to use different emotions to accomplish different things.
One of the imagery that I like to create for my students is it I had a platter, if I was walking around a really fancy party and I had a platter of emotions and I was asking you if you would like one which one would you pick? I love that we have the opportunity to pick consciously and to decide consciously what we want to feel and that we can create our emotions with our minds and in fact we do create all of our emotions with our minds whether we do it intentionally or not.
One of the things that I'm suggesting is that the more intentional we can be with the emotions we create the closer our life will be to what we are guiding ourselves to create. Let's talk a little bit about indulgent emotions. This is one of the concepts I brought up at the training and it was very interesting to see what people tended to indulge in. One of the things that I see very common, first of all it's amazing to me about how many indulgent emotions feel terrible. Isn't that a bummer?
It's like when my clients indulge in food that they don't even like. I have clients that are ... It makes me think about this. I have clients that overeat Skinny Cow ice cream because what they really want is real ice cream so they're just eating twelve and thirteen bars of Skinny Bar ice cream. It makes me laugh. I bought these cookies, these Caveman cookies is what they're called. I'm totally into this Caveman brand. It's the guy, he's a local guy here in California and he made Muscle Milk and he also created this Caveman brand.
One of the things that he's done is he's created a cookie that doesn't have anything crappy in it. The kids saw the box and they said, "Oh cookies we're so excited," because we usually don't have a lot of sugar in the house. It was so funny. My son opens up the cookie and I'm like, "Oh you'll have to let me know what you think because it doesn't have anything bad for you in it." I said, "What do you think?" He looked at me and he said, "I don't think you should mess with cookies." It was so good. He did not like the cookies. He threw the rest of the cookie away because it isn't really a cookie and you shouldn't mess with cookies, so good.
Anyway it's amazing to me how many things we indulge in that don't feel good. I look at people that smoke cigarettes that literally hate smoking cigarettes, people that drink alcohol that literally do not like the fact that they drink alcohol. They don't even like the taste of it. People indulging in negative emotion even though they don't like the feeling of that emotion. That's what habit is. That's what doing something that you don't want to do over and over and over again. That's a bad habit.
One of the indulgent emotions that many of us indulge in consistently is comfort. A lot of us mistaken familiarity for comfort so even though it's something that doesn't feel good and isn't serving us because we've done it so consistently and it's familiar we feel like it's comfortable because it's known. A lot of us indulge in comfort in a very inordinate amount where what do we want comfort, what do we want comfort, what do we want in [every moment 00:20:44] we want pleasure and we want comfort at the expense of what we truly want to create in our lives.
Another indulgent emotion is self righteousness. We want to be right. We'd rather be right than feel good. It's that being indignant about something because you want to be right. It's an indulgent emotion that ultimately doesn't serve most of us in our lives. Another one is worry. I tell this story often about how two years ago at my mastermind group I told everyone that I was going to go on a worry free diet. I decided I was going to cut worry out of my life like people cut gluten out of their diets.
Any time I started to feel worry I would block myself from feeling it. It was not an option. I could not see an upside to feeling that emotion. The thoughts that created it were always thoughts about something I couldn't control in this moment. I really genuinely just didn't see any purpose for it. I stopped literally experiencing that emotion. I did not allow myself to go there. That was a trip.
I have never thought that I could just eliminate an emotion I didn't want to feel but certainly I was able to do it. It completely changed my life. I will tell you that because as soon as I would feel myself going down that path of that thought pattern, feeling pattern, action pattern I completely just redirected myself like I was a toddler and redirected my mind to something that would create something besides worry. I think worry is one of those.
I love the way Eckhart Tolle says "Worry pretends to be necessary." It's so true. I realize that it's not necessary. It's not needed. It's not useful at all. I have completely eliminated it. Whenever my mind tends to want to worry and this especially happens to me with my children it really wants to worry a lot, I redirect it, redirect it, redirect it. It's incredibly powerful.
Some other indulgent emotions are doubtful, doubting ourselves, doubting other people. I haven't found an upside to being doubtful. I've found an upside to figuring things out. I've found an upside to researching more, but being doubtful of my own self especially has not served me.
Now confusion, I would say confusion when it comes to my entrepreneurs that I work with is probably the number one indulgent emotion. People want to indulge in I don't know. Any of you who have taken a class from me or have been coached by me know that I do not allow that answer. It's just like worry. It's not allowed in my life. I don't allow I don't know in my life period. I can say I'm learning. I can say I'm figuring something out. I can say I'm researching something. I can say I don't understand something yet, but to say, "I don't know," in a way where it creates confusion that isn't helpful I do not do it.
Now I hear the push back, someone is going to say, "What if you don't know the answer to a math problem?" Notice that that kind of I don't know isn't a dream blocker, but that's not the I don't know I'm talking about. I'm talking about this confusion, "I don't know what I want to do with my life. I don't know what my purpose is. I don't know how I feel. I don't know how I think. I don't know," anything where you are the one with access to the wisdom is where I don't allow confusion.
I tell my clients when they tell me that they don't know. I say, "If you did know what would the answer be?" Nine times out of ten they come up with the most brilliant beautiful answer that's accessed from a place that they have been blocking. Confusion what if you didn't allow yourself to be confused by things. What if you told yourself I know what I want to do and you believed it how would your life be different?
