A Second Step to Emotional Self-Care

Learning to respond effectively to emotional upset is a key self-care skill.  A First Step to Emotional Self-Care talks about how to step out of the emotional whirlwind when we are upset.  Why are we upset and what can we do about it?
Most of us worry about experiencing three qualities in our lives:  physical safety, physical pleasure, and power to influence our “world”.  We may value other qualities such as compassion and self-expression, but we tend to focus on getting enough safety, pleasure, and power.
The upset feeling is simply a signal we believe these qualities are threatened.  More specifically, we believe we are not getting enough safety, pleasure, or power because others are not acting the way we expect.  We then use threats, guilt, shame, name-calling, or criticism to force them to change their behavior.  They may bend to our demands, but at what price?  While it’s wonderful when others will help, we really can count only on our own inner resources to find ways to experience these qualities.
How do you shift from holding others responsible and ease the upset?  First, answer two questions:
What should have happened instead of what actually took place?”   and  “If that had happened, what would it give me?
Words that might come up in response to the second question include choice, freedom, mattering, respect, ease, rest, belonging, fairness, peace, safety, or trust.
Whatever the words, notice those one or two that resonate most strongly.
Think of a time when you experienced those one or two qualities.  Notice any body sensations.
Finish by saying “I love it when I have [those one or two qualities].”
Has your upset lessened?  Have any judgment thoughts eased?
  • If so, you have connected with the qualities important to you in the situation and have eased any demands that someone else provide them. You are connecting with your own power.
  • If not, return to A First Step to Emotional Self-Care now or revisit the situation later.

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