• Sally Turberville Smith Dipl. Psych, BA Hons,

    MBACP, UKCP

    Counselling & Psychotherapy Nutritional/Lifestyle Coaching

    Willesden Green, NW2

  • Feeling Hot Hot Hot

    19th July 2018
  •  

    Competitive sport, summer, the emotions of joy and anger, happiness and rage are all connected with the ‘fire’ element.  Last month I explained how reflection upon the 4 elements earth, air, fire and water can guide us towards greater psychological and spiritual integration.  Today my focus is on ‘fire’ because we haven’t had it so hot for a while and because World Cup footballers and Wimbledon tennis champions have to dig deep in terms of fiery self-belief and determination to train, to compete and to win!

    If you need an injection of fire energy to get you moving, help you become more assertive or to set appropriate boundaries in your relationships read on.  Or maybe you have trouble owning or getting in touch with your anger or expressing anger in a way that preserves your integrity, and brings about effective long-lasting change in a relationship or work situation?  

    Anger is something we feel.  Like any other emotion it deserves our respect and attention. It can help us say ‘No’ to the ways in which we may allow ourselves to be defined by others and ‘Yes’ to the dictates of the inner self.  Hot stuff indeed!

    Few of us grew up seeing this emotion modelled in healthy ways.  If as children we were shouted at or criticised we may have learnt to shut down our feelings and withdraw and as adults we may find it difficult to confront angry or abusive spouses, bosses or co-workers.  Most of us won’t have had our angry feelings validated as children and will not have witnessed parents having ‘a good clean fight’ and then reconciling their differences.   Our experience has often taught us that our anger meets with rejection and disapproval from others.  As a result, we are often fearful of asking for what we want in the first place and/or have no skills or experience of asking for it in a calm clear non-aggressive way.

    Women often struggle with feeling it is their responsibility to preserve harmony in relationship, feeling guilty if they upset or alienate others.  Many of us have learnt to be ‘too nice’ repressing our true feelings and thus diminishing our sense of self.  Other women and men may have no trouble expressing their anger, but tend to do so in an aggressive, bitchy or sarcastic way.  They ‘vent’ without clarity, direction and control using a tone of voice that invariably sounds hysterical, attacking or defensive. Unfortunately, whichever way you tend to swing the end result is always the same. You end up feeling helpless and powerless.

    In therapy and particularly in couples work I help people discover what they are really angry about, what they want to change, and what they are afraid of or fearful of losing.  Anger is a signal that we or something about the situation we find ourselves in needs to change.  By not taking responsibility for ourselves, by not acting we stay stuck in self-recrimination and the victim position.  

    In order to communicate clearly you have to learn to share something of yourself in a straightforward, non-blaming way and stay firm and strong as your own separate person.  This is not easy to do especially when you are angry, but with patience and perseverance (earth qualities) you can learn to stay emotionally connected and keep your heart open.

    The colour of the fire element is red and its movement is upwards.  For example, we can feel a lot more powerful when we stand up and move about if we have something important to say.  And children can be taught that it is good to ‘get physical’ by ‘letting off steam’ in the body through shaking, moving, dancing or playing a sport. 

    Red is associated with danger, with sex, with passion.  It is bold and says ‘look at me’.  If you need to make a change or confront someone who is belittling you or disrespecting you get in touch with your fire energy located in the belly – your solar plexus chakra and start asking for what you want.  Not in an aggressive or bullying ‘power over way’, but in a way that asserts itself clearly, asks questions and wants to truly understand another perspective or point of view.   As Harriet Lerner says in her excellent book The Dance of Anger, ‘One of the hall marks of emotional maturity is to recognise the validity of multiple realities and to understand that people think, feel and react differently’.

    Healthy fire energy is always connected to the heart. Humour – another fire quality can soften and dissolve irritation as can water.  We can literally and psychologically cool ourselves down by taking a shower, drinking spring water, eating ‘cooling’ foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, walking by watersides or in rainfall and listening to the sounds of the ocean.

    If you need an injection of fire energy to get a job done or when your mental and physical energies are at a low ebb regularly visualise a great cross of light within a circle of light and see it blazing out around you as you go about your day.

    Get moving by going for a run, dancing to music or playing a sport that gets your competitive juices flowing. 

    Think about the colours that help you feel powerful and alive, and dress in them often: reds, sunset oranges, fuchsia and purple.  Buy some majestic scarlet gladioli, wear a vibrant shade of lipstick and walk tall in red high heeled shoes.  Stand up straight, push your shoulder blades back and down visualising them as red admiral butterfly wings.  In essence think bold, fearless, sexy, confident.  And finally let the flame of passion burn away what is false by writing down a self-limiting belief and see it burn to dross in fire in the next full moon which is Friday 27th July!  

    Have a steaming July and see you in August!