July 21, 2013 ~ Ouch!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 ~ “Ouch!” (as a cue)

Last week, we discussed setting boundaries:


In order to do so, it requires that we first recognize when/why it may be crucial that a boundary be set.  Often easier said than done.  Being sufficiently attuned, enough to notice when something hurts, is a critical first step (sometimes the sting, of a particular encounter, has a bit of delayed reaction to it, and all that we sense is a freezing sensation in the moment).

Thus acknowledging when something smarts, when words have ‘landed’ in a way that is painful — even if just to oneself and especially in the moment — sometimes necessitates a kind of cultivated mindfulness  (or emotive/proprioceptive attunement).

We’ll practice pausing simply to notice when an emotion –i.e. energy in motion — is alerting us to our values/needs (seeking that something be attended to)…

Borrowing from Chris Johnstone | A specialist in the psychology of resilience, when he writes about the ten bounce-back principles (in his book “Find Your Power:  A Tool for Resiliency and Positive Change“) and notes “when it hurts say ‘ouch'”:

“Disappointments and setbacks occur when reality works out differently from how you’d like it to.  When this happens, it often hurts.  That pain tells you that what you were hoping for was important to you.  It also alerts you to the fact that your expectations were inaccurate.  Just as you might come out in a physical bruise when you have a bad knock, when it hurts after a big disappointment it is useful to think of yourself as having an emotional bruise.  You grieve for the loss of how you would like things to have been.  This grieving is part of how you adjust to a new reality.  If you were to fall and break your leg, it would hurt a lot.  That pain tells you there’s an injury that needs your attention.  If you didn’t feel the pain, you might continue walking on the leg in a way that did further damage or prevented it healing properly.  When you have an injury, you need recovery time in order to restore normal function.  It is the same with emotional bruising and psychological injuries.  When you feel pain, ask yourself: ‘What do I need in order to promote recovery?’  What we’re looking at here is what will help you get back on your feet again after a fall.  If it is painful, you may need some recovery time to recharge before facing the next challenge.  But just like a baby learning to walk, don’t let the falls put you off.”

Beneath are Chris Johnstone’s additional bounce-back principles:

  • When it hurts say ‘ouch’
  • See failure as an inevitable part of life
  • The way to succeed is to double your failure rate
  • Turn a minus into a plus
  • Forgiveness
  • Use the dream cycle
  • Learn to change your state
  • I can’t, we can
  • Trust in something larger than yourself

Another insightful (in this case, NVC ) resource, along these lines?

Miki Kashtan’s Core Commitments — beginning with the opening two:

Commitment #1: Openness to Myself

Even when I act in ways I really don’t like, I want to keep my heart open to myself. If I find myself in self-judgment, I want to seek support to reconnect with myself.

Review Commitment 1

Practice: Pick an action of yours that you don’t like and reflect on the needs that gave rise to that action, independently of the results, meditating on the needs, as it were. Bring your attention back to gently accepting and embracing the needs that led to the action whenever you drift into focusing on what didn’t work, on judging the need, or on fighting the desire. Grant yourself the freedom to want what you want. If, for example, you yell at your children, you can open yourself to the intensity of trying to navigate challenging moments, embrace the deep wish for flow, for cooperation around tasks, respect, or whatever it is that would lead you to yell at your children, and allow yourself to experience in full the depth of these longings.

Commitment #2: Openness to the Full Emotional Range

Even when my feelings are uncomfortable for me, I want to stay present with myself and keep my heart open to the fullness of my emotional experience. If I find myself shrinking away from my experience, getting numb or shut down, I want to seek support to release defendedness and open to what is.

Review Commitment 2


1) Explore the feelings list to acquaint yourself with a rich palette of possibilities, then pick a few to engage with: which emotions are easy for you to be open to? Which ones do you get so immersed in that you lose choice? Which ones do you resist and move away from?

2) Review your day or week and note moments in which you contracted away from an emotion and as a result didn’t respond in the way you would most wish. Imagine the incident again, pause when you reach the emotion, and take a few deliberate breaths with the intention of remaining open to that particular emotion. Do this a few times until you feel some release and opening.

See also:

Commitment #5: Self-Care 

Young Woman Thinking

SELF-CARE: Even when I am stressed, overwhelmed, or in disconnection, I want to maintain my commitments to my well-being, and take actions that nourish my life. If I find myself letting go of strategies that I know contribute to my life (such as exercise, eating as I want, receiving support and empathy as needed, enjoyable activities, or anything else that I know works for me), I want to seek support to ground myself in the preciousness of my own life and my desire to nurture myself.


This entry was posted in Practice Resources - Kashtan, Resilience, Self-Connection/Meditation, What's Up Next? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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