Ep 22: What Terrible Things Happen


The one where we learn how to handle when truly bad things happen in the world and in our life.
To view the show notes, ask a question, or leave a comment, visit www.AmyLatta.com/BWLW22.

Episode Show Notes:

When terrible things happen in our life, we must process the various and huge amounts of negative emotion that come up.
Unfortunately, we have not been taught how to do this. In fact, many of us have been taught to move past, ignore, and stuff down that negative emotion – because our loved ones just want us to be happy.
Unfortunately, not processing negative emotion means:

  1. Those emotions will still bubble up to the surface. Often months or years later and not at very convenient times.
  2. Those feelings linger and become generalized unrest and anxiety, making it much harder to handle later in life when we can’t pinpoint what’s bothering us.
  3. We store negative emotion as files in our physical body – and that lead to chronic pain and illness. Woah.

In order to keep that from happening, we must learn to fully feel and process negative emotion at the time we are feeling it. It takes practice, it will feel uncomfortable, but we will learn to pass through it and come out the other side.

Action Item:

Think of one the worst emotions you can imagine feeling. One that you truly do anything to avoid. Think about it. Name it.
And then allow yourself to feel it. If only for five minutes. Or maybe 10 minutes? What if you allowed yourself to feel that emotion until it subsided on its own, not by trying to make it go away by stuffing it down under the surface. Not by slamming the door on it, or running the other way. Because it will only rear its ugly head sometime later!

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Episode Transcription:

You are listening to Business Women Losing Weight with Amy Latta, episode 22 – The one where we learn how to handle when truly bad things happen in the world and in our life. This is the episode we all need right now.

(Music) Welcome to Business Women Losing Weight, a community for fabulous women small business owners so laser focused on building their businesses….they have been sacrificing their health! Together we’re going to get back your time, get back your energy, and teach you to live naturally thin.
I’m your host, Amy Latta, and I’m all in! Are you comin’ with me? Let’s take care of you so you can take care of business!

Hello, my sisters! How are you! What. A. Week.
For those of you not listening during broadcast week, we had a tough week this week. Another major mass shooting here in America. I now have to qualify it as major, because depending on whose definition of mass shooting you follow, we average about one a day here in the states.
And only five weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in our history in Las Vegas. And this one this week, in a small Texas church, hit me in the same way that Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut did. It brought me to my knees.
And I have many personal friends who just so happen to be going through unbelievably devastating situations. Three, in fact. A terrifying medical diagnosis. Leaving an abusive marriage. The very day after the Texas shooting, a friend actually witnessed the murder of her new husband.
Like. Heavy. Heavy stuff.
Weight of the world kind of stuff.
I want to stay in bed for days kind of stuff.

And we have mentioned processing negative emotions before, but what, exactly are we supposed to do when truly awful things happens in life. Things that you can’t thought download or brain dump your way to feeling better.
When it feels all too much, and you just can’t do it.

The fact is that truly terrible things will happen in our life. Yes, the basis of my coaching is that nothing is ever good or bad, just what we make things mean and how we choose to think. But we will face events in our life and in our world that 99.9% of the population will agree. This is awful.
When a loved one dies.
When someone is diagnosed with a life threatening medical condition.
When faced with a criminal situation.
Losing your only source of income.
Financial crisis.

I know. Did the weight of room just come down on all of us? You know I’m a normally happy kinda gal, with lots of chuckles and orneriness, but we can’t avoid the reality that Life can be sometimes, but more importantly, I want to offer you that there are ways to emotionally deal with these situations that won’t come back to haunt you or drive you to eat everything in the house or drink yourself into oblivion. All standard coping mechanisms for when terrible things happen.

Grief is often the emotion that we will feel in these times. So many people died this week due to a senseless act of violence.
Mixed in with some hopelessness. That’s there’s nothing we can do. Mass shootings just feel so hopeless! It’s such a complicated issue, without a single easy answer.
And fear! So much fear. What if this doesn’t get better? What if I’m at an event where a terrorist opens fire? Am I safe anywhere?
Very intense emotions, just from one single occurrence.

And the fact is, we have not been trained to deal with truly terrible things. We’ve been raised to stuff down those terrible emotions. Avoid them. That’s the, “We don’t talk about it, we just pretend it didn’t happen and we move on.”
Or by stuffing them down, which is a different side of the same coin, we typically stuff terrible emotion with food or drink or worse, drugs or self-destructive behavior.

We are now teaching our children to do the same, and there are consequences to avoiding truly awful things or stuffing them down under the surface.

First of all, they will come back up. When you least expect it. Have you ever lashed out at someone weeks or months after a terrible event? I remember after my dad died, it was literally months later, I had an exchange over the course of a few days with a family member that was just awful. I didn’t lash out, per say, but I just was cruel in my communication over a certain matter, in a way that I never am. And it damaged our relationship for a very long time, with this family member of mine.
I remember another family member explaining my behavior from a “She lost her dad this year, give her some leeway.” And I remember thinking, “What does my dad have to do with this!”
Now I know he had a lot to do with it. I was grieving. Hard. I wanted to be okay before I was actually okay and didn’t realize I was stuffing down my grief in the effort to move one.
And grief would shoot out at the most inconvenient times!

