It is well known in the psychotherapy world that we all have internal thresholds for how much pain, joy, sadness, anger, happiness, fear etc that we have the capacity to feel and function in life. These thresholds are based on our own experience in the world and who we are individually.
Some people have a high pain threshold and some people have a low one. Some people take genuine pleasure in life and regularly feel joy & happiness, whereas this can feel elusive to many no matter what positive experiences occur.
Many cultural thresholds are strongly in place in our surroundings when it comes to who is allowed to feel, experience, or have certain things.
Many people are self-aware enough to notice where in their lives they have an internal threshold. A few examples of where this threshold can show up include:
- overcoming fears & phobias
- feeling safe in a stable relationship after learning to normalize drama & chaos
- connecting and feeling one’s body & sensations without dissociating or distracting
- thriving financially after living with a lot less
- taking up more space in your career, relationships or life after learning to stay small
It can be painful to notice one’s thresholds and not be able to change them. Also, when we do make big shifts in our lives, we may notice ourselves sabotage our gains, often subconsciously. Then there’s often a layer of judgment & shame that layer on top of this all.
For a change to stick, we need to be held in safety in order to do so. Here are a variety of ways to do this.
Learning to Feel Safe In Your Body
I recently listened How to Follow the Wisdom of Your Body with Dr. Hillary McBride on the We Can Do Hard Things Podcast with Glennon Doyle. The focus is mainly on disordered eating, but the process of learning to feel safe in one’s body is for anyone who finds themselves answering with their minds without listening to their bodies.
Culturally in North America, there is a large disconnect from our bodies. Great books that cover this topic include, “When the Body Says No” by Gabor Mate, “My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resma Menakem, and “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk.
Learning To Feel Safe In Your Mind
The Great UnLearn Podcast recently interviewed Boyd Varty, a coach, wilderness tracker, and storyteller. The topic was, “Witnessing the Egoic Mind, Melting Down, and the Essence of a Transformational Process” (Episode 111).
If you’re familiar with Byron Katie and The Work, Boyd demonstrates her process of asking the 4 questions to any negative thought:
- Is it True
- Can you absolutely know it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without that thought?Then you learn to turn the original thought around to a different one.
He also explores the importance of grounding when we reach our upper limits of feeling pleasure, joy & vitality and the importance of “melting down” to allow ourselves to feel the pain, sadness, fear and other emotions we’re avoiding.
Ways To Integrate Safety
Creating and feeling safety in one’s life is a practice. Our nervous systems require us to be anchored in safety in order to make and maintain the changes we seek.
Learning to Notice & Celebrate Your Wins
Psychotherapy isn’t always about looking at one’s wounds, it’s also often reconnecting to your strengths, courage, and hard work that’s been done to make changes in the world. If you want to shift your internal limits, it’s important to notice & celebrate your wins. It’s important to notice all the parts of yourself that are working in your favour. It can be so empowering to connect to how amazing you are with someone who is going to encourage you to shine brighter instead of dimming it down.
If you live in an environment that lacks encouragement or wants to limit your threshold for change – it’s so important to find places that bring in a voice that counters those surrounding you. This can be therapy, a friend, or an online community. As you are surrounded by more and more voices that encourage you, this helps you ground in new possibilities for yourself.
Energy healing is a way to balance, charge, & integrate all the changes that you are making in your mind & body. Sometimes we need to stop thinking for awhile and allow the next steps to show themselves on our journeys. Energy healing can also help identify where we might be blocked. I’ve often had sessions where internal blocks were hard to verbalize. As soon as we got to the energy healing, the blocks show themselves. 100% of the time we need to meet these blocks with compassion. It can be helpful to have someone else demonstrate that compassion when it feels impossible to give yourself. Energy healing can bring safety as you shift your internal thresholds.
Remembering that Change Takes Time
The seasons in nature are beautiful reminder that change takes time. Rest, growth, integration & release are all important parts of the process. Change sometimes happens in a moment and other changes are more gradual and can take years. Nature doesn’t judge the seasons and whether each year was good or bad.
What internal thresholds have you shifted in your life? What helped you the most on that journey?