Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection

Using Emotional Connection, writer Raphael Cushnir rewires your brain.

Posted January 7, 2009

Welcome to my blog, Emotional Connection!

I"m delighted that the blog premieres on Psychology Today simply as my book on the exact same subject, The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection, hits the stores.

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With that it mind, I"d choose to begin by describing Emotional Connection, how it works, and why it"s necessary in acquiring ourselves unstuck and functioning at our optimal state of performance and well being.

Recently, in preparation for the book, I discussed all that in an intersee. Here it is listed below. Thanks for taking a look. I"m excited to create a dialogue through you on this subject, and would therefore heartily welcome all your inquiries and also comments.


Q: Why is discovering about emotional link so important?

RC: Many of us grow up without ever learning what an emovement is, exactly how to honor it, or just how to feel it efficiently. In fact, we acquire harmful messeras to the contrary around "counting to ten" and also bottling up our powerful feelings.

The truth around emovements is pretty straightforward. They"re messages from the brain that are delivered in the body. To receive these messages we must feel them wbelow they aincrease.

If we"re lonely, for instance, the message could present up as a stab in the heart, a tug in the stomach, a welling behind the eyes, or all three. Counterintuitive as it might seem, to feel a painful eactivity totally, at the site of its delivery, is the best way to aid it diminish. Not feeling the emovement, on the other hand also, reasons it to thrive more powerful, remain longer, and mess up our resides in many methods.Q: Often the message an emotion sends is unuseful or just ordinary wrong - like buy this! or be afraid of that! If I pausage to feel such emovements completely, aren"t I simply encouraging them?

RC: No, the opposite is true. To feel an emotion you need to come to be conscious of it. With that awareness you"re best able to assess its validity. Without it, you"re just able to respond to the emovement unconsciously.

Let"s say you"re afrassist of intimacy in romantic relationships. You can not make yourself unafraid by trying not to be. But letting yourself endure the fear will certainly disclose its beginnings from the past. You"ll then have the ability to address and heal those earlier events. In the process you"ll literally recalibrate your emotional response. You"ll come to be much less fearful going forward, and also only as soon as correct.

Q: You say that the one point holding us ago from our biggest feasible success and well being is resistance to emovement. How so?

RC: Whenever before you"re not willing to feel an emotion, your options and behaviors stem from your avoidance of that emovement. Your resistance then runs your life, and is directly contrary to your all at once finest interemainder.

Take the situation of a guy who"s unable to feel inferior. This resistance is most likely to make him allergic to criticism. He"ll go out of his way to stop criticism, or to deflect it, and will therefore deny himself the chance to hear perhaps crucial feedago.Q: If avoiding eactivities is so detrimental, why carry out we do it?

RC: Thturbulent a glitch in advancement, our brains are wired to perceive challenging emotions as life threatening. We respond the same method to loneliness, for instance, as to footmeasures in a dark alley.

But eactivities are inside of us, so we can not actually run ameans from them. All we can carry out, therefore, is attempt to stuff them down or numb ourselves to their affects. In doing so we"ll use anything at our disposal - alcohol, cigarettes, porn, gambling, TV, the Web, shopping, Chunky Monkey. Emotional suppression is a trillion dollar industry with many tentacles reaching deep into eincredibly edge of our culture.

In reality, yet, it"s not really the substances and also activities to which we"re addicted. What we"re addicted to, at our core, is emotional resistance.

Q: Which eactivities perform civilization most commonly resist?

RC: In the book I list thirty-3 generally resisted emovements. These emovements aren"t just the usual suspects like anger or hurt. They also incorporate even more certain emovements favor jealousy or absence.

Resistance to jealousy, for instance, leads to controlling habits in relationships. We think that jealousy itself is the source of such behavior once in reality it"s the resistance. A perchild that is able to suffer jealousy straight, physically, loses all must control.

Resistance to absence, also, leads to hasty and also unwise spending. A perchild that have the right to toleprice the visceral sensation of not having enough is able to remain patient, and discerning, once presented via feasible purchases.

Q: So just how do we resolve this glitch in development, release our habitual resistance, and begin connecting to our emotions directly?

