Feelings are Clues (under fire, part 3)
Step into your sacred PEW (Under Fire Part
I’ve been talking about how to successfully manage yourself when you are under fire. This is a 4-part series. In week one, I explained how to empathize, disarm and negotiate. Last week, I taught you how to notice and evaluate your thoughts, so that they are realistic and helpful to you. This week I want you to pay attention to your emotions.
You are in the middle of a disagreement and you can start feel yourself getting frustrated. It is very likely that right then is the moment it goes from a disagreement to a fight.
Take a breath
Stepping into your sacred PEW is a technique that I came up with. It can help you keep things from escalating. It is a skill that you can stop and use at any time to regroup and get hold of yourself, to calm things down and help you move forward in a positive way. I call it stepping into your sacred PEW for 2 reasons. The first is that it is an acronym. PEW stands for Physical, Emotional and Want. The second is because I do think of it as a sacred process, in which you honor and respect the things that are important to you.
Look for the clues
You see, when we any time we get upset or feel off, we get clues in the way of physical feelings, emotions and wants. Sometimes, we push them down and sometimes we get controlled by them. But, rarely, are we kind, honoring and respectful of them. That is where the magic happens. Because these clues are sacred. They are part of us, part of what makes us who we are. These clues give us information that we can only get by paying attention to them. We can’t get that information anywhere else. It’s important information about what to do next, how to make big decisions, how to move forward, and how to become even better versions of ourselves. So, I want you to start paying attention, this week and every week.
Here’s what I want you to do. The next time you feel off, feel not quite right, frustrated irritated, or downright angry, I want you to take a step back. Maybe you are arguing about something, chores, parenting, sex, money. It could be anything. Take a moment to see what’s going on with you. Start with the physical. What do you feel? Where do you feel it? Notice your head, neck arms, legs and belly. Do you feel a tension? Pain? Heaviness? Is this something you frequently feel? When do you feel it? Does it remind you of any other times you have felt it? Is there a story behind that feeling? Now I would like you to notice your emotions.
What are you feeling? If it is anger, that’s fine, but I also want you to wonder what else could be under there. Often anger hides other, even scarier, emotions that may be underneath.
Finally, look at the want. What is it that you want? Really want.
Here’s an example-
Cheryl became furious when Pete refused to help her hang a picture. Hours of fighting ensued. “I don’t understand why you won’t help me. I would have helped you if you asked me for help.” “I just didn’t think it needed to be done right then. How come you get to decide when we do something?” I asked them to step into their sacred pews. Cheryl felt it in her chest and face. She felt tears coming. “I’m angry.” “OK, but what else? What might be under that?” “I’m sad.” “Anything else?” “I guess I’m scared.” “What do you think you want?” “I think I want to know that I can count on him. If he can’t help me hang a picture, will he be there to help me with the bigger stuff?” Pete said he felt it in his legs like he wanted to run away. “I feel sad.” “What do you think you want?” “I guess I just want her to think I am a good person. I feel like I am always disappointing her.”Those were issues we could deal with. But without taking a moment to step into the pews, they would’ve have just kept defending themselves and attacking each other. So, try it. Step into your sacred PEW. Notice your Physical sensations, Emotions, and Wants. Let me know how it goes.