Also, those negative feelings linger. That unprocessed grief and hopelessness and fear eventually just turns into uneasiness and anxiety. A generalized not-great feeling that we can never really pinpoint, but contributes to an overall sense of “Life just kinda sucks and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Listen, ladies. That’s a terrible way to go through life. And I know so so so many people who that is their M.O. Life just kinda happens, it’s typically not great, and what are ya gonna do.
Those are those unknown reasons why we just can’t figure out how to stop overeating, no matter what we do. We just can’t get a grasp on our own self-sabotage. And since it’s this generalized uneasiness, it feels too vague to figure out, but it’s there, working under the surface. Like a shadow monster virus that won’t loosen its grip. Stranger Things fans, you are welcome for that little reference! It’s insidious, and it’s hurting the quality of our life and depriving us to feel true Joy.

But here is something I did not know about emotional pain that is huge. HUGE. Are you sitting down? Unprocessed emotional pain can lead to physical pain and illness. So chronic pain, chronic illness. No known cause. It is not uncommon for that to stem from deep-seeded emotional pain that you stuffed down decades ago.
This. Blew. Me. Away.
So a little side story and what I learned about unprocessed emotional pain. Over the summer, I began seeing an energy healer. For true lack of better words, that is not at all what she is and yet, that is what essentially what she does. She is a natural born empath. Her mom knew at 5 years old that she had the gift of feeling people’s energy just by being in the room with them. She is a doctor of chiropractic. She uses applied kinesiology. She uses oils and stones and cold lasers. She gets your body to talk to her, and she can pinpoint injuries, both emotional and physical, to specific times in your life.
She asked me what happened to my hip when I was 23, on my very first visit. Stunned, I recalled a hiking trip the year after I graduated college, where I fell and landed hard into the side of a boulder, badly damaging my hip. The hip, I never connected, that I would develop bursitis in 13 years later.
But on subsequent visits, she found deep emotional pain from events in my childhood. And she released it.
Woah. Daddy.
She said she was going to put the cold laser on my solar plexus during my second visit, as my body was telling her it was ready to release some old grief. And then she politely excused herself from the room.
Because apparently, she knew what was going to happen.
I was overcome. Bawling. Like, breaking in half bawling of intense emotion. The last time I cried like that was the night my dad died.
Oh man. Feeling some emotions swelling right now. That’s good, tho, stick with me, and I’ll tell you why.
She knew. And she came back into the room a few minutes later, and I said…You knew, didn’t you?
She said, “Yeah, pretty much!”
By the way, my doctor, energy healer, emotional pain releaser – whatever you want to call her – is a practitioner of the Woo, but could not be less Woo herself. She’s very down to earth, very practical, very matter of fact, and you would have no idea of the extent of her gifts but just meeting her. She’s seriously the best ever.

So what happened on the table that day? I asked her – what the hell happened, what was that, where did that come from?
And she explained emotional trauma to me in a way that I had heard before but was so clear to me then.
When we experience terrible things, if we do not fully process it at the time, we store it. In our physical body.
She said to imagine that our bodies have a basement area with storage files. I saw it in my mind like our outer layers at the top floors, and our very centers, our core, is the basement. So deep in our basement, we have all these files. Every time something terrible happens and we don’t process it, imagine that our body takes that emotion – that we are avoiding, that we shut out, that we stuff down – and it places it in a manilla envelope and it files it away in a filing cabinet. And there it sits. And we keep adding to those filing cabinets, right? By the time we are an adult, we have a basement full of filing cabinets.
Think of all those times we were told as a child not to get upset.
We don’t need to cry.
Oh, don’t be silly, everything is fine.
All those minor and major things became files in our emotional basement.

No one teaches us to handle crappy emotions as children. In fact, our crappy emotions are often dismissed. Often from well-meaning loved ones!
They don’t want us to feel bad, so turn that frown upside down! Don’t cry! It’s all going to be Okay!
The huge huge problem with that is over the course of our life, about half our experiences will be negative and about half with be positive. Plus or minus, of course!
So if we don’t learn to experience terrible emotion, we end up with a basement full of filing cabinets.
And that emotional pain takes its toll.

That day that she released that deep emotion, I had unexplained physical pain. It didn’t make sense. There was no reason, and the regular doctors were offering to prescribe muscles relaxers, because they couldn’t find a reason, either.
I didn’t need muscle relaxers, though. I needed to let go of deep seeded pain. I didn’t know that walking in, but I walked out of there in no more pain, and that pain hasn’t come back.
And it’s not just pain created by our overflowing emotional basements. Chronic illness has been linked to deep seeded emotional pain. Because our body can only store so much before that basement gets too full and it spills over into the next floors.
It gets in our joints, our bones. It triggers hip pain, knee pain, headaches. And thyroid and blood sugar and autoimmune type illnesses.
If you have ever had an accident or surgery and have scar tissue in your body, the location of that scar tissue is often where we will feel physical pain brought on by untreated emotional pain.
This is one theory behind fibromyalgia, by the way!

