How dealing with painful emotions led me to becoming a coach and being in a relationship

I was single for ten years. Looking and longing for a guy — and from some point on the journey for my so-called true self. Both seemed far away. A lot of emotional work between me now and the happy, authentic version of me and who knows what between me and the man. I then decided to become a coach — and there she was: my authentic self, playing full out.

One week later he found me.

Summed up in a nutshell the beginning of my journey as a coach sounds like the perfect start for a self-help book or even a testimonial for my coaching school, iPEC. And maybe it is. But the story of course was way more complex, started earlier, and got dirty.

This is what happened in a broader nutshell:

After an incredibly painful heartbreak and several years of dating guys that were emotionally disconnected from me and probably themselves (I see that now, in those years I thought they were just mean assholes and that there are no good guys out there… Paha…) I was sitting on some mountain in New Zealand. Crying. The last guy had just hurt me pretty bad and I was somehow on the quest to find myself, not really sure what to do now. So I’m sitting there on this mountain. It gets dark. Every bone in my body hurts and I know I have to climb down anyhow. It starts raining and I feel incredibly alone. And somewhere inside somehow peaceful. This is where it struck me: all of this pain must have something to do with me. I am the one inviting all of these disconnected humans into my life. Probably for a reason. I am responsible. And if I am responsible, it is in my hands to change it. “It” being feeling hurt all the time and who I attract into my life.

I had already heard of the idea of Law of Attraction. In this moment I started to understand it. I began to consciously work with and on myself. Started looking into the reasons for my single-status. Started to ask what was blocking me from attracting him. And if I really wanted a relationship (or in reality was shit scared to really open up my heart and get hurt again). I didn’t realize that I started coaching myself there on this trip. But I did.

What to do with all this fear?

I only understood when I found myself in the relationship and since I work through the stuff that comes up with it. I had made the emotional space for him after this trip. And – finally – with starting the coaching journey, let go of the painful longing. I still wanted the relationship, but for the first time in years I was truly happy. With myself. With where and who I was and what I was doing. And then it happened pretty quick. Only one week after I let go of the need to find him, he found me (he had only decided the night before that he was ready to find me).

A part of me felt that he would come into my life at some point. I guess I knew that I had to do some work on myself to let him in. But who came was so much more than I could have dreamt of. This man looks right through all the beautifully strong and independent looking masks, all the pain-preventing walls I had created over the years. He sees me. The true authentic me. The girl and the woman with all my vulnerability and fierceness, all my sensitivity and intensity, all the scars, quirks, flaws and whatnot.

There he was. And I understood my first ideal client: Me. Before him. The independent girl, trying to fulfill her life dreams, finding her purpose. The single girl who knows deep inside that she is meant to find him, but has to work through blockages first. The girl that wants to understand that she has to look and love inside. Not only to find him, but because everything and everyone is always a reflection of herself and her inner world.

When he came into my life I thought I had it all or almost all figured out. Boy was I wrong. Being with him brings up emotions I had not only almost forgotten, I had not so carefully pressed them down so they came out screaming and crying the second I realized I loved him. Fear. All kinds of fearful angry gremlins attacked me from all sites. Whispering and screaming “You are not good enough” and “You will lose him” in all kinds of versions. So much fear. So much pain.

So what to do with all that fear and pain? My default (or fight or flight instinct) is running away or distracting myself from it. That seems to help in the moment, the painful feeling goes away or at least lessens. But it always comes back, one way or another. Not the same story, but the uncomfortable feeling is always familiar. Why? Because it is the same feeling. And it wants to be looked at and accepted. Once I understood this about emotions, I slowly started doing what I was most afraid of. I looked at the fear and the pain behind the fear. Sat with it. Allowed it to override me.

I don’t know if you can relate, but for me the biggest fear of actually allowing painful feelings in, was to go crazy, to lose my mind. Them being too much. That feeling them would shatter me into pieces I couldn’t manage to put back together. If that is your fear too, here’s a little easing wisdom nugget that I found out: You are not going crazy, you are not going to die. Yes, it might feel crazy overwhelming. But that’s it. And it gets better, every time you practice. Allowing your feelings is only gonna help – living the life you want to live and being the person you want to be. 

With understanding that and learning about triggers, shame and suppressed emotions, I can now honestly look at fear. And allow it. Maybe not all the time. Definitely not. But every time a little more. I have a coach helping me with it when I need help, while being my own coach and my own client all the time. And I believe always will be as life goes on. I’m getting closer and closer to my ideal of awareness, vulnerability and compassion. Or strong back, soft front and wild heart, as Brené Brown says*. Getting there. And getting comfortable with the imperfection of not being there yet. 

If you want to know more about the whole feel-your-fear-and-pain-idea or want some help working with it, please feel free to contact me

This article was also published on oneideaaway.com.

* Brené Brown in: Braving the Wilderness

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