A couple of other indulgent emotions are insecurity. I think people think insecurity is something that they validly feel, that expresses some thing that's happened to them in their life. I say insecurity is a choice and insecurity is not useful at all. If you could pick any other emotion besides insecurity, maybe confidence would be an option and I'm not saying that you can go from insecurity to confidence, but I'm saying insecurity feeling like that's an emotion that's just coming over you and it's and to one that you're creating is not useful.
The last one and this is one of my favorite ones is offended. I have people in my life that are very easily offended. I think it's very indulgent. I think it's one of those “victimy” things that people do. They're very easily offended. "I didn't like the way she looked at me. I don't like the way she walked by me. I don't like the way she didn't say my name. I don't like the way she didn't call on me. I don't like the way," whatever. "I don't like the way she said that. I didn't like the way she acknowledged me," whatever it is. I feel like why would you choose to be easily offended, feeling offended feels terrible.
I have made it a goal in my life that it's very, very difficult to offend me. A lot of times because I have a very sarcastic personality in case you haven't noticed. A lot of times I'm very sarcastic with people and then they're very sarcastic back and then they're like, "Oh, I hope that was okay. I hope that wasn't over the top." I'm like, "Listen you'd have to get up a lot earlier in the morning to say something that's going to offend me."
What I like to indulge in all of the time is laughter. I think anything that's said can be interpreted as funny and so why not? Why not just laugh as much as humanly possible? I think that's what I do. My friend Jody said to me the other day, she goes, because it's so funny whenever Jody and I go out I am not exaggerating I would say one out of three times someone will come up and say, "We just want to hang out with you guys. We just want to be with you. Can we come with you?" It's so funny.
I was trying to figure it out the other day. I think it's just because I'm laughing the whole time. She's usually laughing the whole time. I think people want to be around laughter. Jody was saying to me the other day, she goes "Well I just think that people want to be around you because you just laugh at everything they say and people love that." I go, "Everything is really funny. Don't you think it's funny. How can you say that that isn't funny?" That's what was so great about this last in person training that we did. It was just everyone in the group was so funny. Oh my God, we were laughing so hard and I just think that whatever the combination of people was there, I mean I was just cracking up most of the time and so was everybody else.
I mean we just had such a fun time. I really like to use humor when it comes to learning how to coach ourselves and looking at our own brains because I think it lightens up the work so much and makes it so much easier. I think that being offended is the opposite of that. "Oh I was so offended by that TV commercial." I just don't understand it. I don't understand why someone would choose to be offended by a TV commercial or choose to be offended by anything.
I notice myself sometimes ... This is so funny we had a situation with my soccer team where one of the guys that runs the soccer team is very, let's call him old school. We all came and sat down and he was saying, "Hey I just want to thank everybody for coming to this meeting especially the moms because I know you moms are home all day and you're the ones making dinner and this is dinner time and hopefully the dads in this day and age are helping you all out, but we just get to come from work and you've been home all day."
I was like, "Is this guy for real?" Every single woman in that room except for one worked full time, except for one and she worked part time. He was just so out of touch. Now I could have been very offended and I could have said to him, "You know that's not ... I'm a feminist and that's not okay," but I just get it. I get where he's coming from. I get that it's his mind and what he's thinking. Here's the truth, I know that it wasn't ill intended. He was actually trying to say something very kind. He was trying to be kind when he said that. For me to get offended about something like that made no sense to me. Yet so many people are offended easily by something like that.
That's just my last indulgent emotion. Now what I want to know from you all is what are your useful emotions, which ones do you want to feel more of more of the time and what are your indulgent emotions, what do you indulge in, is it comfort, is it offended? Is it worry? Is itself righteousness? Is it anger? What do you indulge in that isn't useful? Anger is a big one because people could prevent themselves from getting angry by managing their minds.
I used to look at angry all of the time. I would lose my mind with my kids. I would get so mad at them. I rarely lose my mind at all anymore because I'm always watching it so it's hard to lose it. It's when I feel myself going there, it's just I know it's not going to be useful and I don't like the way I act when I'm angry because it doesn't serve anyone. It's really funny because my husband and I work together and so sometimes we'll be, this just happened today actually. He was on the phone with one of our assistants and he put it on pause and then he and I were like "Babababababa" getting mad at each other.
It was making me laugh. I was like, "This is so not useful." I of course told him I thought he was crazy and out of his mind and didn't take any responsibility for my own feelings, but blamed them all on him which of course was my true emotional childhood coming out, but I really just saw, it was like laughing afterwards. There's so no point in getting angry. It served in no purpose. That's another one to think about how often do you allow yourself to indulge in it. In some way does it make you feel falsely powerful. I think that's why a lot of us do it.
Think about that. Think about the useful ones you want more of and they can be the ones that feel good and the ones that don't feel so great and which ones are you indulging in that you want to indulge in less. I'd love to have the conversation with you.
Go to thelifecoachschool.com and that is www.TheLifeCoachXchool.com/54 and webinar coming up would love to have you join me live. Go to thelifecoachschool.com. It's right there on the home page, click on it, register and I'll see you on the webinar. Have an awesome week. Talk you next week everyone. Bye.
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.