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Stuffing vs. Processing

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

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Stuffing vs. Processing
(click for podcast)

The Question
Taking a previous article on Emotional Resilience a little further, let’s look at a great question a friend asked.  This is a question many folks have asked over the years, and it inspires some great discussion.  Here’s her question: “How do I know I’m not smothering or suppressing feelings as opposed to seeing situations in a new and better light - and eventually moving on?”  What a delightfully introspective query.

Here’s what I saw as the answer:  There are a couple things that differentiate the two, and those differentiations interrelate w/ each other as well.  First, just as in the difference between “cognitive linguistic skill” and “manipulation” our intention makes the difference.

So IF you are pushing down the feelings, because they give you anxiety, that’s pretty obvious.  If you are analyzing them (which means really getting into them, feeling them, and asking yourself questions) and determining that they aren’t serving you, don’t have True Reality behind them (are based on egoic narratives) and furthermore that something else would serve you, and the feelings are preventing that, you are processing your feelings, not stuffing them.

The Storyline
Let me clarify that “egoic narrative” term.  There is an aspect of our “perceived” reality, that is actually just a kind of storytelling.  If we tell ourselves that we “should be respected” and then someone appears not to respect us, the “script” says that now we have to manifest a reaction appropriate to the storyline.  That rarely has positive consequences, and we rarely ask ourselves “why this would even matter?”  What is our relationship with ourself about, and do we need to tell ourselves stories to Be?  

Of course not; you existed before you wrote those stories, you can change them, and you’ll still be here when you can’t remember where you put your socks, much less the stories you created.

Another thing that enters the picture and interrelates with intention, is that there will always be a battle between processing and outcome.  Part of us wants one, part of us wants the other.  The more we’re driven by a desire for outcome, the less we want to stay in the feeling/thought and process things.   We want the destination, not the journey.  Other parts of us like the journey, and can actually hold on to the processing longer than necessary to feel the feelings longer/stronger.  We need to find a functional balance, and that will determine how long we stay with a feeling/thought.

Expressing our feelings is not a function of how real our feelings are.  that is another “story.”  If someone doesn’t “show” their feelings, it’s a huge and unfair assumption to say they don’t have them.  Likewise, when someone is a total “drama queen” (men, you’re not excused from this) it doesn’t make their feelings more real, or deeper.  In fact, it can be a sign of being detached from them, and merely acting out for affect.

The Bottom Line
In the end, when we hold our feelings/thoughts up to the scrutiny of our Higher Selves, and what we’re Truly after, the Right answer just comes.   We “know” when we’re screwing up, and when we’re totally in our Integrity.  

We know when we squash our feelings because they’re causing us pain.  We also know when we feel our feelings, think about them, ask ourselves probing questions, don’t let ourselves off the hook, and come to a resolution.  That is our healthiest and most connected state.  From that place, we can do our most creative, innovative, and present best


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Quick Communication Tip

Processing for Results

The primary problem with processing, is that we aren't trained in it either as children, or as we grow up.  We have pretend versions, like lamenting, venting, and looping, but none of these actually take us from a beginning point to an end point.

Very often, we'll run through a scenario, or our memory of one, and when we get to the end, we just start over again, like the story is set on endless play.  The problem here is that we actually re-experience it every time we go over the story, and in many cases, this re-injures us, or re-traumatizes us.

It has been shown that our brain will chemically react the same way to thinking about an action as doing that action.  Thinking about hammering a nail will cause your brain to biochemically hammer that nail.  This means that when we get all overwrought about something that happened to us during the day, and we relate the story with all that same emotion, we actually re-wire our brain as if it happened all over again.

When we process events, we actually examine, ask ourselves questions, and look at the event from several perspectives.  This takes us to a solution or a resolution, and rather than getting re-traumatized, we usually see the event as smaller and less impactful.

Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


Resource Links:

Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



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