RC: The antidote to emotional resistance is acceptance. This indicates finding out to accept your eactivities, in your body, as quickly as they aclimb. This acceptance is not mental or theoretical - it"s a helpful skill.

I speak to this ability surfing. With internal surfing, your attention is the surfer, and the emotion is the wave. Here"s how it works. Suppose someone rejects you. Your initial inclicountry is to drown your sorrows. Instead, you find the raw sensation of rejection in your body. Then, you reprimary attentive to that sensation as it moves and also shifts. In the process you ride it out. Soon, a lot sooner than you"d imagine, this leaves you cleansed, refremelted, and also truly over it.

Q: Aren"t you making this sound a lot less complicated than it is?

RC: No, it really is that simple. But not basic. Often, temporarily, the wave is excruciating. It takes the majority of practice not to bail. After conveniently acquiring to "shore" a couple of times, but, your incentive grows greatly.

Another difficulty is that surfing frequently brings up all kinds of distracting thoughts. In the above instance, while surfing, you might at the same time alert thoughts favor, "No wonder I got rejected - I"m a complete loser." Or, "I"m better off by myself." Or, "What have to I have for dinner?"

Dealing through such thoughts calls for noticing them dispassionately, like clouds in the sky, while doing your ideal to remajor on the wave or recording the incredibly following one if you "wipe out."

To be clear, surfing an emotion does not intend you have to provide credence to the thoughts connected through it. In various other words, feeling favor a loser for a couple of minutes does not intend you ever before need to think that you truly are one.

Q: Besides feeling much better as quickly as feasible, are tright here extra benefits to the process of emotional connection?

RC: Whenever we properly surf an eactivity, we also begin to clear ourselves of its backlog.

Staying with the instance of rejection, the level of its sting is linked to just how much formerly unfelt rejection we presently have actually on board. With enough surfing it"s inevitably feasible, believe it or not, to endure serious rejection via fairly little bit upcollection.

Q: Doesn"t this additionally have something to perform via negative patterns?

RC: Negative trends are resulted in by stored-up, resisted emovements. They are the way stood up to eactivities attempt to acquire our attention, so that we"ll ultimately feel them.

If you"re transferring roughly the majority of bottled up rejection, to complete our instance, you"ll actually attract human being right into your life that are bound to disapprove you. The good news is that as soon as you surf your means cost-free of that rejection, the pattern loses its power.

Q: What are the greatest stumbling blocks world enrespond to once trying to release their emotional resistance and also start feeling successfully?

·Analyzing - an attempt to figure our means out of an emotion"What"s going on? Why am I feeling so anxious?"

·Judging - a decision that something"s wrong through the emovement, or via us for having actually it"This guilt is also a lot. I shouldn"t let him acquire to me."

·Assessing - too much emphasis on just how well or poorly we"re connecting"I"m not feeling much of anypoint. Am I doing this right?"

·Bargetting - problems inserted on exactly how lengthy or exactly how deeply we"re willing to feel"I"ll feel this grief fully this day, yet it better not show up aget tomorrow."

Whenever these stumbling blocks take place, the solution is sindicate to notice them with equanimity and also resume surfing as soon as feasible.

Q: When human being are falling short of their desires and also purposes and can not tell which emotions they"re resisting, what are they intended to do?

RC: A substantial percentage of the book is devoted to answering this question. The fundamental steps are:

1) Find the Flinch - Identify the element of moving towards your vision that reasons you to pull up short

2) Cut to the Chase - Examine the "worst-case scenario" in going forward and also recognize just how that outcome would certainly make you feel

3) Weather the Storm - Imagine that outcome as a truth, and then connect via the entire variety of eactivities that aincrease.

4) Repeat As Necessary - Apply the same course of activity if and once you acquire stuck aget in pursuit of your goal, about the very same emotions from prior to or any type of brand-new ones that might aclimb.

Let"s view this in action. A client of mine constantly wanted to create yet never acquired about to it. His flinch emerged eexceptionally time he walked previous his waiting computer system. His worst-instance scenario was creating somepoint that his most loved and respected friends assumed was pure drek. He realized this would certainly make him feel prefer an abject faitempt.

