Building Emotional Muscle

As a Metaphysician and Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, I frequently hear the same rationalizations for not changing behavior. “It is too difficult.” “I can’t do that.” “I’ve been saying/doing that all my life. “That is just who I am.” “I’ve been this way all my life–I wouldn’t know myself if I changed.”  “You don’t know what I’ve been through.” Yet, everyone desperately wants something to change in their life–except having to change themselves. The irony is the fastest way to change your life is to change yourself. Or saying it another way-“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

The willingness to challenge oneself to learn new behavior seems to be overshadowed by anxiety–fear of failure, skepticism, or pain avoidance. People seem willing to accept personal challenges on other issues, however. Take physical fitness, for example. How many people jog, bicycle, or work out in one way or another to achieve physical fitness? However, how many of these same people are willing to change their behavior for the sake of personal or professional fitness?

EMOTIONAL APTITUDE IN SPORT: THE CASE OF TENNIS - The True Athlete Project
Build Emotional Muscle

As a Metaphysician and Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, I challenge people to develop their “personal and/or professional muscle” much the same as they would challenge themselves to develop their physical muscle. Changing beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior or developing “personal and/or professional muscle” has the same challenges as a physical fitness program.

Think back to the time when you started some new exercise activity. In the beginning, you weren’t very proficient’ your muscles ached and hurt in places where you didn’t know you had muscles. If you over-exercised or pushed your endurance, you might even have been in considerable pain. You knew this is normal, however, because you were using your muscles more or differently.

What you had in mind was to create a physical change–lose weight, develop muscle tone, or get in shape. What you got initially was discomfort or pain. And that takes you to a point of a new decision. “Am I willing to endure the discomfort or pain until my muscles have adjusted to this new activity, practice, mastery, comfort, or will I allow the discomfort or pain to influence my desire for obtaining the goal of physical fitness?” The resulting answer determines whether the program is finished and the goal is met. As you continue your exercise program, you gain strength and endurance and achieve a better figure or physique. You finally become comfortable again. The discomfort or pain is gone. You have developed the muscle or strength to maintain the new activity without discomfort or pain.

Beginning new behavior can do the same thing to you emotionally. Remember when you were asked to use a new skill, such as the first time you gave a presentation in class or a meeting? You probably had a conversation with yourself that went something like this: “I don’t know if I can do it. I might blow it and everyone will laugh or think I’m stupid. I won’t be able to do it as well as X, Y, or Z.”

Just as exercising is a physical challenge, any beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior change is an emotional challenge. When confronted with changing behavior or doing something new, you slide out of your emotional comfort zone and find yourself in discomfort or pain. To meet that challenge, you need the practice to build up strength and endurance, which will then bring you to a level of comfort.

Why is it painful to begin a new behavior or why do we feel uncomfortable when faced with new challenges? Psychology posits the reason for discomfort or pain is the fear of the unknown. We fear new beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior because we haven’t built the emotional muscle to tackle the new beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This emotional muscle, just like a physical muscle, needs exercise or practice to grow strong.

How does one go about building this emotional muscle? Developing new beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior takes practice and produces discomfort or pain. These are necessary stages to achieving mastery and comfort. The best way to develop ’emotional muscle’ is similar to developing physical muscle–practicing the behavior to gain experience in a low-stress environment. It is like jogging in place in your living room or basement before you begin jogging around the block. You can test your level of endurance and efficiency before exposing yourself to the outside world. By practicing the new behavior with a professional, with a friend or family member, you can get feedback so you can be sure you have the fine points of the new belief, thoughts, feelings, and behavior well in place. Thus, you begin building or strengthening your endurance and have some mastery of the behavior before you take it into the world. When you practice you are in fact doing something different than before, although it is in a protected environment. Thus, you have experience from which to build your strength for future performances.

When faced with situations you find emotionally uncomfortable, painful, or difficult, approach them with the awareness that it is OK to be uncomfortable. Remember you will become comfortable with familiarity and practice. The more you do difficult presentations or use new beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior, the more comfortable you will become. The sense of accomplishment you felt when you mastered a sport or achieved your goal (losing weight, getting in shape) after physical activities also applies to develop ’emotional muscle.’ You can feel good about having met the challenge of learning new beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You have grown. As in physical fitness programs, you are stretching, developing, and strengthening the most important muscles you have–your ’emotional muscles.’

I work with individuals who are ready to clear out old habits and behavior to connect with the passions of their soul and step up and into the purpose and lifestyle, they were created to experience.

If this is you, let’s connect. Schedule a free 30-minute Discovery Call now.

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