Emotions, Beliefs, Behaviours and How To Make Friends With Them Using Self Clearing
I recently had an online conversation with a former attendee to one of my Self Clearing Workshops and also ‘graduate’ of The Spiral (though not with me). She had become disillusioned with the techniques and was swearing off them, but she had gotten herself a bit turned around on how to use them properly. I thought I would share part of my response to her here, because it illuminates well some of our underlying processes that drive the behaviours that we can’t seem to change.
“You’re absolutely correct in that emotions are not wrong. They are not right either; they just are. They are information – they show you, if you are willing to feel them and dig underneath them, the beliefs and ways of perceiving your reality that create them. That can make for some uncomfortable moments when we realise that the way in which we are choosing to filter situations to align to our beliefs is what is creating that emotion, but it is worth the discomfort to discover what is really driving your feelings and be able to change that. There is usually a “should” in those beliefs, which means we are trying to put a box around reality. E.g. “people should always be nice to each other” is a wonderful ideal, but it’s not reality because people are not always nice to each other. Indeed, the definition of “nice” is very subjective. Does that make these people evil or narcissistic? Or does it make them victims of their own fears and remembered pain? Narcissists seek to dominate and distance and undermine in order to keep themselves feeling safe from perceived threats. Empaths choose the path of submission and trying to make everyone around them feel happy to achieve the same result. Something that one of my greatest mentors said once that has stuck with me since, was that “‘bad’ behaviour is always a cry for help, it is driven by fear and pain”.
My experience as a parent to young children has absolutely backed this up – children are only ever ‘bad’ when there is underlying fear and stress that needs to be resolved and they are looking for connection and a safe space to help them in doing that . If those patterns aren’t unearthed and resolved in childhood they morph into more (or maybe less!) adult expressions of the same traits. But they are still triggered by the same emotions.
Emotions are generally an activation along a spectrum of intensity of the amygdala, the part of the brain that mediates survival system. This system reacts to life by first checking if what it is perceiving about your reality now matches closely enough to what has been seen before, if so it just runs the same emotion and behaviour as it did the first time it “saw” that situation; which could have been when you were 3 years old. So here you are, in your 30’s reacting with a 3 year olds’ behaviour and emotion to a situation. If you don’t understand the emotion and the underlying beliefs driving it and heal those you will find it very difficult to move past that behaviour, because our behaviours are driven by what we feel- and it’s our behaviours that create our life outcomes.
Often we need to go deeper than the initial belief though. Take the example above of “people should always be nice to each other”. That will actually be a layer over the top of something deeper where “niceness” was a condition on what was perceived to be conditional love or safety when you were a child, e.g. when I am not nice my parents get angry or punish me, but when I am nice they are nice. Therefore when I am nice I am lovable / worthy / safe. Therefore when other people aren’t fitting into the box of what you perceive as nice you feel unlovable/unworthy/unsafe, but then that is projected as their fault. How would you use Self Clearing properly here? if you were to make a statement “I am ok with not being nice” you might find the emotions Shame, or Guilt or Fear or something similar coming up. You could just clear that there and release some of the Shame / Guilt / Fear that has been held in your system. But that may not go to the root of the problem. If you wanted to go deeper you could see that the emotion would give you the clue that you have a belief that equates niceness with love / worth / safety. Then you could use a Quadrant Clear on that to unlink niceness from love/worth/safety. That will show you how your behavioural patterns around those concepts play out depending on the emotions you show and when you clear those, you unlock the beliefs and have a chance to reset them to a more authentic / realistic state. That would remove the addiction to people having to be nice and help you be less emotionally triggered when they are not – and therefore be able to choose to consciously respond rather then automatically react. You could still choose to tell them to f*ck off, but now it’s coming more from a place of conscious authentic boundary setting and less from an automatic survival response.
Emotions aren’t wrong, they aren’t right… but if you understand them better they can be very useful information.
Anger is telling you that you have a boundary that needs to be clearly understood (by you), clearly articulated and clearly asserted.
Regret and grief are telling you that there has been a change / loss in your life that you need to also see the positive in so you can accept it and be in the present moment.
Fear is telling you that you have a negatively distorted view of the future and you need to 1. See the equilibrating positives of the future and 2. Come up with some strategies to move through / past what you fear and come back to the present moment.
Guilt is telling you that you’re trying to live up to and measuring yourself by someone else’s values and rules, not your own. It is telling you that you have an inner conflict that is splitting you in two and disempowering you.
And so on.
In TCM, the view is that emotions create a distortion / imbalance in the harmonious flow of qi in the body. When the emotion is expressed this is reset. When it is not, that distortion persists and builds up over time with other emotionally driven distortions to eventually create mind body issues. So it is important to work with them in that sense. Self Clearing, when done properly, helps facilitate that reset – as do a myriad of other tools.
The way I see Self clearing working best is helping you along the journey to be able to feel more deeply, be more present with your feelings and express them more easily – and to upgrade your behaviours in relationship to them. That is why I advise everyone to try to really connect with the feeling of the emotion in the body before trying to clear it.
So that’s my view on the Emotional Self Clearing technique. On The Spiral, well to a degree I agree that sometimes it can be somewhat misrepresented by some.
The purpose of The Spiral is to create better authenticity by clearing up your relationship to the 22 emotions that are covered in the process. These emotions are chosen for their commonality and intrinsic aspect to human nature across cultures. They carry much ancestral, familial, cultural and religious conditioning. As I said above, when you don’t express an emotion it becomes stuck. Every emotion creates / is a physical sensation in the body and we can then attach other emotions to the feeling of it being unexpressed. I.e. when Shame becomes ‘stuck’, then it could trigger anxiety around feeling unworthy in the future as well, then overwhelm could be layered over the top of that and then depression, when you try to just hold it all down and pretend it’s not there. That creates much more emotional charge and makes it even more difficult to be present with, respond to and express what you’re feeling, which tends to trigger automatic behavioural responses designed to distract from, suppress or depressurize the sensation of the emotion. The root clears in the Spiral help to remove the subsequent emotional associations to the original emotion making it easier to be present with just that one emotion, express it and come back to authenticity and balance. If you follow Dr John Demartini at all (I recommend reading his book “The Breakthrough Process” ) you will be familiar the concept that emotions are triggered by subjective, polarised perceptions of reality, i.e this is only good, that is only bad, rather than seeing the whole picture that all things have both good and bad within them. When you can be present with the emotion and express it you can see and accept the whole picture more easily, and you get to create behaviours that are predicated on seeing that whole picture. What you do with that then comes down your level of development in life skills etc, but what it does is help you to act more authentically and powerfully from a place of presence in situations where those emotions are /had been triggered for you.
The Spiral isn’t the end of the line for personal growth. It’s a big step change, a massive accelerator and puts you in a much better position for deepening into yourself further and it is well worth going through, but I think it’s overreaching to give the impression that you and your life will become 100% blissful 100% of the time afterwards. That’s not realistic (no technique or process will do that for you) and life isn’t like that, but you will be far better equipped to navigate the highs and lows of life afterwards and be able to create more easily what you want to have – should you choose to use what you have gained.