Hi, I’m Dr. Tom DeGeorge. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor with Thriveworks. And I’d like to talk to you today about some of the emotions we’ve been experiencing during these past few weeks and months in our country and the world.

Part of the process of working through these emotions is first identifying them and recognizing what they are. What are these emotions I’m experiencing? Is it anger? Is it grief, helplessness, feeling paralyzed? All these emotions compete for priority in our lives. When we address emotions in our lives, typically we might just deal with one, but now we’re dealing with a complex set of emotions that don’t always exist in us at the same time. So how do we work through that? So the first step is just identifying, recognizing that there are several things that I’m experiencing right now, anger, grief, loss, helplessness. All of these emotions are fighting for space within us, and they all want their time. And how do we address them?

And that moves us into the next part. How do we start to process these emotions once we’ve identified them? Well, if you think of a scuba diver and when they descend about 40 to 50 feet below the surface of the water, the pressure becomes pretty intense. Same with emotions. When we’re taking all these emotions in us, it becomes very hard. How do we handle this intense pressure that we’re feeling internally, but like scuba diving, once you start to come up to the surface to be able to breathe, you have to come up slowly. If you come up too fast, you start to get the bends. If you come up too fast with all these emotions, you’ll start to come with more conflict and it’s harder to process them. So it’s okay to be able to say, let me work with my anger for a little bit and find out where that’s coming from and how do I move forward with that?

Let me work with my helplessness and how do I find out what can I do to maybe alleviate some of that? So once you start to ascend with these emotions, you start to breathe a little bit better. And the closer you get to the surface, the more relaxed you are, the clearer you start to think. And some of these emotions now don’t take up as much space inside of you because you’re taking in better oxygen and you’re starting to breathe a little bit better.

The third part is now, what do I do? I’ve identified them. I’ve started the process through them. And now what, because they’re still internal. And until you take the internal and make it external, it still lives in there. So part of it is recognizing what realistically can I do? How can I move forward with these emotions that I’m experiencing to try to alleviate them, but also trying to move things in a better direction for myself.

So I just want to offer six things that you can try to think about before you start to take that action. One is recognize that there are people who are always going to be in disagreement with, but we can always continue to recognize that first, before we start to engage in some kind of concept with that. Second is maybe realizing that every person has worth, whether we agree or not agree with them, they too have value and worth in our lives. Third, is always stay in dialogue by not being able to stay in dialogue. We keep everything internal and we don’t able to move forward in any way that we can.

Fourth, a plan of action. What can I do to start moving forward in a realistic way? Five, create space, allow yourself to work through some of these things individually, before you move out further and become external with some of these things, recognizing that you need some space, as well as the people that you’re going to be interacting with. And six allow yourself some freedom to make some mistakes. It’s not going to be perfect. There’s going to be some errors we’re all going to make, as we try to rationalize what we’re going through and try to move things forward. And it’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s going to take some time to work through it.

By always remaining in dialogue for ourselves and with others, we’ll be able to bring this to a better place for internally for us, but then also be able to carry forward with other people.