Proper targeting is every bit as important as the process. Processes won't work when we target the untargetable or choose targets that part of us doesn't want to address. Let's look at good targets for processing and integrating:
Poorly chosen targets can be like going on Mission Impossible. Examples: (1) Emotions and moods generated by hormonal and biochemical challenges are unsuitable for processing. (2) Directly targeting a compulsion or worry when the underlying emotions and overwhelm need to be felt and integrated.
The better targets are feelings, emotions, and physical pain that our body/mind provides us when we inquire. Even when we're processing beliefs, we work with their supporting emotions and feelings.
Emotions, feelings, and physical pain. Examples: Anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, event-related depression, shame, embarrassment.
Beliefs. In belief processing we engage the emotions and feelings that support a belief. When they are integrated, the belief loses its emotional meaning. Or we may dispute our beliefs by finding solid evidence for them.
Personality Clusters, groups of beliefs with a similar theme, are targeted like other beliefs. Personality Clusters can automatically and powerfully run behaviors, emotional states, and perceptions. The cluster's beliefs create emotions are the targets. A personality cluster often may have from 10 to 25 beliefs involved. A complete list of Personality Clusters can be found at Emoclear.com
Emptiness is excellent target for integration. It can be experienced and penetrated. Emptiness or those pit like feelings in the body are areas you may feel inside yourself. These deficits (or so they seem) may stem from abandonment, loneliness, and lost love. To find emptiness, scan your body or notice a pit-like feeling inside yourself. Once you locate any emptiness, allow yourself to stay with it and feel it. Emptiness maybe entered by your awareness and in doing so, you will begin to initiate a profound shift in both feeling and perception. Peacefulness, wholeness, love, and acceptance can be found within emptiness. Feelings may be linked with their opposites. Folks who've experienced essence states with some of the Emoclear Processes know what I'm writing about here. Shifting back and forth from the outside to the inside of emptiness can integrate it. Emptiness is a major target for many
Severe Traumas: These powerful emotional residuals may come from accidents, wars, rape, love loss, sudden deaths of people important to us, assaults, and painful injury. These are primary targets because of their ongoing impact on our behavior, emotional states, and perceptions.
Soft Traumas: These are the smaller traumas resulting from a steady emotional pounding or deprivation. Examples are: love losses, school failures, multiple embarrassing situations, steady putdowns by important others.
Negative Self-Images: These are clusters of beliefs we have about ourselves which regulate our feelings and perceptions about ourselves. They need to be addressed. See the learn-in on Self-acceptance in the Learn-Ins Archives at the Emoclear Forums.
Painful Memories. Highly emotionally charged events can be recalled and processed from start to finished.
Habitual self-defeating behaviors: These targets can be handled by becoming aware of them and their patterns as well as integrating their beliefs, intentions, emotions, urges. (See the The Pattern Tree and The Habit Cracker). (Also check out The Behavior Repatterner in Your Emotional Power ). Further behavioral patterns can be reorganized.
Obsessions/compulsions: You'll have better luck integrating these targets after you feel the anxiety driving these thoughts and actions. Obsessions/compulsions often cloaks anxious overwhelm. That anxious overwhelm has to be felt and integrated, then the obsessions/compulsions evaporate.
Phobias. These are intense fears about animals, objects, situations, and more. These are good targets for integration and processing.
Have fun, Steve
Let's look at good targets for processing and integrating:
Trying to use a process without having mastered each step first. Processes are best learned "Karate Kid" style. Do each separately you comfortable with it. Then put all of the process together.
Going right away after highly painful or scary targets upon learning a process. Some people pick some of the most powerful targets imaginable. I'm not joking. I've received emails from folks going after life long phobias and traumatic conditions with a process just out of the box. No small wonder the process groaned and sputtered. Some people have blown out phobias their first time at bat if they used a process correctly. Many times newbies will use processes less suited for the target they're going after. A highly charged event or incident should receive a written exposure process. A strong emotion requires an integrator.
Getting rid of emotions and feelings. No matter what's posted both here and on the main website some folks miss our basic Emoclear message of fully feeling feelings and allowing them to be there without trying to get rid of them or keep them. Don't get rid of them--allow them to be there.
