Home » Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings by Dr Joan Rosenberg at TEDxSantaBarbara (Transcript)

Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings by Dr Joan Rosenberg at TEDxSantaBarbara (Transcript)

What unpleasant feelings might you be moving away from? What might be holding you back? Stop and notice where you might experience it in your body. And – And if there’s a time where you ever said to yourself, “I never want to experience that again,” it’s probably some of those – Those feelings are ones to move towards, to start to embrace. For me, it was involved with that gut-punch. Embarrassment was really difficult. So was disappointment, and so was vulnerability.

But let’s get to the solution. The solution has to do with riding the wave. Remember that biochemical rush I mentioned a few moments ago? That biochemical rush we can think of as a wave, and, when that wave gets fired off in the body, it lasts roughly 60 to 90 seconds, which means feelings are temporary. So, from the time it gets fired off in the brain and it goes through our blood stream and then dissipates: 60 to 90 seconds. You can handle 60 to 90 seconds, right? Heck! That’s less than half a song! All of us can do that.

And if you think of a beach – Let me draw a parallel: If you think of a beach, then, as you walk along that shoreline, what you’ll notice is that the waves can come up to tumultuously, they can come up moderately, they can come up mildly. And, if we’re walking along that shoreline, we’ll notice that the waves seem to just hang and linger for a moment, before they subside. And you know what? That’s also true for our feelings. They can come up tumultuously, moderately, mildly, and they seem to linger or hang for a moment, and then, they always subside. That’s the beauty of it. “Always subside” Is it one wave? No, it’s not. It’s more than one wave.

Any time we think about the same memory, it’s going to fire off that same approximate wave. And grief? Grief is waves of waves, the feelings of anger, and sadness, and disappointment kind of all mixed together. Anybody who’s experienced a significant loss knows this. Those waves can come up so tumultuously and unexpectedly or spontaneously, and it’s like we’re just kind of left with them, and they will always subside. So, the thing again here for you to do is to stay present to the experience, surf those ninety-second waves, surf them any way you want, and just let them ride out their course. In the moment, you’ll feel centered, you’ll feel calm and you’ll feel relief. Insights will follow.

And, with consistent practice, you may even be able to unhook from old-life stories. I have been the joyful recipient of countless stories of individuals who have mended relationships, who have engaged in courageous conversations, who have pursued goals that they wanted to pursue. And the most important one I think is when people come back and tell me that they feel so much more comfortable in their own skin. That’s the benefit I thought when I was called boring was a low moment in my life.

It turns out that moment shifted me, and it’s enabled me to shift countless thousands of lives. So, the next time you experience unpleasant feelings, embrace them, join me in the excitement, know that they are the path back to you being more fully you. Stay present. Stay fully present. Experience them.

Surf those waves. It won’t take years. It won’t even take a day. In fact, it will take just a moment. Start right now.

Thank you.

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