What are emotional bubbles? We all have them. Some are helpful, others less so. Life is about navigating emotional bubbles. Do you know yours?
Emotional bubbles are feelings we withdraw into to feel safe, grounded and anchored. But they can also make us feel cut off, separate and disconnected from others and the world around us. Emotional bubbles can offer support or get in the way.
Emotional bubbles and our childhood
As a child I blew bubbles, with soapy water or with gum. The aim was to blow the biggest bubble ever and to make it last. The soapy ones also needed to fly the highest before they burst. The bubble gum needed to stretch further and further before bursting into sticky stuff on my face.
As a child I also liked to build dens, with boxes, blankets and bedspreads, something secret and special. As an adult I still pull my blanket over my head, when I feel frightened or cold.
These behaviours are also about creating emotional bubbles.
Varieties of emotional bubbles
There are many emotional bubbles, like
- Solitude bubble: ‘I need to be alone.’
- Isolation bubble: ‘Why don’t you let me near you.’
- Shock and disbelief bubble: ‘This cannot be happening. It is too awful to be real.’
- Indecisive bubble: “I don’t know what to do. I am not yet sure.”
- Purpose and Determination bubble: “I am in touch with what I want and need. I have energy to make it happen.”
- Fear, anger, grief or depression bubbles, when we struggle to engage with the world outside of our head and heart.
The bubbles can make us feel safe or separate
Bubbles may give us time and space to feel safe, to think things through, to just be, to recharge our batteries – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
With some bubbles we have a say in the matter and make a choice. They might even become part of who we are.
Other emotional bubbles may be imposed on us by others. We are left out by the bubbles they create.
Many physical illnesses create emotional bubbles
Physical illness and pain can also put us in a bubble, as can medication and its side effects. Pain killers and chemo brain are two examples.
- In the blue corner we have: fear, uncertainty, anger, rage, hate, mistrust, grief, loneliness, disbelief, blame, hopelessnes, self-loathing, low self esteem, indifference, denial, dying and death.
- In the green corner we have: help me, keep me safe, tell me the truth, listen to me, how can I help myself, peace, purpose, resilience, spirit, understanding, kindness, love, life and being at peace.
Transforming our bubbles and our self
I often describe my cancer experience as a transformative experience. In order to deal with it, to stay anchored and to keep going (somehow), with a sense of purpose and a sense of who I am, I needed to start changing and transforming something – ME.
I needed to review my emotional bubbles, those created by me and those created by others.
Which are essential and which are a hindrance and get in my way?
And I realised just how many bubbles I had been enduring and how many I had outgrown and how many had cancer written all over them.
I needed to make choices. I have been given this chance. For how long, I do not know. Would it not be foolish to just carry on as before?
No, I do not want to carry on as before. Thank you very much. No offense intended.
But, like with a lot of important things, easier said than done!
Make a bubble inventory
To make a bubble inventory, from time to time, can be a smart thing to do. We might have outgrown some bubbles and we might be ready for different ones. It is like emotional weeding.
Selfcare is about Emotional Weeding (Read more)
It is important to have the ‘right’ bubbles backing you up, when you go through a crisis or consider change.
A crisis of purpose can be the start of a better life (Read more)
Ultimately, knowing and managing our emotional bubbles is essential for our wellbeing and ability to live in peace.
Living in peace: why and how (Read more)
What are your emotional bubbles? Which do you need, and why? Which may have you outgrown?
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