Hello Reader. Welcome to our new series titled after a comment I often get to hear, “Wait, that helps?!?”. In this series, we will look at a few areas, habits, or practices that truly help but might be either alternative, odd, surprising, or any other similar adjective that comes to mind.
In our first of this series, we look at an alternative practice to help you power-up your creativity and solution generation.
- Ever want to have more creative thinking?
- Need more creativity in a project?
- What about need more solutions or options to come to mind but you’re stuck with one or two?
This will help!
When Charles F. Brush first turned on the wind turbine in the winter of 1888, it wasn’t his first creative idea brought to life. His constant thinking outside the box and looking for multiple solutions gives us this alternative energy that is around us everyday in the wind. You can help yourself to think outside the box, look for multiple solutions and generate more creativity too.
First we will look at the alternative practice, then dig into the overview of Why It Works, then finally drill into a general view of How To Work It*.
Here’s the alternative practice: admit to yourself (and possibly respectfully to others) what you feel. This opens more solutions and creative thinking.
Wait, that helps?!? Yes. When you admit what you feel it frees up our brains to work on stuff other than the emotional content. It also frees our soul and spirit to connect to God and others. Admitting what you feel creates authenticity and authenticity powers up creative thinking and solution generation. It really is an alternative to what many of us do nowadays.
This is “alternative” because it’s not what we in American culture typically do—you know share emotions healthfully. It’s an alternative to the standard and well-versed surface-sharing we often do in American culture.
For example, let’s try this one quick experiment:
- What are you supposed to say when someone asks you, “How are you?”
- If you answered “Great!”/”Fine” or even “Good, how are you?” then you are on par with the majority of people. That’s because typically people ask this as part of a greeting and really don’t want to know anything deeper yet.
- If you answered, “it depends on who it is and where I am when they ask”; then maybe you are more emotionally versed than average, maybe you have people in your life who really want to know you, or you might be the growing few who want to share their emotions with others in healthy ways.
Admitting what you feel truly does power-up your creativity and solution generation because it harnesses the power of authenticity.
Why it works:
- Our brains are created to hold, process, renew, or re-frame emotional content for the purpose of relational connecting. When we hold emotions or ignore emotions that are necessary for human connection, our brain stores those until a later time. If these are returned to and dealt with then the brain releases the emotional content and the brain then moves on to thinking about options for what’s in front now.
- Our brains and souls are created to connect through safety, trust, and respect. When we acknowledge what we feel it creates authenticity that reinforces felt safety, trust, and respect (both for self and with others).
- Our spirit is created for deep connection through confident identity. When we are honest with ourselves, we feel more confident in our own skin. We don’t get easily offended because we know who we are and that who we are is inherently good. This authenticity creates confidence to connect in our relationships
The alternative practice of admitting what you feel acknowledges your whole-self so that your whole self is free to think outside itself.
Authenticity isn’t just a buzz-word it’s the craving of all creation. Ok, that might be a bit of a big picture view. Let’s bring it back down to daily life and how to work it to power up that creativity and solution generation.
How To Work It*:
- Be mindful of when you notice an emotional shift
- Mindfulness or awareness is a skill we build. It will take time to catch it when there is a shift in emotion. So give yourself time to build those muscles.
- Admit what you feel to yourself
- This may come first as you build up your mindfulness/awareness
- It could sound like, “ok I feel ____ now after that just happened.” Or “I feel ___, what just happened?”
- Decide what to do with it
- Care for it – In the moment ask yourself what would be healthy and helpful right now. If this is a deep emotion or has some depth of emotional content, consider inviting others into it with you; a friend, pastor, counselor, parent, etc.
- Delay it – Tell yourself that will be dealt with later, give yourself a time to follow up, and then follow up to actually care for it or dump it.
- Dump it – Tell the emotion or thought, “You’re not true. I feel this but I know this…” There are some emotions that do not need to be cared for or delayed; they just need to be dumped. I would classify that group of emotions as those which are condemning. A condemning emotion will attack you generally or will attack your identity specifically, and has little evidence to back up it’s claim. For example: wow, you just bungled that conversation, you suck at relationships. It’s different than conviction which is specific, has some evidence, AND has grace for finding a way out. For example, you just bungled that conversation, it went downhill when you made that comment and you ignored the other person’s hurt reaction.
- Share it respectfully
- With God
- Need comfort? If you feel comfortable with God, ask God to: 1) come hold the emotion with you; 2) to show you who you are right now; 3) where He has felt this way before
- With others –
- Ask if you can share something – truly ask first so the other person can confirm if they are able to give you attention right now and if they have the energy to listen
- Then tell the person what you think you might need with no expectations – again with respect share what you think you might need, whether that’s a hug, prayer, a pep-talk, a glass of water, a tissue, a burger, a friend while you make a call, and then,
- Ask if they could help with that need or know someone who might help–this gives the other person the respectful freedom to either help you with that need or to help connect you to someone who can help with that need
- With God
Yes, this is an alternative to the American cultural expectations of sharing your feelings. And sure there are times when a “Great/Good/Fine” is appropriate to answer to “How are you” and not the full emotion. Yes, it’s also an alternative to visiting shared office environments to stir creativity, even though that can be helpful and healthy too.
Admitting what you feel will generate creativity and multiple solutions because your brain, soul, and spirit will feel safe, trusted, and respected to think outside of what it needs at the moment. It will free you to be you.
The world needs your kind, hopeful, creative solutions to the problems we face.
- When do you think this might help you?
- Has there been a time when you did something like this?
- Who else do you know who might like to try this?
*Before we go, a little disclaimer on working it. These are general thoughts on working it and might not apply to your specific situation, current health or relationships. Please give it your own discernment and connect with me or another counselor on any specific questions.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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