"Be With it, Not In it"
One of the primary reasons people come to therapy is because they aren’t sure how to cope with strong, intense, or painful emotions. And it makes perfect sense that so many people would struggle with this skill set, because culturally we aren’t taught how to relate to and understand our emotions.
I first heard the phrase “be with it, not in it” during an Internal Family Systems (IFS) training with Frank Anderson, and it stuck with me because of its simplicity and its power. We need to learn to be with our difficult experiences, instead of fully immersed in them.
Talk to Yourself
What does it mean to be with our emotional experiences? It means being there for ourselves the way we would be there for a friend. It means having conversations with ourselves. Saying “It’s OK… I’m here for you… I won’t leave you… You’re not crazy… Everything is going to be alright… It makes sense that you feel so sad right now… I really understand why you would feel that way.”
Talking to yourself is widely associated with psychosis and other serious mental health diagnoses, so understandably, most people avoid it or question their own sanity when it happens. But the truth is, we ALL talk to ourselves.
Learning to be with our experiences, instead of fully immersed in them is a practice and a lifestyle. It is an ongoing form of self-care, and a decision to show up for ourselves in the way that we wish other people would show up for us. So, how does one start practicing this?
1) Set the conscious intention to get to know your parts.
This requires an attitude of curiosity toward your internal experience. For example, “Wow, interesting, every time I get off the phone with my mom, I feel anxious. I wonder what that might be about?” or “I notice that whenever I feel embarrassed there is a voice in there that says, ‘What were you thinking?! How could you be so stupid?!’” Everything is seen as simply interesting information (including any reactions we have that make it difficult to be curious).
2) Label your thoughts and feelings.
When you have a strong emotional reaction, name that emotion in the moment (or even afterward, if you aren’t aware enough to do so in the moment itself). Labeling our internal experience is helpful because it starts to create distance between ourselves and our thoughts and feelings. This degree of separation is what eventually will allow us space to be with our experiences, instead of in them. Labeling also helps us become increasingly aware of our internal world.
3) Intentionally cultivate self-compassion.
What would you say to a friend who was feeling the way you are feeling? What do you wish someone would say to you, to help you feel safe and cared for? Learn to say those things to yourself. We all have parts inside of us that get very scared, sad, and angry, and every single one of them deserves (and needs) our compassion and guidance.
Looking for an Online Therapist in Kansas?
Would you like to turn your attention inward and deepen your self-compassion? My Lawrence, Kansas counseling practice specializes in providing therapy for highly sensitive adults, therapy for self-esteem, therapy for anxiety, and therapy for codependency, and grief and bereavement counseling.
Through counseling I help people overcome shame and the fear of being their true selves. Breaking the cycles of people-pleasing and self-abandonment is possible, and I'm here to help. I offer online therapy throughout the state of Kansas.
Reach out today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation, I'd love to hear from you!
Other Services Offered by Sacred Circle Holistic Healing
In addition to providing online therapy anywhere in Kansas, I’m also a professional astrologer, and offer Birth Chart Readings anywhere in the United States, as well as abroad.
Astrology is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness, finding meaning in and understanding of our difficult experiences, and for receiving validation regarding our own unique life path. All of which supports our mental health in a positive way!
Interested in getting a Natal Chart Reading? Book a free phone consultation and let’s get started!