Don't subvocally judge an emotion. It's just an acceptable feeling, one of a multitude you'll have today.
Don't get tied up in trying to figure out a feeling or explaining it. That takes you out of feeling. Just feel it.
If you get urges from your feeling, return your attention to your feeling. Step away from acting upon the urge. Just feel.
Not taking the time to experience the very important intuitive message or emotional insight. Some people, still wishing to hurry through and get rid of their feelings, will give lip service to getting that intuitive communication or emotional insight from our feelings. This communication is pretty valuable. It let's us know what's going on and sometimes what to do. Ignoring it generally means the issue will soon land back on your plate. Learn from your emotional stuckness. It's got a message for you. Once you've mastered message getting, it's a very rapid process. You don't need to put it into words. All you need to do is "know" it viscerally. To feel it in your body. Perhaps get a murky image or sound or feeling in your body. Like someone driving a car, they "know" when to turn or when to apply the breaks or speed up. They don't think about it. They "know" and do.
Demanding instant gratification and pushing hard. Behind these are resistance and low frustration tolerance. New York was not built in a day. Newbies are best off giving themselves time when they are learning a new process and using it. Pressuring ourselves tends to slow learning down. Making mistakes is part of learning.
Going directly after compulsions (repetitive activities used to block feelings) instead of the feelings beneath them. This is a common challenge. Taking on a compulsion by feeling it and integrating it may help dissolve the compulsive activity.
Not knowing how to deal with everyday confusion involved with learning. Some folks with performance anxiety will unconsciously create confusion, which initially makes learning difficult. There are several basic ways to deal with everyday confusion when it arises:
1. Plain old persistence without self-pressuring lets confusion die out.
2. Getting a feel of the confusion and playing with it. Shrinking it. Expanding it. Migrating it.
3. A favorite way of dealing with confusion is to feel the confusion, label it "That confusion" and step back from it before you dialogue with it and respectfully ask it what it wants.
Missing that a target may have aspects or different scenes involved. Without experiencing these different aspects or scenes, the issue seems crazy glued. Learning to recognize multiple aspects is an important part of newbie learning.
Not recognizing a polar target that is formed out of a conflict between parts. If you experience a conflicting or ambivalent emotional target formed out of opposing emotions (Example: You both love and hate something), you integrate the strongest emotion first and then switch integrating the other. If one emotion remains, it may resprout the other. Best to get both.
Targeting the untargetable. This is where someone with a neurological deficit or biologically based mood problem tries to integrate it with a process. The mood stays put. Better the mood gets dialogued with and asked where it's coming from. Sometimes other interventions like altering diet, sun light, dealing with allergies, getting enough sleep, etcetera, will be better suited. Infrequently an actual medical condition like a hormonal problem may be the culprit. Time to visit a medical doctor.
Giving up in the face of low frustration tolerance. This is the "I can't stand it-itis" and "It's too much" kind of distorted thinking that makes some quit. Low frustration tolerance, frustration, and impatience are all viable targets if they appear during the learning process. If they jump in line ahead of your target, go feel them and stand them. Respectful dialoging with them can be very helpful and instructive.
Not setting a set time aside to do the work.
It might be helpful for newbies to check out the common blocks to processing and be able to recognize them. There's a list below.
Take care, Steve
The most common way to defeat resistance is to make a full commitment to do the self-help task and go ahead and do it at a set time regardless of how we initially feel.
Our feelings generally change as we get into the work and become absorbed. Granted some emotions are overwhelming and painful at times. Facing them and doing the work begins to bring that overwhelm and pain down.
The most common blocks to self-help and growth are:
Confusion. Some folks undergo confusion and are unable to focus when attempting to read self-help instructions or do processes. This is often part of performance anxiety. Staying with techniques and instructions generally leads to the confusion evaporating.
Performance anxiety and demanding flawless performance. We pressure ourselves not to make mistakes. If we believe we must perform perfectly we may resist self-help because of the possibility of making mistakes. Mistakes and "learning experiences" may be viewed as failures. If our tasks fail then we magically become failures. Best to drop the shoulding and musting and negative self-labeling and go ahead and do what's to be done. We can stand the initial anxiety about making mistakes.