Together, we imagined that he created a entirety novel, was super excited around it, and also offered it to his friends who were promptly horrified. They hated the book vehemently and also ridiculed him for creating it.

His emotional response to this imaginary instance was an overwhelming wave of shame. I guided him to continue to be on the wave through many type of challenges and distractions, and also after a few minutes it abated.

"Well," he told me, "that really wasn"t so negative. I type of feel choose, "Oh, well, at least I tried. That"s better than never writing anything."

This procedure revealed to my client that the one point holding him ago had actually been his resistance to shame. Repeated a couple of more times, it released his resistance virtually completely. Now, through nopoint holding him earlier, he writes at leastern thirty minutes a day. Q: You maintain that emotional resistance is likewise a wellness hazard. In what way?

RC: Our eactivities desire and need to be felt. The harder and much longer we save them locked within, the even more they struggle to get out. One outcome of this battle is stress, which is prstove to be a leading cause of significant condition. Another outcome is the depletion of our life energy, which conveniently transforms right into depression.

Q: You likewise tout emotional link as an effective method to finish addictions and also compulsions. Can you describe just how that works?

RC: All addictions and also compulsions, as I pointed out earlier, are really about resisting eactivities. Once we attach via those emotions, addictions and also compulsions shed both their purpose and also power.

If you"re unwilling to feel disappointment, for circumstances, you might flop on the couch eextremely week, eat popcorn, watch Amerihave the right to Idol and snicker at all the contestants. But when you become willing to endure disappointment, both old and also new, you could actually sign up for the Open Mike Night at your local pub.

Or if you"re unwilling to feel distrust, you could inspect your spouse"s email over and also over. You could even be persuaded that you"re doing this precisely bereason you distrust. But when you come to be willing to feel your distrust straight, your need for hyper vigilance would cease. Instead, you can then choose to talk openly with your spouse about the feeling. Or, if your spousage truly is unreliable, you might ultimately have the ability to relocate onto a much more healthy relationship.

Q: In Chapter Two, you say that guys require emotional link even more than women. But many men do not prefer anything remotely "touchy feely." So how execute you get about that?

RC: Men in our society have been conditioned to believe that connecting to emotions is a sign of weakness. Yet this is a losing strategy, because wherever before emotions are disparaged or denied, they run the show also more forcetotally from behind the scenes.

Consider the people of corporate monitoring. A manager who won"t permit himself to feel stupid will frequently feign expertise and also make deals that are indeed stupid. A manager who"s resistant to boredom will certainly regularly gloss over lengthy reports and remain ignorant of critical indevelopment.

Learning to spot such emotional resistance in others gives a unique competitive edge. Learning to spot and also release it within oneself is even even more powerful. Plus, one"s very own emotional connection calls for no external expression and therefore no one else needs to know about it. Men love that!

Q: You attract a big distinction in between emotional link and having an emotional orientation. What"s the difference?

RC: Many type of human being talk, create, and also obsess about their eactivities without ever before actually feeling them. On the surface these world seem emotion-friendly, but in reality they"re as resistant as the biggest stoic.

Consider two friends who go over every detail of a current slight they freshly withstood. Instead of surfing whatever anger and hurt is current, and also resolving the annoyance in just a couple of minutes, they extend it through lengthy conversation around the eactivities. All the while, the emovements themselves are left unattended, unfelt, and also festering.

It"s likewise worth mentioning that many type of counselors and also therapists permit such habits. They might continuously ask variations of the famous question, "And just how does that make you feel?" without ever offering the time, area, and also instruction necessary for the clients to actually attach with those emotions.

Such therapists aren"t trained to feel emovements directly themselves, and also therefore can not sell the ability to their clients. Ask potential therapists to explain exactly what if means to feel eactivities straight. The quality of their answer will be a great indicator of your future therapeutic success.

Q: Your pointer to "Feel initially, think later" appears favor the exact opposite of what parents, bosses, and the world in its entirety suppose of us. How can we probably attribute well if we"re constantly preventing to pay attention to our emotions?

RC: To be specific, my advice is not to act out or somejust how end up being victims to our emotions at any type of allude. Let"s use anger as an instance. Acting out anger could intend yelling, which is rarely useful. Becoming a victim to anger could mean fixating upon it, and stoking it, rather than just surfing it out of your device easily.

