What Can You Learn From Painful Emotions?

What Can You Learn From Painful Emotions?

Do you ever feel like your emotions “run the show”?

You’re out at coffee with a friend and everyone around you is laughing.  They all look so happy.

Your friend is telling you about some award her kid won and the amazing trip she is going on with her husband.

The smile stays pasted on your face, but you’ve stopped listening.  You’re lost in thought, wondering why your own life is so hard.  You’re trying to figure out how everyone else has it all together.

You start mentally making a list of the ways you are failing and how you are not measuring up.

You feel so inadequate. Your self-esteem is at an all-time low. 


When you get home, what do you do?  

a) Get frustrated with your kids because they are watching TV and the house has exploded into a chaotic mess of blankets, cushion forts and crumbs scattered across the floor during your absence.

b) Hide in your room so you can continue to “talk to yourself” about what a failure you are.

c) Spend 3 hours on Pinterest, pinning everything from a new wardrobe to new paint colours and throw pillows for the living room.

d) Scarf down a bag of chips.

e) Decide you need to ditch that friend and never speak to her again; how could she be so insensitive?  Why would she tell you those things when she knows how hard it’s been for you lately.

So, what’s your ‘go to’ when you’re feel out of balance emotionally and your self-esteem has taken a hit?

Whether you are aware of it or not, most of us have a default ‘fix’ that we run to when our feelings begin to spin out of control. 




Numbing out.


It can feel sometimes as as though we are helpless in face our our feelings… as though our feelings can somehow cause our behaviour. But here’s the truth….

We develop bad habits and unhelpful ways of dealing with our feelings, but thankfully, our feelings never have the final say.


Artwork by Rachel Habermehl Art

Your feelings… my feelings… they can be so intense.   It seems as though we have to respond to them… like we have to do something with them or about them.

But we don’t.

Here’s the good news, we can learn how to be informed by our feelings, not run by them. We can get out of the vicious circle of responding to our emotions with behaviour that isn’t helpful.  We CAN find freedom from those things we get sucked into doing that move us further and further away from the life we’d like to be living. Instead we can learn to allow our feelings to inform us rather than direct us.

It can feel hard to admit to ourselves that we need to make some changes in our life.  We become so used to controlling how we feel, that it’s hard to imagine it any other way.  The ways we habitually respond to our emotions can feel comforting in the moment, even though they may be harmful in the long run. We become dependant on the ‘fix’ and so even when we recognize how unhelpful our coping strategies are,  it’s still scary to try to leave them behind.

Fortunately, your feelings don’t get to determine the outcome. You CAN change what you do when you experience powerful and painful emotions. 

Are you ready to get started? Here’s how.  Check out this worksheet and honestly evaluate what you do with your feelings.

You can’t (and shouldn’t) stop yourself from having feelings, but what you do with them matters.

If after checking out this worksheet, you realize you’d like to talk to someone about how to work through big emotions when they come up, let’s connect.  You can book a session at or call Stephanie at (902) 702-7722 to book an appointment. You can also read more about the therapy I provide for women who are struggling with their self-esteem.

ps. Know someone who feels like they are being run by their emotions?  Use the link below to forward this on to them.


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