Hopelessness: Here we view change as a hopeless task. We might believe we can't change or this will never work because I'm different. Or I lack what it takes so why bother. Here we have negative self-views that will likely make us give up before we even start or quit early on if we hit slow progress. To overcome negative predictions we take an experimental attitude. Let's see what actually happens after we did this new activity.
We lack experience in introspection. Going within and observing our thoughts and feelings is unknown to some of us.
A problem beyond our problem: Issues beyond something we're targeting, can thwart us in a hurry. How willing would we be to make a change, if it dropped a larger problem in our lap? Remember this problem beyond our problem better be integrated or negotiated. We can learn to accept ourselves under all circumstances.
Choosing emotional issues and behavior that are low priorities when there's more pressing and important issues. We best understand what's most important for us.
Lack of Commitment. We better decide to commit to our changes and stick to them from start to finish. Without full commitment we will quit if the tide shifts. Folks making changes build their houses on the rock of commitment and not on the shifting sands of feelings.
Easy: Here we believe change should be easy, natural, spontaneous, and without effort. Change does require time and effort. This can adventure can be fun--but it is work sometimes.
Frustration Intolerance: Sometimes people stop working at change because they believe its too hard, too difficult, overwhelming, painful, boring, or can't be stood. We can learn to stand a great deal, especially when we are looking down the road at long-term rewards. See our Learn-in on Low Frustration Tolerance in the Learn-ins Archives at the Emoclear Forums.
Unnaturalness: We often feel unnatural or uneasy when first making changes or practicing a new skill or behavior. Naturalness comes with practice and habit.
Flight into health, happiness, and love. Here we drop out of our self-help program when our mood elevates from getting involved in a romantic relationship, getting a big gain in some area, or our mood rises due to a new job or sudden money. We temporarily forget our challenges and don't follow through on our goals. Note that areas in need of repair don't go away because we temporarily feel good.
Seeing ourselves as deserving of our emotional plight. Like we're inherently no good etc or we're meant to be a victim. These negative self-views need to be addressed.
Denial or being emotionally dishonest with ourselves. We better look at what's going on inside and at our behavior. Because of self-denigration some folks avoid things where they will dump on themselves and give themselves negative labels. Learning Self-Acceptance often makes it easier to face what we do without downing ourselves.
Avoiding action. Taking action is the bottom line in growth. If we don't take action we're not really growing. Some people avoid direct confrontation by lying around doing palliative and relaxing short-term processes, yet never face the music in real life. They manipulate their moods for the short-term. Taking action demonstrates where someone is with an issue. If they are not taking action, then are stuck no matter how good they temporarily feel about some of their feelings.
Self-view attack: Some of folks duck changes because they fear discovering something about themselves that might put them in a bad light or lead to failure of the process itself. It's not failure that's so bad; it's the abuse people might dump on us afterwards. A lack of self-acceptance is a large hurdle for many.
Guilt, self-blame, and suffering: If we believe we should feel guilt or suffer for what we've done, we're going to back off on change if it would lead to less guilt, self-blaming, and suffering. Self-acceptance is the key. See our Self-Acceptance Learn-in in the Learn-Ins Archives at the Emoclear Forums.
Inspiration and the right mood: Here we think we need to feel inspired or in the right mood to do our self-help. If we wait for that we could wait a long time and not accomplish much. Sometimes we just have to set a time and follow through no matter what we're feeling. We don't have to obey our feelings and negative predictions--we can just get up and do what the situation requires. Pretty soon you feel the control of managing your life and the reward of getting where you wanted to go.
Demand for certainty: Here we demand our self-help activities have guaranteed positive results before we undertake them. Nope! Actually few if any guaranteed outcomes exist. We have probable outcomes and we can raise that probability by doing what is required and learning from our slips and errors.
Theorizing instead of taking action: here we focus on creating reasons why we did something instead of taking concrete action to overcome a challenge. Although it's fun and interesting to reason "after the fact" and come up with causes and explanations, searching out insights can blocks us from taking required action and making change. Some people actually demand to know the cause before they do anything about it. Factoid: We can make changes without ever having insight into the cause. Besides it's sort of silly when you recognize that many, many frameworks exist in which to view a problem and its so-called causes.