Fascinating, right! That right there could be its own episode series!

Okay. So stuffed down terrible emotional can make us chronically physically sick!

I don’t have much in this episode, other than sharing that story of seeing my emotional pain doctor, as to how to treat old emotional pain. That is not my area of expertise, but I think she’d be a great future guest on the show, don’t you? I’ll work on that!
But I did want to take this episode to talk about how we can avoid adding any more manilla files to our emotional storage cabinets!

And it’s what I did this past Monday. I felt truly awful by the week’s events of personal friends struggling and another national tragedy.
So I allowed myself to feel it. Fully.
I basically cried on and off, throughout the day.
I had a few friends who thought I was crazy! I heard them say, “I can’t really deal, so I’m just burying myself in my work!”
I did not. When the emotion got strong, I leaned into it. I know that emotions can’t actually break me, though that’s what it feels like often times, right?
But it can’t. Grief and hopelessness and fear, while intense emotions are still only vibrations or frequencies in the body. Feeling them to their full extent can’t actually harm me physically. And now I know that if I don’t feel them now fully, I will only store them and have them possibly hurt me physically in the future!

When terrible things happen, we always have the choice of leaning into the terrible emotions that those events bring. To let grief come over us in waves, to let fear wash over and surround us. To feel the weight of hopelessness.
To tune into how those emotions feel inside of our bodies – are they fast or slow. Heavy or light? Hard or soft? What color is that emotion?
Feel it fully, even if that brings on tears.
It will be intense but then those emotions will start to subside. It’s the difference between walking through the pain, as opposed to slamming a door on it or turning in the other direction. And your body won’t need to store it in those files because you allowed yourself to feel it fully.

You truly feel better. Short term and long term. All you had to do was allow yourself to fully feel the effects of the truly terrible events.

You can also pair this with some journaling – once you feel the terrible emotion, you start writing about what you are making those things mean and possibly finding that silver lining.
When my dad died, I was devastated. But now I can see I can use this life as inspiration for others. To go get what they want, because life is short.
When I was fired from my director of marketing job when I was 7 months pregnant, I thought the world had been pulled out from under me. How were we going to survive? But now I can see that being forcefully removed from that situation allowed me to eventually pursue building my own business and helping people in a way I never would have been able to if I had worked my way up the ranks for corporate marketing.
This past week’s events, while still raw and I’m still processing those terrible emotions that come with them, I know I will love a little harder, take less for granted, maybe even advocate more for those that cannot advocate for myself.

We must allow ourselves to feel the awful feelings first, but we will get to seeing the lessons much sooner and appreciate the life we have so much sooner when we fully feel.

Are you willing to give that a try?
This week, as part of our action item, think of one the worst emotions you can imagine feeling. One that you truly do anything to avoid. Think about it. Name it.
And then allow yourself to feel it. If only for five minutes. Or maybe 10 minutes? What if you allowed yourself to feel that emotion until it subsided on its own, not by trying to make it go away by stuffing it down under the surface. Not by slamming the door on it, or running the other way. Because it will only rear its ugly head sometime later!

And please share in the comments of the website or as a review on iTunes an example of your negative emotion that you do anything not to feel.
The better we get at this practice, the better we get at experiencing that negative end of the emotional spectrum…and we open ourselves to fully feeling the positive end of that spectrum!

So what did you guys think of my new free download? The Business Woman’s Jump Start to Weight Loss! I had so much fun creating it for you ladies and got nothing but great comments from a few of you last week.
Take the next step and go to AmyLatta.com/quickstart to download the Jump Start.

Alright, my Grown Ass Women! I believe in you. Who do you know that needs to hear this episode? I am serious. Don’t keep this awesomeness to yourself. Share this podcast with other women who need to hear it.
Let them know that there is help, there’s another way, and we are a growing tribe of Grown Ass Women who have their back.

Alright, you have been listening to Business Women Losing Weight with life and weight coach Amy Latta. And until Next Week…let’s go do Epic Stuff.

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About Amy Latta

Amy Latta is a life coach helping female entrepreneurs lose weight. Some entrepreneurs struggle with not enough time and not enough energy, and are so laser focused on growing their businesses, they sacrifice their health - not realizing their personal health is imperative to the health of their business. Women hire Amy to help them get an extra hour or two back in their day while figureing out why they don't do what they say they're going to do. The result being more time, more energy, and weight loss. When she's not building her own business, you can usually find Amy on her yoga mat or experimenting in the kitchen. When in doubt, bring her guacamole.

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