Archive for highly sensitive

Healing from “Not Enough”

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When I wrote last December about “settling into the energy of enough,” I had no idea it would be such a journey.

I thought it would be a simple process of figuring out what “enough” was, via reading a bit about Minimalism, clear some space physically, mentally, and emotionally. I thought it would be mostly about gratitude. I did not think it would not be a big deal.

After all, haven’t I been doing healing work every single day since 2007?

Well, it’s turned into quite an undertaking. Turns out, “settling into the energy of Enough” is a lot more involved than I thought.

First of all, there’s the becoming aware of how pervasive and deep “not enough” is for me. Who knew?

I began to realize that it goes all the way back to childhood (as most things seem to do—sigh). Because I grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect and was so different from my family (highly sensitive),  “not good enough” became a big part of me. Though I excelled at school, the family was indifferent to it. My father often said, “I wish my boys had your brains.” I took that to mean they were wasted on a girl. All that mattered for girls, in the culture I grew up in, was that they be pretty and please others, especially men.

Also, there was “not enough” of other things in the family. Attention, love, interest, money. As an adult, trying to grasp this suddenly huge issue of “enough,” I realize I continued the process by denying myself so many things that are really “me,” in favor of doing “what’s expected” (which was a big value in my family).

Religion also plays a role in this “not enough.” Distorted or incomplete religious teachings can lead you to feel you’re not good enough for God unless you do X, Y, or Z.  Even if you do grasp the meaning of grace, which is what true spirituality is all about, there’s often the subtle pressure in churches to “serve.” This is fine, but when there’s the sense that you can never really serve enough, the needs are so great and you’re being selfish to think of your own needs when there are so many people worse off than you who need what you have—then, at least for me—it becomes very toxic.

It’s not just religious communities who can send that message, either. Work environments can also foster this “not enough” mindset. “You won’t be successful if you don’t push harder, put in more hours than other people.”

You’re not enough. You don’t do enough. You don’t know enough. There is not enough. These messages are everywhere, aren’t they? Advertising is based on it.

Just becoming aware of how “not enough” affects you is the first step. Bring this unhealthy belief and the memories behind it to your Healing Code work! Using the Truth Focus Statement, I am enough, I do enough, I know enough, I have enough, there is enough has been quite a help. As I have worked with this, oh the freedom I’m experiencing!

If “not enough” is an issue for you, I would love to come alongside you on your healing journey and help you find the freedom to be you as well. Check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

As I write this, many people from all over the world have been “sheltering in place,” to one degree or another, for at least a month.

In that time, we have all been thrown into collective grief and shock, because the changes have happened so swiftly, so totally.

Every aspect of our lives have changed—forever.

Things will never be the same.

We need to grieve that. There are some days when grief looms large indeed for me.

Grief not only for what I’ve lost, but as a Highly Sensitive empath, I also feel the pain of countless others who are suffering.

Suffering the loss of loved ones. Loss of work. Loss of a business into which they have poured themselves.

And I can’t even think of the children who are abused, trapped in homes with parents who formerly could not bear the stress, and who now are at the breaking point.

Or other victims of domestic violence.

For everyone, a way of life has been changed forever, more or less, in one way or another.

How do we cope? Is there any way to come out of this crisis stronger?

I believe there is. If we can embrace the hidden invitations of this strange time, we will develop strengths that we can bring into the “new normal” we will soon, we hope, be able to forge. 

What we need is resilience. Here are two steps  to develop your resilience.

Step One: Find the Joy Amid the Suffering

The first hidden invitation, and a big part of the healing process, is to learn to find joy even in the midst of the suffering.

Joy? In the midst of suffering? Is that possible? Read More→

Gifts from My Mentors

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From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I like to acknowledge the people who have enriched my life during the past year.

This includes, of course, my personal friends and colleagues. But you don’t know them. You can know and benefit from some of my “virtual mentors,” and those are the ones I want to tell you about.

As I reflected on those whose work has enriched either my spirit, soul, mind or body through sharing their expertise, several people came to mind.

Spirit. The most influential–and healing–approach I have ever come across is the Immanuel Approach, developed by Dr. Karl Lehman, a psychiatrist and the author of Outsmarting Yourself and The Immanuel Approach (which we Immanuel Prayer ministers, and he, refer to as “the big lion book” because it’s exhaustive at 759 pages!). From Outsmarting Yourself, I learned about “implicit memory” and how we get triggered, and how to calm body and mind. Dr. Karl Lehman’s work is all about how to let God come in and be with you in the pain, and thus heal it.

