“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” ~ the opening line in Anne Tyler’s novel, Back When We Were Grownups
I was sitting with about 20 other Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioners in Newtown this past Saturday when I started thinking about the words, “emotional freedom.” My mind wandered to the other training I am in the midst of (The Life Coach School) and the term Brooke Castillo uses: “emotional adulthood.”
And I thought about the synergy between emotional freedom and emotional adulthood.
Emotional freedom = the freedom to feel ALL of my emotions without guilt, shame, or judgment, and, at the same time, the freedom to release my emotions through the very act of feeling them.
Emotional adulthood = my emotions are my responsibility.
In taking responsibility for my emotions, I am free.
I know you’ve heard bits and pieces of this before, but it bears repeating.
“Even though I am overweight, I love and accept myself. Being asked to repeat those words was the fulcrum on which I turned from someone who didn’t know how to love into someone who did…”
…from being a defensive, resistant, unaware, over-spending, binge-eating and obese woman-child who was full of self-doubt…
…to being an accepting, forgiving, aware, confident, and slightly overweight but emotionally free adult woman.
…from someone who was turning into the wrong person…
…to someone who was just about to catch herself.
Thank God it wasn’t too late.
Now, it would be simplistic and inaccurate to say that it was like flipping a switch and that I have never, ever again felt defensive or resistant, or that my confidence has never again been shaken, or that I never struggle with food now and then.
But if there’s anything I’d like to be known for, it is that I took responsibility for my emotions and in doing so, showed others that they could be similarly free, as well.
And that is the crux of the work we are doing in Newtown now. Our mission is to bring emotional freedom to those who are struggling and to show them that by taking responsibility for their emotions, they can be free.
We are not there to tell them not to grieve or not to feel anger or fear or the myriad other “negative” emotions they might have, but rather we’re showing them how to accept and be responsible for those feelings in a way that serves both them and those to whom they are close.
So far, Nick Ortner and Lori Leyden have worked with teachers and students in a couple of Newtown schools, those who work in the CT Medical Examiner’s Office, a couple of the parents who lost children, and a child who attends Sandy Hook School. You can read more here and here.
Our efforts there are long-term and the training we are receiving is top-notch. I am not sure when I will be working directly with the community, but for now, I am focused on continuing to master both my own emotions and the techniques needed to help others.
What’s your understanding of emotional freedom and emotional adulthood?