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Empowerment Systems

"........When Change is the Challenge."

Conscious Evolution

Empowerment Systems Newsletter, #10

"Transforming Either/Or to Both/And"

Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.


Helen spent seven hours with tech support, successful clearing a nasty virus out of her computer. When she explained that she had been unable to complete her coaching assignment because of the time she had needed to take care of her computer, I was sympathetic. When Helen told me how much she had learned from the experience, something didn't ring true. Her voice was tight and controlled.


Pushing a little, I told her how much I admired her ability to stick with such a detailed task for such a long time. Knowing that her personality style was much like my own, I said that if I had been in a similar position, I would have felt frustrated and angry. She seemed surprised. "You always seem so calm." Helen explained that she was determined "not to give in to negative feelings." She had trained herself to understand all difficult experiences as learning opportunities. She still sounded very controlled.


When I suggested that experiencing feelings in a stressful situation was simply the way humans operate, and that she could still recognize the learning opportunity while feeling her feelings, she began to relax. She admitted that she was feeling angry about having her valuable time co-opted by having to deal with a dumb virus, even though she had learned a lot in the process. It had not occurred to her that her "negative" feelings and new beliefs could exist simultaneously.


Helen was trapped by a common fallacy that things have to be either one way or another, instead of both ways at the same time. She knew that she could either think or feel, but had to learn that she could do both without one necessarily interfering with the other. The very high standards she created for herself in an attempt to learn a new way to relate to the world had backfired. She was suppressing her own energy by trying to deny that an important aspect of herself, her feelings, existed. As soon as she admitted that she did have feelings about the situation, her energy shifted. In a few minutes her tightness dissolved into laughter and she felt re-energized.


Coaching tip: Feelings that are ignored last a long time and tend to drain energy. Feelings often change when they are acknowledged and accepted.


 Copyright 2001, Empowerment Systems. May be transmitted or reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line.

Jonathan B. Weiss, Ph.D. and Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. have helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives. Working together at Empowerment Systems for 29 of their 40 years of marriage, they maintain a coaching, consulting, and psychotherapy practice in Littleton, Colorado, USA.


506 West Davies Way
Littleton · Colorado · 80120
303.794.5408 · Fax
303.794.5379 · Phone
800.594.4594 · Toll-Free
weiss@empowermentsystems.com · E-Mail


"Committed to helping people use all of their inner resources
to create satisfying and fulfilling lives."