Payoffs: We get rewarded for our self-defeat--we might get financial reward or attention for something that isn't working in our lives. Find other ways to reward yourself without self-defeat.
Demand for instant improvement: We might believe that without instant improvement, we will never improve. Quitting follows this belief. Instant is getting somewhat more accessible with some of the new processes, but you still better be ready for an uphill fight. Sometimes stuff gets blocked--and you have to wait it out and keep on doing what you need to do.
Loss of Emotion: Some folks believe they might lose their ability to emote if they take up change processes. An unfounded belief.
Loss of Creativity: Some people--I've known writers and artists who feared they would loose their creativity if they grew. Unfounded belief. Folks are usually more creative when they're emotionally free.
Pseudo Fatigue. Here we start to feel very tired just before we're doing self-help work. The fatigue comes out of nowhere or it multiplies. The fatigue generally lifts after we get absorbed in a self-help activity.
Having the same feeling or state of consciousness forever: This block comes from the notion that we might become frozen in a state of consciousness by doing altered states exploration. No one remains in any feeling or state forever. Our brain chemistry doesn't permit it.
Going crazy: A close cousin of the previous block, this fear is based on the idea we could go crazy or lose control from doing certain kinds of therapeutic activities. Folks with this problem are likely to have suffered panic or trauma. They may require therapeutic support when they begin processing.
A change in our relationship with others: If we use self-help and make changes in our emotional responses and behavior, we might face an alteration in our relationship with others. This change may have a negative meaning for us and we might feel uncomfortable with the resulting uncertainties. We can live with initial discomfort. It passes.
Unclear Goals and Methods: Here we lack clarity about our objectives and self-help methods. Without clear and specific targets, we won't be motivated for the task of self-help. And without a solid knowledge of self-help procedures we will not know how to effectively go about making changes. Most of us would resist driving to a mystery destination in a car lacking windows and a steering wheel.
Too Busy: I don't have the time--I'm too busy! We can locate time for high priorities in our lives.
Magical thinking: Change should occur by just thinking about it or by sending affirmations into the ether. Change occurs through action and not wishful thinking and inaction.
Self-sabotage: Skipping sessions with yourself. Forgetting. Altering processes. Contacting others for their opinions or for negative support to sabotage making changes. Not setting times aside. Getting high prior to a session. Escaping into a romantic high and thinking all your problems have been solved. Not making self-help a higher priority. Jumping from one process to another instead of learning one or two and mastering them. Dropping out of self-processing when you don't get immediate results. Picking an extremely difficult problem for your first bout of processing and then quitting when you didn't get quick results.
If we're in a near chronic state of upsetness: this can intrude on growth. Find a time when you're not too caught up and do what needs to be done.
Need for approval. We believe we must remain as we are or we'll lose someone’s approval. If we're in emotional pain and our life is greatly curtailed by emotional and behavioral challenges we have to weigh that against losing someone’s approval. We can learn to approve of and accept ourselves regardless how another thinks. See the Self-Acceptance Learn-in in the Learn-Ins Archives at the Emoclear Forums.
Oppositional-ism: This seldom rears its head in self-help, but it could. We may thwart growth if we are being urged by someone to grow. There's no need to oppose. We always have a choice whether we prefer to do the work or not.
Procrastination: Most of us know this one. Procrastination offers a lot of targets. See the Learn-in on Procrastination in the Learn-Ins Archives at the Emoclear Forums. We can always unhook from our current feeling state and get up and do an activity no matter what we're initially feeling.
Using palliative and pseudo-integration processes that create only temporary relaxation and endorphin blocking, yet no real change in our issues, our beliefs, and in our behavior. This blocks real growth.
The poor habit of feelings-avoidance: Many emotional difficulties have their roots in avoiding emotions and feelings because they feel initially uncomfortable or sometimes overwhelming. Through exposing ourselves to uncomfortable feelings we begin to desensitize them and are less at their mercy. All feeling desensitize or become integrated when fully experienced.
Have fun, Steve
A semi-relaxed body can open us to our feelings. Left nasal dominance breathing and full body relaxation exercises can bring about this semi-relaxation.