I was trained by Margaret Webb and Jessie Handy from Alive and Well in Immanuel Prayer, and continued with training from Dr. Karl Lehman through his Advanced Training seminar and monthly meetings in which local prayer ministers gather to watch and discuss a video of Dr. Lehman facilitating someone in Immanuel Approach. I also meet every other week with other prayer ministers to give and receive Immanuel Prayer. Read More→

How to Fully Process a Feeling

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Do you know how to fully process your emotions?

I sure didn’t, for most of my life.  I grew up in a family where emotions were never talked about. (I now know it’s called Childhood Emotional Neglect.) Sometimes people were angry or sad (hardly anything else), but I never saw anyone work through any of it, not even when something really tragic happened. I got the sense that feelings were a great inconvenience to other people. So I just stuffed them.

Making things worse, for me, was that I was born with the trait of High Sensitivity Processing, shared by 15-20% of the population. One of the four main aspects of the trait is “emotional responsiveness.” As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I was literally wired to be emotional. Yet it was a language that wasn’t spoken. No wonder I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere!

It wasn’t until I met April, in my twenties, that I got a clue that emotions might actually be useful. April was the first truly emotionally healthy person I had ever met up to that point. 

I got to know April really well from being in a small group at my church with her and her husband Bob, among others, for many years. She would regularly ask, “How do you feel about that?” or “How are you really?” And you knew she really cared, so you opened up to her. No surprise that she went on to become a licensed social worker, and a very successful therapist.

I recently saw April, and she spoke openly about what it’s been like to grieve the loss of her wonderful husband, Bob, with whom she had been in love since they were both 13. Bob was very special to my husband and me, as well.

Talking to April again, seeing how thoroughly she was processing her grief, reminded me how important it is to know how to feel and work through emotions so that they are fully processed. I hope what follows will help you in your own healing work. Read More→

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Tonight I met with my first client from China to do a Coach-Guided Healing Code.

It got me to thinking about the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with over the past 9 years of being a certified Healing Codes Coach-Practitioner, and what I’ve learned and observed.

First, I have the most wonderful clients in the world. Surprisingly, the vast majority of my clients are also Highly Sensitive. It’s surprising only because Highly Sensitive People only make up around 20% of the population, yet they comprise at least 80% of my clients. Perhaps it’s because The Healing Codes are so attractive to HSPs. It is a gentle process that involves meditation–an approach well-suited to HSPs.

With only one exception (more on that below), all of my clients are remarkably motivated to heal. Many of them have had overwhelming obstacles to overcome–abuse of all kinds, tremendous health challenges, financial hardships, and difficult relationship issues.

Yet they are not giving up! They are not victims. And, because of their commitment to their own healing, they do overcome. Many have dramatic breakthroughs.

These clients bolster my faith in the human spirit. Most people do want to be healthy and happy. God put that desire into us, and I believe he works with us to bring that about. With that commitment and help from God, it’s amazing how much people can overcome.

The one exception? A client with ALS whose doctor brought him to me as a last resort. The doctor warned me that she had little hope of his recovering, and soon I learned why. The man was completely devoid of love for anyone, including himself. I think we got through two sessions. I doubt he ever did his custom codes. He died of his illness within a few weeks of when I talked to him. His doctor said she wasn’t surprised, but had hoped that something could break through to him. Without his commitment to himself, however, no help could get through. Read More→

I recently attended Julie Bjelland’s class, “7 Steps to Embody the Gifts of Your Sensitivity” and I have to say, it has caused some major positive shifts in me.

Rarely has anything had this kind of effect on me so quickly. Putting into practice just a couple of Julie’s suggestions has also helped my husband (who is also Highly Sensitive). So I just have to tell you about this.

Julie calls herself a “personal trainer for the brain,” and it’s refreshing to see her science-based approach. In the first class, Julie explained how the HSP’s brain is different (more activity in amygdala and insula, which is why we process things so deeply, feel and perceive everything), and how to activate the calming centers in the brain.

She gave us very specific but easy things to do to “drain the container” of all we take in–which is much more than non-HSPs. She explained why we need to process our experiences, how to do that–and what will happen if we don’t. Read More→

Have you ever wondered what emotions are good for, anyway?

And what happens when you refuse to deal with an emotion?

Let’s say you feel sad about something, now. Growing up, if you showed sadness or cried, it made your parents feel uncomfortable. Feeling sad made you bad for making them feel uncomfortable. (You can substitute any other feeling you “weren’t allowed” to feel.)

If you were male and you cried, you may have been told, one way or another, to toughen up.

If you grew up this way, what are you likely to do with that present sad feeling?

If you let yourself feel it, you might find guilt being added to it (because when you felt sad in childhood and other people didn’t like it, you came to believe your feeling sad made someone else feel bad). Or shame (“I’m bad for feeling sad and causing a problem for someone else”). Read More→

When I was a child, I somehow got the idea from my family that I couldn’t have what I wanted.

