Understand Your Emotional Blueprint
After a lifetime of conflict with his father, 45-year-old Cal came into therapy to understand and hopefully resolve their relationship. Even though he wanted to change, Cal found himself reacting like a young child as soon as he felt triggered by something his dad said. For several sessions, we looked at Cal’s early family history, his emotional patterns, and how he played them out with his dad.
With this greater understanding of himself, Cal called his father to arrange a time to talk. Careful to ask for his dad’s permission, they recorded their interaction using Cal’s smartphone. As usual, the conversation became heated. Using the tools we worked on in the session, Cal did his best to keep his cool but reported that his old themes were creating a storm inside his head.
In his mind, he was racing with thoughts like “he doesn’t listen to me,” “this is hopeless,” and “he’ll never understand.” Once Cal had calmed and soothed himself, he played back the recording. To his astonishment, he heard his father doing his best to hear what Cal was saying. It was a completely different conversation from what Cal remembers. This experience was a further insight into Cal that his early childhood experiences created his emotional blueprint, and that’s what kept playing out in his adult life.
Take Charge of Your Emotions: Identify, Interrupt, Contain, Calm and Soothe, Repair
Through his work in therapy, Cal practiced taking charge of his emotional state by following these steps:
- Identify the emotional patterns that disrupt your Core Self experience. Cal was able to feel himself tighten and stop breathing when he became triggered.
- Interrupt old patterns with breath, presence, and grounding exercises. Breathing more fully and taking time to get present and grounded allowed Cal to interrupt his old pattern of flying off the handle over something his dad said.
- Contain your impulse to react. When triggered, Cal was able to contain himself so he didn’t erupt with old feelings of anger and frustration.
- Calm and soothe yourself. Cal began developing ways to take space when he felt triggered so he could center himself.
- Repair early emotional wounds. Through journal practices and therapy sessions, Cal saw his part in the conflict and was able to repair and grow past his emotional wounds.
Experience Deep Joy: Softening, Accepting, Connecting
Cal had more love and compassion for himself when he finally understood his internal emotional blueprint. For the first time, he was able to see how his parents, especially his father, had been stressed and challenged when Cal was born. Through the process of getting to know himself on a deeper level, Cal released the belief he’d always had that he was the reason for his dad’s stress. As he finally let go of this early story, he could lay to rest the ongoing conflict with his father.
Cal kept coming to therapy to practice tuning into himself. He began recognizing when he was in his core self and when he was triggered and fragmented. When he was in his core, his relationship with his father was much softer and more connected. “I didn’t know how much I actually love my Dad, and what a good guy he is. I’m so glad I didn’t miss knowing him,” he reflected.
Living in Your Core Self Brings You Joy
Your Core Self exists inside you as a physical feeling of energy and well-being and is the most essential and vital part of your experience of who you are. You know you’re in your Core Self when you feel clear, authentic, and connected to yourself and others. Your experience of your Core Self is the magic of life. It’s what brings you joy. It is your curiosity, wonder, awe, excitement, passion, sexuality, love, wisdom, and compassion. It’s you at your softest and most vulnerable, open, tender, accepting, authentic, and loving self. It’s part of being human and what makes you feel alive. It is your interpretation that something is inherently flawed or wrong with you that causes your anxiety.
When Cal understood this basic truth about himself, he was able to stay in his wholeness – his experience of Core Self – and relate to his father from a place of connection inside himself. His father didn’t change. He was still his gruff, sometimes harsh self. But Cal did change his perception and his interpretation, and the new love he felt for his father brought him a deep, abiding joy.
Transform Your Core Self
Seeing a therapist who works with the Core Self experience will help you clean up the interruptions to this vital experience inside you. When you live in your core most of the time, it becomes easier to feel safe and at home within yourself. Notice when you’re in your Core Self experience and when you’ve moved out of it.
Returning to Core Self is like coming home to a warm hearth and a loving presence. This takes practice and it’s helpful to have a guide. The Core Self Transformation is an introduction to the Integrative Body Psychotherapy approach to experiencing Core Self. It incorporates a body-mind-spirit awareness while embracing your whole life experience. You will begin your journey towards greater authenticity, connection, presence, and fulfillment.