Why and how do we numb our emotions?
- We want to be certain in what we are doing so as to avoid the criticism of others.
- We pretend that what we are doing doesn’t have an impact on the people.
- We want to be perfect. If we do things perfectly or look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.
All of these types of protection can make us feel safe and “in control” in the moment. We don’t like to step out of our “comfort zone” by doing something that forces us to loosen control. It’s tough to do that when we are terrified about what people might think about us. This feeling of insecurity is present in all of us, and it’s so strong that we go out of our way so to avoid situations that might make us fragile and vulnerable.
In her book “Daring Greatly” Dr. Brené Brown notes:
Numbing our emotions is damaging because it has a widespread effect…
As long as we don’t express our thoughts, feelings or intentions out loud, all that we can make is only assumptions about the nature or content of the unspoken information. Generally, these assumptions provoke thoughts and emotions in our mind in response to these intentions. This influences the way we act.
Be Vulnerable by Saying OUT LOUD
We feel vulnerable by speaking out loud, we think that it’s weak to show it up, we are constantly evaluating our thoughts in our head. The more we think about them (rather than talk about them) the more sensitive we become to them, and it takes us much longer to act.
This is where the SAY OUT LOUD part comes in. We need to say these things out loud. We need to hear them said and we need to say them to someone else-otherwise they will remain a thought, an inclination, and an unspoken want. Only by letting all of what comes to and through us out can we be truly free, creating space for good energy, peace and well-being to flow.
Once they are said then they have meaning, they start to take shape. They are no longer just thoughts hanging around in your head – they are out there. The word is out. You want to make some changes and you know it and other people know it. Now all of a sudden it’s a fact and there is an imperative TO DO.
We are learning to make peace with our emotions, to let them out, to investigate their meaning and allow them to pass, so that we can determine the best next steps to take.
A variety of studies, dating back as far as the early 60’s, have found thinking aloud to enhance problem-solving, learning, and our ability to transfer learning from one task to another. It’s been suggested that verbalizing our thoughts forces us to slow down, stop, and think through the important elements of the task or problem in front of us more carefully and consciously. It causes us to zoom out and adopt a big picture view of the problem where we can focus more on our problem-solving process.
When you feel that you are faced with a challenge or simply not making progress, it may be the time to speak OUT LOUD. You have two options:
- You continue to be safe by putting your thoughts on hold.
- You take the thoughts and feelings that are in your head and give them words.
If you take the first option you feel still stuck with all the fears that control you from inside but if you take all your courage and choose the second one you allow yourself to be vulnerable and to move closer to your goals. Going a step further by sharing and discussing them can give the thoughts real life.