In left nasal dominance breathing we breathe moderately and deeply through our left nostril only. Our right nostril is gently pinched shut. Exhale is free and relaxed. A good relaxation exercise is to begin at the top of the scalp and goes all the way down the body to the toes. A cycle works wonders when combined with left nasal dominance breathing.
You need not give your feelings traditional names like anxiety or happy or depression or anger. In some integrators we call them "Those sensations". This labeling can reduce some of our aversion to feeling, which may come from negative and pathological labeling. Neutralized labeling can give us a clearer experience of feeling. Labeling can also give us an outside perspective.
Welcome and experience appreciation toward your feelings. When you begin to tune into a feeling and really allow yourself to feel, say hello or hi to your feeling. This greeting both acknowledges your feeling and undercuts resistance to it. Recognizing what good service your feelings perform will also undercut resistance. Your feelings always perform the valuable task of giving you feedback about yourself, others, and your situation. Feelings let you know how you feel about something and what to do. Feelings also perform many other valuable services as well.
Commune with feelings through intuition or asking your feelings what valuable and good things your feelings do. By giving heartfelt gratitude or thanks to your feelings, you further remove aversion to your feelings. In short greet your feelings, see what good things they do, and sincerely thank them for their services. Done with sincerity these three gestures will help you let go of aversion to your feelings.
If you have hostile or fearful judgments or evaluations toward your feelings, feel these judgments and evaluations.
Always allow your feelings to be there with no intention of getting rid of them or keeping them. Allow. Permit.
Experience feelings in different ways:
Intensify them or exaggerate them.
Tune into them and allow them to migrate to other areas of your body. Then allow them to return.
Notice the opposite feelings of the feelings you're having. Shift back and forth between these polarities several times. What do you notice?
Allow your intention to get rid of your feelings to be there. Pay full attention to it and recognize it attempted to be helpful in its own way.
Allow yourself to have feelings and not to have feelings.
Observe how talking about your feelings is not the same as fully feeling them. It abstracts them and can be a form of resistance to feeling. This may shock some folks. Feel a feeling, and then talk about it. What do you notice about the difference between feeling a feeling and talking about a feeling?
Sometimes during feeling your feelings you may experience chaos and uncertainty. Feel the chaos and uncertainty and permit them to be there. It's okay to feel confused, out of control, and uncertain. When you experience chaos and uncertainty fully, you will begin to notice that order naturally returns even though you didn't seek order.
Notice the size and shape of a feeling. Notice its outline. Notice its location. Notice its surrounding space. What did you experience?
Are there feelings beneath your feelings? Pay full attention to your feeling. Ask if there is a feeling beneath that feeling. Wait and see if something appears. Keep letting feelings appear if they suddenly pop up into awareness. Go until you hit a wall or no more feelings appear. Then wait for a felt sense to emerge and fully feel it. (The felt sense is the overall sense of a problem or feeling.)
Allow yourself to fully feel your feelings. If some seem overwhelming and intense, that's okay. The longer you feel them with no intention of getting rid of them or keeping them, the less intense they will be. You can also get an outside perspective on them by simply labeling them "that feeling". Only if you feel completely overwhelmed do the Shrunken Head Exercise. This will quickly chill down the most intense and resisted feelings. Even in the most intense and overwhelming panic symptoms, abreactions, trauma restims, and flashbacks, it's not the feeling that overwhelms us, it's our intense aversion or resistance to these feelings that get us to flee. It's our intolerance to feeling that fires us up. These are the beliefs like I can't stand it, it's too much, it's overwhelming etc. These evaluations are the bedrock of aversion. By standing our low frustration tolerance and fully feeling it, the low frustration tolerance dies down. Fear has never chased a panicked person anywhere. They leave the scene because they believe they can't stand their fear. Practice long and often with aversion beliefs like: I can't stand it, it's overwhelming me etc. Once fully felt and accepted these beliefs lose their trance-like spell over us.
Dissociation or a seeming lack of feeling, sometimes to the point you feel outside your body, is a strong reaction to feeling overwhelmed. Focus on your dissociation and allow it to return to your body where you can feel it again. If you are working with dissociation, have someone trusted nearby or better yet work with a therapist grounded in feeling and integration processes. Also placing your palm on your heartbeat region can assist with bringing feelings back into your body or really feeling them.
