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Do you accidentally do this?

Bypassing Vs resourcing


The same action can have very different impacts on you.


So we're talking here about bypassing and resourcing in the context of experiencing emotions - something I talk a lot about because it's the thread that ties together many of the different aspects of our health. How we relate to, move through and express our emotions matter: for our physical health, our mental health, our relationships and how we show up at home and in the workplace.


Let's say we are feeling upset about something that has happened in our day, and we choose to meditate.


That meditation could by a way to bypass that emotion, or it could be resourcing.


We need to feel into the difference:


Bypassing refers to working your way AROUND the emotion, not actually feeling through it. Bypassing is, simply put, putting distance between yourself and the emotion/thought/feeling. Gaslighting yourself might also happen, where you deny the fact that part of you is actually upset ('it doesn't matter, I shouldn't be bothered by this' - when the reality is part of you IS upset).


Susanna Barkataki says bypassing is 'trying to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it or done the work to try to really change it.'


We might (definitely??) in society do this with grief, with anger, with pretty much any and all uncomfortable emotions (that we might call 'negative')


Meditating, for example, could sound like a wonderful choice to help yourself. To find out what this choice (and insert any other choice here too, like reading a book, watching TV etc) might mean for you, I'd ask: is it an attempt to numb/dissociate from what you're feeling? Is it a way of lifting you out of your body? Is it a way of seeking a specific state (calm, happy, blissful etc) and therefore a way of not really being there, present and aware, in your mind and body?


I'm wondering also if you have a 'meditation manager'. I definitely have a meditation manager, who sits in my head, and tries to make sure I'm doing it right! It is often seeking out the calmer, and more peaceful feelings for us. And therefore pushes away the parts of us who might be trying to catch out attention in ways we deem more 'negative' such as anxiety.


Contrast that with resourcing. When you choose to meditate and you say to yourself (sending that message internally from a place of compassion), 'I am feeling upset. That upset doesn't need to be anything else, it is ok that it is here. I'm not trying to change or control it, but just be with it, exactly as it is.'


 You might breathe a greater sense of spaciousness into yourself in relation to the upset part (because being upset is a part of you - it's not the whole of you). You might bring all your awareness to the physical sensations that emotion brings in your body (but it's also ok if this is too difficult, for some it is, and often needs to be facilitated by another person in order for this to feel safe). You might listen to what that upset part is telling you, exactly as it is.


And the magic part is this:

(I call it the first magic trick of IFS)


When we come in closer to the feeling, it actually gets smaller and softer. Not bigger/more overwhelming, or a place to get stuck in. Because now that part of us (thought/feeling/emotions) is getting the attention and connection it is truly seeking.


Bypassing Vs resourcing feels:

Constrictive Vs expansive

Small/cramped Vs spacious

Disconnected Vs connected

Reactive Vs discerning

Distraction Vs presence

Numbness Vs awareness


The reality is that bypassing Vs resourcing has much bigger implications in collective issues - and traumas. Change and healing can occur on a personal, individual level. It can occur on a collective level. And each can feed into the other. But for now, I ask you to consider the personal aspect of it.


If you just take from this a greater sense and intention of compassion - then take that. Take what fits you now, leave the rest.


Compassion ripples out.

Healing ripples out.


I'm just here for me of that - for me, for you, for all of us.


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