Focusing Tip 587 – I feel calmer – but is my life really changing?

Focusing Tip 587 – I feel calmer – but is my life really changing?
November 29, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell
When will my problem be solved

Focusing Tip #587 – Do you wonder when and if the calmer feelings will translate into real life change?

A Reader writes:

I’m taking a Focusing course right now, and although I feel much calmer as a result of learning to dis-identify from my emotional states, I still wonder if Focusing can help me with real life change. I can sit with my feelings with compassion, but does that really translate into not having the problem any more?

Specifically, I have a part of me that is always urging me to be more productive. In a Focusing session, I spent time with the tight jaw this part gave me. But the next day I was tormented just as much by this part that says I have to be more productive. How does Focusing help this to change?

Dear Reader:

Thank you for your question! You’re bringing out the importance of having a Focusing stance in daily life and not only in your Focusing sessions.

Let’s talk about the part that gives you a tight jaw as it urges you (anxiously) to be more productive. First of all, I hope it’s clear that this part of you does not actually help you be more productive! It thinks it does… but let’s not buy in to its point of view. If we did, we would be thinking that facilitating this part to change is the same as being less productive. I’m pretty sure the opposite is true!

Good for you for spending time with this part of you in your Focusing session. That can lead to getting in touch with its deeper anxiety, what it is worried will happen to you if you are not “productive” – in its terms. Listening at this deeper level can lead to you forging a new kind of relationship with this part of you.

Then, when it shows up during your day, notice and acknowledge that that is happening. Say, “I’m sensing something in me that is telling me I need to be more productive.” Feel the body feeling – is it tightness in the jaw this time? Or something else?

Say to it with compassion, “Might you be worried about something?” And sense its response. Whatever it says (or shows you), let it know you hear it. This can happen in a few moments, even in the middle of a meeting.

You can be more and more aware all day long… and this is where lasting change from Focusing can be enhanced. With dedication and practice, you will get bigger and bigger shifts over time.


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