When I asked for gymnastic lessons, my mother couldn’t be bothered with taking me back and forth to lessons.

When I asked if I could learn to play the piano, she said crossly, “Where would we fit a piano in this house?”

I’ve written about how I was triggered on Fourth of July by memories of never getting a helium balloon at the parade, and how that and other things led to my forming the beliefs, “I can’t have what I desire. Other people will think I’m selfish and reject me if I do or ask for what feels right for me.”

Which eventually led to a feeling of guilt and shame for even desiring anything pleasurable. Which eventually shut me down.

Hearing teachings by various spiritual leaders only reinforced the idea: It’s selfish to seek what I desire, wrong to seek pleasure and avoid pain. One renowned religious radio teacher even said repeatedly, “If you have a choice between the easy way and the hard way, always choose the hard way” (because it will build character).

Being part of the 15-20% of the population whose nervous system is programmed differently only made things worse. Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are literally wired to feel both pleasure and pain even more acutely than others. To deny us the pleasure and say we shouldn’t avoid the pain cuts us off from the essence of who we are. Also, to shame us when what we desire or need is different is also very damaging. (I was called “Little Miss Fuss-Budget” by my father because things bothered me that didn’t bother other people, like scratchy clothing. I was supposed to endure things that bothered me because I “wasn’t supposed to” be bothered by them.)

Was it any wonder that I had trouble feeling joy, or indeed, anything?

And was it any wonder that I developed poor boundaries, allowing other people to take advantage of me because I was ignoring the emotions that warned me to avoid pain? (Uneasiness, anxiousness, outrage, disgust.)

Well, I’m healing from all that. Here’s what I’m doing.

Steps to Healing

The first step is to recognize the lies.

As human beings, we were created to seek fulfillment, to go after pleasure and avoid pain.

We seek the pleasure of eating, so we are nourished. We seek the pleasure of relationship, so we seek community, we bond and procreate.

Of course we can seek pleasure in ways that are ultimately destructive. When we seek only our own desires, at the expense of others, we harm them and ourselves. We can try to avoid pain through destructive means, too. But that doesn’t negate the validity of  seeking to fulfill our desires and avoid pain in legitimate ways.

In fact, I believe God puts desires into our hearts so that he can feel the pleasure of fulfilling them.

Think about how how you try to find the perfect gift that will really make the recipient feel loved, special, known. Isn’t that what God does for us? I believe he finds joy when we receive his gifts with pleasure and joy. (I wrote a whole book, Abundant Gifts, about the transforming power of looking for and receiving God’s gifts.)

And doesn’t God try to warn us to avoid things that will cause us pain? The Word of God is filled with cautions not to do certain things because he knows they would be bad for us.

The second step was to renounce the lies, and embrace the truth. I did Healing Codes to heal the memories that led to my believing the lies. I infused the truth that it’s OK and good to let my legitimate desires and needs be more of a priority, and to take better care of myself.

The third step was to incorporate the new beliefs into my everyday life. I made a list of things that give me pleasure, and I incorporate those into my life whenever possible. I focus on savoring the simple things.

Not surprisingly, I’m finding my stress load lessening dramatically. My joy is increasing.

Also, I took a good look at what was causing me pain. A couple of key relationships that now felt toxic to me came to mind. Painful as it was, I cut off those relationships.

Again, my stress load lessened by quite a bit. I did Healing Codes to help heal the grief of letting go of the relationships.

I believe that a big part of healing and mastering the stress in our lives has to do with seeking pleasure and avoiding pain in life-giving ways.

The key is recognizing temporary vs. more lasting pleasure and pain, and to find life-giving ways to do both.

Life-giving is key. It often means we may give up a temporary pleasure for a more lasting satisfaction. We’re still seeking pleasure, but it’s a more permanent pleasure. And sometimes that includes embracing a little pain, but again, you’re exchanging temporary pain for lasting pleasure.

An example might be teaching your child to clean his room. He may act ornery, and as if he hates you even, but you are willing to put up with that because you set your gaze on the more lasting pleasure of having a child who knows how to take care of things. (And in the long run, it means less work for you.)

If you can relate to what I’ve been saying, I encourage you to list what gives you pleasure, what is causing pain. Look at the beliefs you might have that are blocking you from embracing pleasure and/or avoiding pain in legitimate ways. See if you can identify memories attached to those lies. Use The Healing Codes or healing prayer to heal those memories.

Then, add as much pleasure, avoid as much pain as you can. Life has enough suffering that we can’t avoid. Let’s not let guilt or shame or a false sense of what it means to be a “good person” keep us from embracing the abundant life God has for us (John 10:10).

