I love Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are I am referencing another gem concept.
I recently had a complete paradigm shift over the last 3 weeks of my life. Here is what I learned:
I am completely 100 percent responsible for my own feelings.
I will repeat that.
We are completely 100 percent responsible for our own feelings.
This is what Emily Nagoski calls "staying over your emotional center of gravity."
"This means owning your feelings, listening to them, and being responsive without being reactive, taking emotions seriously without taking them personally."
Before I had this shift I would often run away from comfortable emotions (and work out excessively) or blame my painful emotions on my partner's behaviour towards me. But that is a quick way to make yourself miserable and stress yourself out because you won't ever thoroughly process that emotion.
It is not our fault. We are in a broken, shaming, emotionally-lidded culture that doesn't permit the flushing out emotion or the tools to work with the emotion. We are ill-equipped to lovingly sit with our emotional body.
Emotions, Emily Nagoski states, are like going through a tunnel. To get to the light at the other end you have to go through the tunnel fully. You have to feel that shit so you can move on. Most emotions, on average, only last 4 minutes long! Learning how to self-regulate and self-soothe is an incredibly powerful tool.
In the past, when I felt emotional pain I would look for external sources to help ease the pain. I wanted my partner to say the right thing. I wanted someone or something to fix the pain. Which can lead to some pretty self-harming, toxic behaviour.
Now I know that emotional pain is apart of life. We feel good, then we feel bad and the more we can roll with that, sit with our pain, the less overall suffering we will feel. The humanity!
So here is how you stay over your emotional center of gravity with the Sleep HedgeHog model:
If you find a a sleepy hedgehog in the chair you were about to sit in, you should
- give it a name
- sit peacefully with it in your lap
- figure out what it needs
- tell your partner about the need, so you can collaborate to help the hedgehog
Pretty simple! Practicing this in real life is tough, I'll admit. When triggered we habitual react probably how our caregivers reacted or based on past experiences of relating with others. But you wouldn't scream at your sleepy hedgehog or throw it at your partner!
It's a choice everyday to make space and sit with your emotions. I love this model because it gives me pause to really take a step back from my automatic reactivity.
I now choose to welcome my emotional guests into body without judgement or irritation. They are allowed to be there. If I tend to them and understand what they need then I can communicate that clearly with those around me as well as understand my own self care.
When we deny those emotions entry they will bang at the door or camp outside- getting stinkier and louder until they break down the doors. We will keep suffering at the hands of others and life itself because the Universe will send you the same situations over and over again until you change your mindset. It is the spiral of life. It's your choice to move upward or downward.
To cap it off:
"I choose to allow the hurt to heal. Healing always involves pain- if your break your finger, it hurts, gradually less and less until it heals. Same goes for healing emotional injury. You can't choose for your broken heart not to hurt, any more than you can choose for a broken bone no to hurt. But you can recognize the pain as part of the healing, and you can trust your heart to heal, just as you trust your bones to heal, knowing that it will gradually hurt less and less as you recover."
Love your sleepy hedgehogs.
Much love my Gypsy Queens,
The Psychedelic Gypsy Queen