Feeling All The Feels Struggle

Thank you for considering my question. I am looking for some wisdom on feeling emotions. I have done so much work and have recognized the pattern that my R: Lines are always supporting the feelings I have harbored as a child but do not serve me as an adult. I see it, I believe I have an awareness and I definitely have a desire to change these beliefs (I am powerless, weak, shameful, etc.). I have learned through TLCS that I am now in the part of my schooling where I must learn how to experience negative sensations in the body.

I watched the “How to Feel” video that was suggested to another writer. I cognitively understood the process. I thought I was ready. I want to move forward.

One area I have struggled my whole life is in cigarette smoking. I have failed at attempts to quit more times than I could ever count. Because this behavior is negatively impacting my health, two days ago I decided to not smoke, nor buffer in any other way. I was going to describe what I was feeling in my body and write down my experiences as the “watcher”. I was ready (I thought). I made it 9 hours. Then I picked up a cigarette. I did get to experience some anxiety which was like a sensation in my chest similar to hunger, but in my chest.

My old thought patterns came to life and I smoked. Since then, I spent a lot of time judging myself for being a failure, weak, full of shame. I saw that I am continuing the old feedback loop again. I felt frustrated. Will this never change for me? Am I a lost cause? Will I always be reacting from this “story” I no longer need and is keeping me from living as my best self, my future self.

In Podcast 13 Success vs. Happiness, I heard Brooke say “When you set a goal that you believe you can’t achieve, the thought patterns that don’t serve you come to the surface”. It is then that we have to buckle down to address them. So, I did another thought download on it and worked some Models:

C: I smoked a cigarette
T: I’m a failure
F: Despair
A: Smoke more, give up on goal
R: Health consequences, not reaching goal

C: I smoked a cigarette
T: I’ll never be able to quit
F: Powerless
A: Smoke more to match belief
R: Health consequences, not reaching goal.

I asked myself what I would LIKE to feel. I tried on a new thought.

C: I smoked a cigarette
T: Some failure is to be expected. I can fail forward
F: Frustration
A: Smoke to deal with feelings
R: Nothing changes

This thought was not where I wanted to be so I took it further:

C: I smoked a cigarette
T: This does not define me, or my ability to succeed
F: Hopeful
A: Try and try again to quit
R: Make progress toward my goal

This still wasn’t where I desire to be so I refined it one more time:

C: I smoked a cigarette
T: I didn’t smoke for nine hours! I’m a badass!
F: Empowered
A: Try to beat my record and go for at least 12 hours next time
R: Reach goal eventually

ok, after all of this, I realized today that I am trying to move ahead to changing my beliefs but breezing past the part where I learn to feel my feelings. I WANT to feel empowered. This is my preferred feeling, but I am struggling to slow down and accept the process. I try to remember that there is no feeling, nor sensation in the body, that is too big for me to feel. But, my brain is not cooperating with that thought. I am resisting but can’t make myself “let go”. Of everything, my story, my past, etc. In my coach call, I asked myself the question suggested: “what if my buffering is not a PROBLEM?” My response is that then I would be free to feel empowered and shame around my behaviors would be a non-thing. I was also asked to examine all of the ways that the thought “I am defective and there is no hope for me” is untrue. I did a thought download and discovered that I knew the reasoning behind the struggle was that I had a highly efficient brain that works hard to support old beliefs. That I DESIRED and WANTED to believe that thought work was the answer for me and that I was willing to do the necessary work. I wondered when living from what “future me” wanted for my life would turn into “present me” making better decisions.

I decided that I needed to slow down, trust the process. Stall a bit on feelings so that I can truly assimilate feeling into my daily life. The Stop Overdrinking course has been amazing. I am applying it to all forms of buffering (including smoking). I have learned a lot. In the “Moderation Chatter” video, I wrote down in my notes: Do I really want to think about my habits all the time? Exhausting! I want to cope with emotions and be curious about my thoughts. I can hear them if all the other chatter goes away. My question: Can I practice a new thought that I strongly want to be a belief for me? (I am empowered!) or do I need to stop, slow down and spend time on the feelings? I am willing to take as much time as possible. I am no longer in a hurry today because I want to do this right. I want to “get it” in my core. Would practicing thinking the thought “I am empowered” give me a dopamine hit that would distract me from actually feeling emotions? I look forward to any thoughts. Thank you.