And if you need any help with identifying and healing those lies and memories, I’m always available for custom coaching with The Healing Codes at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

With The Healing Codes, we look for memories that carry the same kind of feeling as the main issue that bothers us. The idea is that what bothers you now is likely attached to something called “implicit” memory (memories hidden in the subconscious mind), and if we find and heal that original memory, the current issue will resolve.

But what if, like many people, you can’t find any memories with that feeling?

Maybe you’ve had that feeling most of your life. Maybe you have very few childhood memories, period.

All the more reason to use something like The Healing Codes, because the original memories are likely so painful, that your Heart wants to protect you from the pain of remembering.

(This why, by the way, a lot of times “talk therapy” alone isn’t very effective. I had a therapist tell me, point blank, “therapy doesn’t heal anything.” We need a way to get at these implicit memories that carry the original lie.)

If you can’t remember much from your childhood, it may well be for yet a different reason. It could be because you grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect.

Running on Empty

What happens when you grow up in a family in which emotions were not acknowledged, validated, and dealt with?

In her excellent book, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional NeglectDr. Jonice Webb says that it’s not necessarily what happened to you that can cause problems. What failed to happen for you as a child “has as much or more power over who you have become as an adult than any of the events that you do remember.”

Some call it Type A trauma–the Absence of nurturing. And it can be just as damaging as Type B trauma, where the bad stuff like abuse happened.

Memories are formed when you feel strong emotions around an event. If your feelings were ignored, if no one ever helped you process your emotions, it can have an insidious effect on your life as an adult.

That’s because our brains record events as memories. Things that fail to happen go unnoticed, unseen, and unremembered.

You might struggle with self-discipline and self-care, of feel unworthy, disconnected, unfulfilled. Empty.

If you have the trait that 20% of the population has, High Sensitivity, where your nervous system is wired to process things deeply (including emotions), susceptible to over-stimulation (sensory or emotional), emotionally reactive, and sensitive to subtle stimuli–Childhood Emotional Neglect does even more harm.

When you’re Highly Sensitive, emotions are your native language. That’s a big part of the trait–emotional reactivity. If your language is not spoken or understood in your family, to them you were constantly speaking gibberish. You may have  been shamed or ridiculed. You may have tried to shut down, to turn off those feelings.

Thus you may have few memories, a feeling of emptiness and more likely than not, problems with your health, relationships, and/or career.

Emotion is energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. If it’s appropriately processed, it goes to a memory that becomes part of your life.

If it’s not properly processed, it becomes hidden trauma, and it goes into the body and mind and causes illness and disease. More and more scientific evidence points to emotional issues as the source of many if not most physical problems.

Then of course, there are the mental, emotional, and relational problems that show up because of hidden, unhealed memories. In How We Love, Milan and Kay Yerkovich identify five “injured Love Styles” that can show up in families where there has been emotional neglect or other circumstances that interfere with a strong, secure emotional bond with caregivers early in life.

What’s the solution? How to you begin to heal what Jonice Webb calls “the invisible force that may be at work in your life”?

Reconnect with Your Emotions

First, you may need to relearn the language of feelings. Just allow yourself to name the feelings, to yourself and others. For some, this may not be easy. You may feel shame for having certain feelings, or having feelings at all.

Or you may have trouble even identifying your feelings. Running on Empty includes several pages of feelings words, and so does How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.

Ask yourself when you felt that way earlier in your life. If a memory comes up, heal it with The Healing Codes and/or healing prayer.

If no memory comes up, don’t sweat it. Just say in your Healing Code Prayer of Intention, “… from the childhood emotional neglect.” Assume that’s the source.

If you have any fear around the idea of welcoming emotions into your life, start with healing that fear. We always start where we are. Ask, “What’s bothering me? What exactly am I feeling? When did I feel like that before”? If the answer to that last question is, “All my life!” then that’s what you put into the prayer: “from a lifetime of emotional neglect.”

These questions will help you move forward in your healing journey.

And if you ever need more help, e.g. with finding hidden memories, just contact me at www.healingcodescoaching.com for some coaching.

 

 

 

Do you struggle in your relationships, especially close relationships?

The key to why lies in your childhood, in how you learned to love in your family. You learned patterns of relating that became “imprinted” upon you, including how to deal (or not deal) with feelings and needs.

An excellent book that explains all this is How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. My husband and I took a marriage class based on the book.

The authors have a free Love Styles quiz that tells you how you learned to love in your family. The patterns that you experienced will, without any kind of intervention, determine that “core pattern” of how you will relate in close relationships.

I recommend you take the Love Styles quiz, and find out what yours is. If you are part of the 75% of the population who did not learn a secure attachment style, you will be either an Avoider, a Pleaser, a Vacillator, a Victim, or a Controller–or any combination thereof! Read More→

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