How to Break Out of Emotional Jail

Are you in emotional jail? Do you feel trapped by “shoulds?” Are you still trying to be the obedient son or daughter so you will fit in?

We create our own boundaries with limiting thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. We build walls around ourselves that are so high we cannot see possibilities.

Are you ready to reclaim your true self?

How did you create this jail?

According to therapist, Virginia Satir, you started building your jail in childhood. You had to be obedient and conform so that your parents would love you. Satir tells us that “…whatever pain we had to endure to continue life, we took inside, believing that this was how life was and thus began building the walls to our emotional jail.”

As children we have little experience of the world and we are unsure of our true nature. What people tell us becomes more important than what we believe.

How do we keep these limitations in place?

The guard in our jail is fear. We fear that we are not good enough, that people won’t love us, that we won’t fit in.

These fears keep us trapped. When we believe that our jailers are on the outside, we try to get others to like us, never realizing that we do not love ourselves enough. We end up feeling helpless.

What can we do?

Unless we release the past we will take our limitations into the future. When we let go of the known, we face fear of the unknown. There is no map, but there are signposts telling us where to go.

Satir tells us “Maybe the kindest things we can do for ourselves at the moment is to take a look at everything we believe and ask ourselves if it really fits or is it something we were told should fit.”

Examining your entire life is a tall order and most of you will give up before you even get started.

An easy exercise

Let’s take a look at one important part of your life: your energy. What gives you energy? What saps your energy?

Here are some examples of emotional states that increase energy: hopeful, powerful, possibilities, change and choice. Here are some examples that sap your energy: hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, no possibility, no change, no choice.

Make a list of emotions and qualities that increase your energy. Make another list of emotions and qualities that sap your energy. What signposts do you notice? Where are your limitations?

You can change limiting emotions

Using the poetry of emotions process, you can release limiting emotions and beliefs. As you release these, you will be reclaiming your true emotions.

Thanks to Virginia Satir for giving me the idea for this blog post You can read more about your emotional jail in her book, Your Many Faces: The First Step to Being Loved.

To read out more…
(Image: Squiggle @ Flickr

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