Emotional bubbles – you may ask. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Emotional 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.
4. 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, hopelessness, 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.
5. Transforming our emotional 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.
We need tomake choices. And we need to continue making choices, every day.
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.
Ultimately, knowing and managing our emotional bubbles is essential for our wellbeing and ability to live in peace. Find out more about 7 steps towards living in peace
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Karin Sieger is a UK-based psychotherapist and writer. All rights reserved © Copyright Karin Sieger. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Article do not substitute medical advice.