Why You’re Holding On To Toxic Emotions
In one of my very first client sessions when I was getting started as a performance coach, we were doing Time Line Therapy™ on negative emotions, which is basically a deep clean of the unconscious mind to get rid of emotions that no longer serve an individual’s greatest good. We were working on anger and when I was going into the testing steps of the procedure, I was finding that he hadn’t let it go. So I circled back around, tried a few things, test and still found that he hadn’t let it go.
I started asking questions that would frame the release so that he would get a closer understanding of the major benefits to his health, his mentality and the future that he wanted to create for himself that he’d come to see me for in the first place. I still didn't feel that "click" that I get on a gut level that tells me that I've done my job.
His frustration was mounting because of course it makes sense to release a toxic emotion, he was here for a reason, why wasn’t it working?
The answer came in a gorgeous moment of vulnerability and honesty when he shared with me that he couldn’t let it go, he didn’t know who he would be without it.
When my clients come to me, it’s because they are ready to make shifts in their lives. But here’s the thing: in order to create change, we have to break the patterns that won't serve the next iteration of that identity. In order to change, we often have to release something familiar and embrace something new. And even when we feel inspired to make those changes, taking those steps and looking over the edge of a new life, new identity, can be a daunting experience.
I've learned in the two months of being a coach that this particular client's experience is common. He wasn't the first and he won't be the last to look over the other side of the self-imposed wall and say "whoa, it's really different over there, I feel a little scared". We've invested our identity in toxicity. It's an unconscious decision that allows us to rest on excuses and victim mentality. Not because we're bad people, but because this behavior is programmed into us at such a young age. We're surrounded by examples and rationalizations for it. We take the first sip of that nasty, addictive poison most likely in our first seven years of life and without us even knowing about it, the emotion becomes a part of our identity much like our professions, relationships and passions.
Just like any unknown, growing as a person brings up a lot of questions. Also like any unknown, sometimes we just have to tap into that faith muscle and go into the unfamiliar.
If his concern was that he didn't know who he would be without the anger, we decided to determine who he would be. What that guy would be like (spoiler: pretty damn rad if you ask me). After some discussion, I checked in with my client one more time to ask if it was okay for him to release the emotion (sometimes it’s not, sometimes the client isn’t ready and if that’s the case, that's absolutely perfect). When I got a fully congruent “yes” out of him, we got started one more time.
There’s a powerful shift in energy when someone is committing to a release, an evolution. I could feel it in him. The air in my loft got lighter and the muscles in his face changed. He was allowing his unconscious mind to release the anger, he was taking that leap of faith that his identity would not only be in tact on the other side, but it would serve him in a powerful way. Which it did. Shortly after the energy shift, he stood up off the couch and said that he knows exactly what he has to do. In this case it was move to be with a loved one and pursue a career change that he’d always wanted, but never felt confident in executing. Until that moment.
By releasing anger, he made room for faith. By evolving out of his old identity, he was met with a powerful persona, a decisive man who knew exactly what he had to do. A man that he could look up to and be inspired by. And all he has to do to access that man is look in the mirror.
As our surface desires to be better people grow, a shift rooted in bravery and faith is required of us. Holding on to toxic emotions serves as a beacon of familiarity and of comfort, but magic happens when we're uncomfortable. Know that you are brave enough to make that shift and to be the person beneath the surface, ready to unleash itself on to the world.
Take the first step to becoming the person you were born to be.