What I"m arguing is sindicate to acknowledge and also connect through your emovements prior to addressing any type of important problem. Here"s the reason: When you attempt to think your means out of a difficulty prior to feeling the eactivities currently occurred within you in regard to that difficulty, your thoughts can not be trusted.

You can, for instance, resist the feeling of hatred for another perchild bereason you"ve been taught that it"s wrong. But feelings are never best or wrong; they just are. So the first whiff of hate can kick up a believed choose, "I shouldn"t feel that method about him. He does not know any much better."

Such a statement might be true, and also seem beneficial, yet coming prior to emotional link it would certainly really be a sophisticated attempt to shield you from the hate. If you left it at that and also relocated on, an unsurfed wave of hatred would certainly remain to wreak havoc in your core.

Remember: feelings that aincrease in your body continue to be in your body unless and until you"re willing to feel them.

Q: Doesn"t your concept of feeling all eactivities, also negative ones prefer jealously and also resentment, comparison through the message of The Secret? Wasn"t that idea to remain focused on the positive?

RC: The perspective put forth in "The Secret" and similar books is that we must uplift "negative" emotions into even more positive says or else we"ll tempt even more negativity. What I"m saying is that all emotions are valid and also should be felt, in order to get their message and allow them to depart. The only method to change from an unfavorable emotional state to an extra expansive one is to feel your method via it. No type of will certainly power or self-talk will certainly ever before take the area of straightforward, straightforward feeling.

That shelp, concentrating on the positive is a great exercise, as lengthy as doesn"t mask simultaneous resistance or rotate into a sanctioned way of maintaining it.

Q: What"s the link between your technique and also Freud"s "repetition compulsion?"

RC: Freud theorized that as adults we recreate traumatic experiences from childhood as a way of mastering them once and for all. He wasn"t so certain on exactly how that mastery takes area, but, and a lot of of us deserve to attest that sindicate repeating traumatic experiences without ever before finding out from them does not obtain us everywhere.

My occupational via clients has actually presented me over and also over that emotional link is not just a rapid and also effective means to grasp (or heal) previous trauma. In fact, it"s the only way.

Q: How does emotional resistance pertain to our present economic crisis?

RC: Our present financial crisis, at root, is an emotional difficulty. Clearly on, we have been seduced into living past our suggests for means also long. But what made us so susceptible? The answer is our resistance the feeling of absence that I described earlier. We"ve shed the ability to desire points without being able to have them.

If we proceed to resist the eactivity of absence collectively, any financial solve will prove to be short-lived and unsustainable. Learning to surf our absence, on the other hand, will certainly enable us to check out the future clearly and to act wisely.

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Here"s a little however generally applicable instance. I desire a brand-new auto. My old one is dented and also dirty and does not have any of the cool stuff favor GPS. I watch many commercials for brand-new models with all the bells and whistles. I cringe inside at being left behind, and also start wondering if I might find a way to afford the higher payments.

But then I capture myself - I"ve been reasoning before feeling - and notice the tightness in my chest. I surf it for a few moments and also it becomes a huge wave of lack. I feel favor stomping my feet, throwing a huge fit. "Gimme! Gimme!" I surf this tantrum for one more few moments, watching many memories of equivalent deprivations and also tantrums float by.

Over time, the storm inside me begins to work out. The absence is gone. In its wake I can quickly identify many kind of factors why a brand-new vehicle, right now, isn"t in my finest interest. And better yet, I"m at tranquility with it.

Q: If a sustainable future indicates I won"t gain to have actually what I desire, what"ll be left?

In a sustainable future you"ll still have the ability to have numerous things you want. But more vital, you"ll additionally be able to identify and let go of those wants that are part of the addictive cycle. Freed from that cycle, you"ll have actually more time and energy for what really matters - relationships with loved ones, coherent job-related, and the abiding joy that only comes from a life of passionate emotional connection.


Raphael Cushnir (author of The One Thing Holding You Back) is a leader in the civilization of emotional intelligence and also current minute awareness, supplying lectures and also seminars worldwide.




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