MindShift: There are no redlines
Interview with Jonathan Begay, Managing Director of MindShift
In the emotional chain, the starting point of learning begins with the feelings and emotions. The emotional experience is the building block of the learning process. We get to learn in ways that are triggered by the feelings we have at that time and the emotions we receive from others. But the situation has to be there, and sometimes we need to react positively to get the emotions going. So we need to not get caught up in the expectations or the blame game.
We get to learn by default and by accident. It isn’t our will. It’s what’s going on in our minds. We don’t want to be stuck in situations where we feel like we’re victimizing ourselves. Some people use this as an excuse to stay in awful situations and feel they’re being mistreated because they can’t say, “I’m not okay”. But our choices also are based on choice. The way we handle problems or situations could get us in a self-defeating trap. We will lose more if we rely on negative emotions.
I just got married and so I was feeling a lot of guilt and sadness. I realized that I had buried it and needed to cry and talk to my wife about it. I got really emotional when I was thinking, “What have I done? I’m not doing this right”. When I was upset and crying, a lot of my other negative emotions came up and I thought to myself, “I’m being a pain, I’m being a failure, I’m being a psycho, I’m not doing this right, I’m getting into bed, I’m going to sleep, and I’m going to move on and get this over with”.
But it was a dangerous trap. I felt trapped in this dysfunctional, negative emotion. I had to address my negative emotions to release the blocks and get out of this negative space. It made a huge difference for me. I learned to just leave that bad emotion and take action. I learned that I need to be in a different space.
In fact, the reason our feelings bubble up is because we’re getting emotional signals from something else going on in our environment. It’s almost like a spam message or a spam email. When we receive it, our body and mind feel the intensity of that moment, which might not feel right. This unconscious process then happens and we then have the opportunity to respond. The way our brains, bodies, and bodies are programmed is to quickly do something to get us out of that unpleasant situation. We can end up in a bad place fast and it can be even more painful if we wait until we have another opportunity to get out of it.
Now is when we need to get those simple steps and practice out of our emotional reactions. I often tell my clients, “Here’s where you need to be right now, if you’re not in a happy or loving space and not having positive emotions…start moving to a different place.” It’s what I call the “Plan B”. As you go, you get to know your next move and you know that this set of emotions has ended or it’s on its way out. It’s just part of the way we learn and grow and grow in moments like this.
If we don’t want the emotions to stay and cloud our thinking, we’re going to have to learn how to process them in a conscious way. That means learning how to control the emotions that are coming up, and hopefully to react positively to them to get their joy out of your system. Unfortunately, some people internalize their negative emotions and they don’t let go. That’s the person that shows up at your door: a person who has no patience for the other person. Sometimes when someone is in a bit of a dark place, there’s nothing you can say that’s going to be received with respect. They just think, “I can’t deal with this person”. Their tone is that they’re stonewalling, and their defenses are right up. So they just refuse to discuss the problem because they don’t want to give it energy, so that the problem doesn’t need any energy to build itself up. As you can imagine, that kind of mindset and thought process is pretty difficult to change.