Lack of feeling, numbness, dead feeling, even no feelings are all feelings. Allow yourself to fully feel them with no intention of getting rid of them or keeping them.
If you experience compulsions, addictions, and obsessive thoughts, then locate the feelings being blocked by compulsions, addictions, and obsessive thoughts. When the feelings that run compulsions, addictions, etc are fully experienced and accepted, the compulsions and addictions lose all power and vanish.
A straight spine helps us feel. Keep up your breathing. Halted breathing makes feelings stick.
If thoughts intrude--that's okay. Simply say: "thought" and bring your attention gently back to your feeling.
Notice those feelings where you want or need something. Notice those feelings you attempt to push away or avoid.
Placing your palm on your heartbeat region can assist in feeling.
After you have a good handle on fully feeling feelings, you can also focus on physical sensations, pain, and ill feelings.
Check out how you feel about some of the targets in Targets for Processing.
When integration of feelings comes about, changes in belief and emotion take place. Muscle tension vanishes.
Feelings may change into other aspects or even release memories. Pay full attention. The majority of feelings tend to cluster in the torso, yet they can be found in every part of the body and sometimes exterior to it.
As you get more tuned into feeling a feeling you will notice the separation between yourself and the feeling. This separation is subtle. This blur between the two is not quite you. You may pay attention to this separation and feel it.
Feelings have beginnings, middles, and ends. Feelings arise and pass away.
Be willing to forgive a feeling.
We may have intuitive conversation with our feelings:
You can employ your feelings to know what you want. You can ask your feelings directly: "Feeling old pal--what do you want?" Don't hurry an answer, just wait patiently.
Feelings can provide answers in felt senses, pictures, sounds. Other questions might be: What brings you here? What good things are you doing for me?
Overwhelming emotions always have something important to tell us. Ask what they want. You might even ask them how they might help to make you whole and complete. What can I learn from you that might bring serenity or even power?
Ask your feelings what might be holding you back or blocking you. And what might you do? You are going strait to the heart of intuition by asking your feelings.
Feelings provide an opportunity to listen non-judgmentally and really hear what our feelings have to say. Treat a feeling like a buddy.
Ask your feelings if they require distance. If they answer back yes, then permit them distance. Experience them now as "Those feelings over there" "That feeling" "My feelings beside me" This slight distancing alters our relationship with them and allows them more accessibility.
Feel a sensation, then ask what it is. Feelings and sensations are gateways to intuition. However if your answers come back with "I think" or "I believe" they are not coming from an intuitive place.
Ask your feeling to let you know what it would be like to experience wholeness, serenity, power, or love again.
Avoid questioning feelings with "why" questions. Why questions will take you quickly out of the feeling mode.
If you're feeling doubtful about your feelings, then return to them and experience them.
Notice any sense of impatience or pushing. Allow yourself to relax and focus, paying full attention with a sense of permission.
Be willing to feel even good feelings.
Active Feeling can be employed for experiences like compulsion, grief, obsession, and panic.
Many times when you become experienced with active feeling, you will experience spontaneous integrations.
If you have been condemning a feeling--see how you might accept it.
Sometimes we may experience two or more feelings at the same time. Feel both at once or naturally let yourself gravitate to the one you find most interesting. You'll experience a pull.
Keep somewhat warm during integration sessions. This helps feeling.
You can always return to a feeling you felt previously.
A common block to active feeling is simple performance anxiety. Here we wonder if we're doing it right. Or do we have a feeling? This is okay. Whatever is there for you in your body is a sense or a feeling. They work.
If you've decided to work on a particular feeling and your body had another feeling in mind, guess who wins? Your body. You can ask your body if it's okay to proceed with this other feeling, but if it says otherwise, pay attention and work with what it provides.
Never rush or push feelings. Allow. Permit. Relax.
If a feeling abruptly vanishes, this might hint you have intentions to hurry up and make it go away.
Sometimes you might feel good and miss it because you expect to feel really bad.
Take Care, Steve