Updated: Jun 7
“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.” - Blaise Pascal
"Break the pattern, even if you did not set it." - Ashley Michelle
Photo via Unsplash, zhang kaiyv
Sitting with, understanding, and resolving our emotions is one of the most difficult journeys we can undertake. Whether it's from our society's idea of what that looks like for each person or our own, this is likely something pretty much none of us are comfortable with or used to doing. However, not doing it is harming us, our loved ones, and even our lives. It's likely you're here because you've realized that you don't want to live your life trapped by your own emotions and thoughts- or you wandered in out of curiosity- either way, welcome, fellow adventurer. Let's journey together.
Creating this 5-step process required me to really sit with myself and figure out how I could work through my emotions and share that with others in a way that simplified it. My goal is to make it as easy as possible to tackle something that many of us have decided is a daunting, maybe even scary, task. I felt the same way when I began, as I spent my entire life learning how to push down my emotions, avoid them, and then distract myself whenever they returned. I didn't like my own emotions, and I disliked dealing with them even more. When I felt that I was drowning in overpowering emotions after experiencing life change after life change, I knew my choice was change or spiral.
My support system encouraged me to do this and incorporate it into my coaching so that others could benefit from what I had chosen to learn in one of the hardest ways possible. I spent a lot of time meditating, reading notes I had once taken, and recalling everything I knew about habit change (because how we treat our emotions is a habit like any other). After some time, the ideas finally struck me and I was able to weave them together to break it down into 5 Steps to Emotional Clarity. I truly believe that this system will prevent you from having to live through the same mistakes I did and allow you to heal and remake yourself into the person you want to be.
Prepare for some deep work and grab a notebook or start a document!
Design created using Canva, Ashley Michelle
Step 1: Noticing
The first and most important step is to notice our emotions. This should be practiced each day: sit with your thoughts for ten minutes and then journal what you felt, noticed, and your thoughts on it. Although it's difficult at first, it gets easier until eventually, you're able to passively notice your thoughts as they occur rather than holding on to them. There will still be times when you have trouble letting go of emotions, and that's okay- it's part of life. That's when we continue moving through the steps to emotional clarity.
Many of us have been conditioned to cling to our emotions by burying and ignoring them or letting them rule us by shoving them into our actions and interactions. Neither of those situations is ideal- trust me. Personally, I shoved mine down and distracted myself from them until they were able to take such a hold on me that I would become overwhelmed by them and would explode. It negatively impacted my health, my corporate work life, and sometimes even my relationships with others. I understand how easy it is to go with our trained reaction to emotions. It's what we know. It's what we've done so often that it's just become nature. What we may not realize is that by doing this, we give away our power and we let those emotions rule us. We think that we're "handling" them... but we're just giving them the control by allowing them to have so much power over us that they've become a problem to manage instead of a passing emotion that just has something to tell us.
With the simple act of just noticing our emotions and letting them go, we put that power back into our own hands. Our emotions are fleeting. Most of them just happen and then they go. Ones with a message just want that to be acknowledged so that they can fulfill their purpose. Let yourself feel. It's okay. I know people have tried to tell you that you can or can't feel and what to feel and how that should be expressed, but most, if not all, of those suggestions aren't healthy. Again, it just backfires and actually makes us at the mercy of our emotions instead of master of them. True control is having the ability to observe, accept, and let go- to try to go against it is as effective as steering the opposite direction of the way your car is spinning when it's out of control. Keep doing your daily noticing exercise, and eventually, that will become your nature. Even small steps can traverse miles. Just start by noticing. You've got this.
Photo via Unsplash, Artur Aldyrkhanov
Step 2: Sourcing
As we become more aware of and open to our emotions, we might notice that the more we notice and accept our emotions, the faster they fade away. They are simply messengers, after all, and sometimes they are embodying a random child who just wants to approval and then is satisfied. However, our messenger-type emotions tend to stick around or come back often. They're much more persistent and have something to teach us, and they can't let us be until we figure out why they're there and let them know we've got it. These emotions are typically the same ones and spring from the same situation/source, but it's best to handle them one at a time.
When you find yourself having to interact with one of these persistent, messenger emotions, ask it why and genuinely look for the source of it. Where did it come from? You can write it out on paper, type it out, or make a video just for your eyes and ears to help you figure it out. Ask yourself why it's coming up now. It's hard to see sometimes, but these persistent emotions have a purpose, if we're able to face them and find out what that is. The road to peace and becoming a better person isn't glamorous or easy- it's messy and difficult, and something that people often can't see. Just as we can't see the work the plants are doing during the winter. Yet in the spring, those plants that appeared to be doing nothing in the winter seem to just burst to life. We are the same.
Photo via Unsplash, JM Lova
Step 3: Acknowledging
After we figure out where our emotions are coming from and why, the next step is to figure out what the emotion wants you to know and learn. This gives us insight as to why we may be having this emotion and helps us work through it. It takes bravery to face our problems, and even more to face ourselves and how we feel. Our emotions are meant to be temporary, not kept forever so that they can weigh us down, so know that you're doing the right thing. You're doing well. Remember to take your time working through each step, and understand that it's okay to not be able to run through 1-5 all at once. It's not easy work and it can be frightening- there's a reason Carl Jung called working on oneself "shadow work."
Let it be your friend, like the shade of a tree where you can find respite on a hot day. If healthy habits were easy, everyone would do them and nobody would need a coach. Go easy on yourself.
Photo via Unsplash, Borna Bevanda
Step 4: Processing
Reflect on how this emotion has tried to help or protect you and what it may have gotten you through. This one may be the shortest in the blog, but it's going to be the one that might actually take the most time and have the greatest impact. Once you work through it, it makes it far easier to release it. Take your time.
Step 5: Releasing
Once you dig deep and process it, it's time to truly let it go and free yourself. Ask yourself if you want to hold onto this. If you don't, figure out how you'd rather feel. If this is a past situation, do you want to continue to give it power over you as if it hadn't taken enough? Take your life back- it's yours, after all.
For current situations, write how you view and how you want to view it instead. Is there anything you can do? If yes, write down everything that you can do to improve the situation. If it's completely out of your control, sit with that. Then let it go. You do not have to hold the world together. It will work out as it is meant to. My life had to fall apart completely before it could become as amazing as it is meant to become. To have the life you want, things cannot be exactly the same.
Photo via Unsplash, Giorgio Trevato
Pick a current or past situation that still bothers you. Sit with it as long as you need to, as many times as you need to. Work through the 5 Steps to Emotional Clarity as well as you are able. This may take time and several attempts, and that's okay. That's why it's a challenge.
You can purchase a printable worksheet of the 5 Step System to Emotional Clarity that I designed with great care just for you!
You can find these tidbits in video format on TikTok (@serenevibesreiki) and YouTube. The blog will update every Saturday and is about a week behind the live theme, so feel free to stay up-to-date through one of the video avenues! There's nothing wrong with preferring to read instead of watch, though, and I think it's helpful to be able to see it instead of having to listen.
Still stuck? Feel free to schedule a session with me to gain further clarity or enroll in a program to help you transform your life. This is not an easy subject, but it's well worth the effort in working through.