One Woke Mama – The journey of awakening through motherhood
One Woke Mama – Episode 048 – What does it look like to emotionally hold yourself?
As a mama, I’ve been on a quite a journey, over the last 5+ years, in learning how to emotionally hold space for my daughter, and now my son.
I’m not going to pretend that I’ve nailed this. It’s still a huge work in progress. My daughter is the child that challenges me the most. I frequently feel triggered by her emotional outburst, her reactions, her big feelings. She takes my nervous system to the edge and I’m often left feeling dysregulated and quite shaken.
She requires a recipe – that I’ve yet to perfect.
However, in my exploration of how to both honour her feelings, support her to feel those feelings yet inspire her to be brave, self-motivated, able to process the experience and grow from them, I’ve come to learn a few basic tools in how to emotionally hold space for her.
The irony, in all of this learning, has been that most of what I’m learning to do with and for Soleil and Rafael, I’ve been teaching to my clients and learning for myself.
The core of this is – how do we emotionally hold space for ourselves when we are feeling a lot. When there is rage bubbling up. Or shame, guilt, frustration. Or even apathy, boredom, exhaustion.
I want to share with you what I not only do for my children (as much as possible, yet I do frequently get somewhat derailed and have to get back on track), I also apply these tools to my clients, and most importantly myself.
So whether you are a mama or not, everything I’m about to share – these simply, reflective tools – can be powerfully harnessed to support you to emotionally “HOLD” others, your clients, yourself.
1.Begin with awareness. Tune into the mind and body connection. Check in with your body. Notice sensations and feelings.
- Anchor into your body.
- Breathe. Big deep breaths. SIGH. Exhale with relief. YAWN. Slow the breath down. Make it rhythmical. Then come inward.
- Before you even go into any cognitive awareness, just tune in to the sensations and feelings coming up and try and describe the sensation and where it’s felt.
- E.g I feel unsettled in my tummy. My heart is pounding. My body feels jittery. My head is achey.
2. Name what you feel, name what you notice. This leads to the ability to ultimately process and release these feelings.
Can you name those sensations as feelings? Can you label them? Understand what’s underneath them? What do you FEEL. What’s the emotion?
Now you are going to sportscast those sensations into FEELINGS. Acknowledge without judgment.
This Qs below can be applied for children AND for yourself. This is a powerful and simple practice where you allow the feelings to exist. You are aware of them without moving, yet, to change them.
- What do you FEEL?
- You’re really angry right now
- I can see how angry you feel right now
- You really didn’t like it when….
- You feel hurt about….. and you really wanted….
- I’m noticing how flat and switched off you feel…
- I wonder if you are feeling scared?
- I can sense that you feel frustrated/annoyed…
You are making it safe (for yourself and others) to feel SAFE in ALL of the feelings present.
3. Seek help, take action – through practices to change what you’re feeling. To move to the other side of what you are processing.
- Ask yourself or your child; what do you need right now?
- What would help you to feel different/better?
- Is there something your body is asking to do?
- What about your breathing? How can we breathe differently right now?
- Do you need to stay inside, go outside?
You’ll know for yourself and/or for your child when you are getting to the other side. The body will change shape, posture will open up, breathing will shift and regulate, smiles will return. There will be a clear shift in the sensations in the body and a clear grounding that returns.
And in real time – only 20 minutes before recording this – I’ve had to use this practice on myself.
I had to notice and become aware of the sensations. Label them and sport cast my own emotions. Then explore how I could help myself. Ultimately it was movement, breathing, mantras, meditation. I needed to shift some stuck and heavy energy.
Listen to Episode 048:
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Beautiful one, thank you for being here and listening. It would mean the world to me if you would hit subscribe and stay connected to One Woke Mama – join me on this journey of awakening. Your feedback, comments, reviews and shares would always be gratefully received but also help us to reach more mamas who need support as they navigate the choppy waters of motherhood and all it asks of us. Love + light, Claire