During this course you have been introduced to many tools which can aid you in moving out of suffering. In this chapter, you will have the opportunity to learn how to use seven more tools.
- Stand in a cardboard box (or on a pillow).
- Suffer out loud, i.e. whine, bitch, moan, pout, etc. Say anything and everything that comes to your mind.
- Exaggerate your feelings and thoughts.
- Stick with it until you feel an energy shift (may be 5-10-15-20 minutes).
- Step out of the box
- Identify one thing you will do to work on the situation you were suffering about.
(The Suffer Box was adapted from the Fuss Box concept, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson, Growing Up Again: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children.)
- Pick a ring to be your suffer ring.
- Wear it anytime you are suffering.
- Check in with yourself several times a day to determine whether or not you should be wearing the ring.
(Suggestion: Keep the ring on your watch band or necklace when you aren’t using it, so you have access to it at all times.)
- Go for a walk, watch a movie, play tennis, talk to a friend (on any topic other than what you are suffering about), listen to music, read a book, exercise, etc.
- After the suffery energy has shifted, identify one thing you are going to do to solve the problem that is related to your suffering.
- Make a written list of all the things you are angry about. I am mad that_____. I am mad that_____. I am mad that _____.
- Write a poison pen letter saying all of the negative things you would like to say to the person you are angry with. Be sure to destroy the letter afterwards. This is an opportunity for you to vent. No one should ever see it.
- Hit a pillow with your fists or a tennis racket
- Stomp your feet.
- Twist a towel and let your anger flow into the towel.
- Make a written list of your scares. I am scared that _____. I am scared that _____. I am scared that _____.
- Scream into a pillow.
- Call a friend and talk with them about your fear.
- Say positive affirmations to yourself
- Call someone and ask them for an affirmation.
Do a Clearing
If you are feeling distant from someone, or you are aware you have unfinished business with them, then do a clearing. I find the model below to be very helpful.
- I feel _________________ (mad, sad or scared)
- Because when you _________________________
- I think it means ___________________________
- What I need from me is ______________________
- What I need from you is ______________________
- I feel scared
- Because when you didn’t acknowledge me when I walked into room
- I think it means you are mad at me
- What I need from me is to remind myself that I’m okay even if you are upset with me.
- What I need from you is to know if you are mad at me, i.e. check out your fantasy
- I feel mad
- Because when you do things I haven’t asked you to do
- I think it means you believe I’m incompetent.
- What I need from me is to remind myself that I am competent regardless of what you think.
- What I need from you is to know whether you think I am incompetent, i.e. check out your fantasy.
Most often our fantasies are wrong, but if you happen to be right, read what you wrote in the fourth line and focus on that. There may be problems that the two of you need to solve but wait until you are both feeling grounded and ready to work on them.
Sharing Resentments and Appreciations
- Ask a friend to work with you as learn how to share and hear resentments and appreciations.
- Share two resentments with your friend and listen to two of hers/his. Focus on events that have occurred recently. The person giving the resentment uses the format “I resent that you ______.” The listener responds “Thank you” or “I hear you.” When you are hearing resentments, remember that you are hearing the other person’s experience. It does not mean that you are “bad” or have done something wrong or that you have to agree with their perception. Do not defend or argue, simply listen.
- Share two appreciations with your friend and listen to two of hers/his. Focus on events that have occurred recently. The speaker uses the format “I appreciate that you_____.” The listener responds “Thank you” or “I hear you.”
I resent that you left the cap off of the toothpaste tube.
I resent that you didn’t put your dishes in the dishwasher.
I appreciate that you gave me a hug when I came home.
I appreciate that you called me today.
[Note: Thanks to Elaine Childs-Gowell, Jean Illsley Clarke, Al Chase, and the other therapists who created and/or revised the 1) clearing and 2) resentment and appreciation models.]
Every day this week, use one or two of these tools and then journal about your experience.
See you next Monday for the seventeenth and last lesson.
To find the lessons in this series that have already been published, click here.