What emotional zone are you currently sitting in?
On a scale of one to 10?
One representing personal excellence and a heavenly state of being. Ten representing a living hell and despair (we will get to 15 later).
This is a longer than usual Word Vitamin this morning, so if you’re in a rush, perhaps revisit these words later when you’ve got a cuppa and a few minutes to self explore.
If I asked you right here and now on a scale of one to 10 how physically fit you are, most of us can be honest enough to know what number we would circle below.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15
Those who immediately would circle number 1 would be in alignment with what my elite athletic Olympian clients would do, as this is where they sit physically. Living in what I love to call “The Zone of Deep Delight.”
Others may circle from numbers 2 to 4 perhaps if they were a triathlete, a marathon (or half-marathon) runner or a regular (3-5 days) at a gym, yoga or Pilates class, rowers, bike riders … you get my drift? So living in “The Growth Zone” the physically fit enjoy their bodies and good consistent improvement of their physical health (generally speaking).
Then we have “The Comfort Zoners” (that’s me) when it comes to physical fitness. If I were rating myself today at 52 years of age in the midst of menopause I would honestly put myself mid-range. I am more of a spiritual athlete myself. I meditate every day, as it is a higher priority for me than daily physical exercise, but that is just me, whatever works for you is my mantra. So us physical fitness “Comfort Zoners” would come up with a number from 5 to 7 if asked how physically fit we are today.
Let’s move up to “The Danger Zone” now, still talking only about physical fitness for the moment. Those placing themselves in this zone identify with being physically overweight or underweight, and rarely or obsessively exercise. I would pop Homer Simpson here at this level, a bit of a couch potato, along with any fear-driven underweight exercise slave that comes to mind. Anyone whose physical health is in the danger zone due to physical neglect. They would come up with a number between 8 and 10.
Then there are our “Disconnected Zoners” off the scale at number 15. These people are usually morbidly obese or anorexic as their obvious physical body tells its story to outsiders so they don’t have to. However, not always. I do work with celebrities and elite athletes that also live in silence of number 15. There are a few among us that we hail as heroes, stars and icons that have mastered their denial so efficiently that their bullshit is also bought by everyone else too. They are physically fit “looking” on the outside. However, they reach that goal via physical self-neglect, not self-care. Punishing exercise regimes that is nothing short of physically cruel, unhealthy and unsustainable. Many of my elite male athletic Emotional Fitness clients have just as serious eating disorders as some of my female clients.
Many “Disconnected Zoners” abuse a smorgasbord of legal and illegal drugs including laxatives, nicotine, cocaine, marijuana and caffeine (not only countless cups of coffee, I’m also talkin’ in the form of pills and energy drinks). The amount of “mung bean yoga junkie, vegan clients” I find just as interesting as my angry, violent jailbird clients. These gorgeous souls abuse cannabis (marijuana, hashish), magic mushrooms and other drugs (they kid themselves as harmless because they’re what they term natural) while sucking on their third cigarette before 9am. They in all honesty hope I will buy their bullshit as they try to convince me how physically “in shape” they are. Unfortunately, as emotionally sedated as many of these clients’ hearts are, it is still nonetheless nothing short of denial in action.
However the old “spot one, you got one” rule applies here.
You cannot bullshit a professional bullshitter (that’s me). If I have not done it myself I have seen it done by the best. Therefore compassion and there but for the grace of God go I is my approach.
So those of us who have been in or are still in the crisis “Disconnected Zoners” deserve compassion, not ridicule or shame. Us recovering or practising “Disconnected Zoners” have usually got enough self-shame and self-ridicule on board ourselves, so it’s not helpful to add to it, for that’s how we got there. Fragile “Disconnected Zoners” when it comes to physical fitness would circle number 15. Even if their body weighs in on a doctor’s scale as within a healthy weight range, they are still physically unfit. They are off the bloody scale actually, out there teetering on the edge of insanity.
When it comes to Emotional Fitness though, what number would you circle from one to 10?
Personal Excellence Fanbloodytastic, I’m just lovin’ everything about my life!
Growth Calm, all is ticketyboo and I’m growing and learning
Comfort Cautiously comfortable, healing, I’m a work in progress
Danger Chaotic, I’m in the danger zone and I really need some help
Disconnected Frozen, shut down, I can’t talk about it, I’m in a silent crisis
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15
So when it comes to assessing Emotional Fitness Zones, if you have concluded that you are in “Excellence” or “Growth Zone” in relation to how you feel about this specific emotional stage in your life, good for you.
If you are sitting in “The Comfort Zone” you are in a transit-lounge phase of life on your way to your next emotional destination. Kick back, recharge, relax and enjoy the rest and time to yourself.
For “The Danger Zoners” it is time to ask for help. Perhaps consider just showing the number you circled to an emotionally safe adult and try to verbally release what you can with them.
If you are in “The Disconnected Zone”, please keep yourself safe and try to show someone where you are at, even if you cannot speak about it yet. Lifeline’s 24-hour number is 13 11 14.
So on the extreme ends of my little homemade Emotional Fitness scale sit the Deep Delight and Disconnected Zoners. The Delighted Zoners savour personal excellence. Having worked damned hard on themselves over the years they have reached an elite level of calm. Delight Zoners live (often unaware of their immense impact) an authentic, emotionally transparent way of life. They are emotionally available elders that are simply a shining example of love personified.
The middle three zones, Growth, Comfort and Danger, are the three most visited zones in the average human’s lifetime.
The Danger Zoners need to bring to a close emotional behaviours as their emotional health and wellbeing are at risk with this elevated level of emotional chaos.
The Comfort Zoners are tired and deserve comfort and rest for now. They need to proceed with caution and watch their boundaries to ensure they progress safely. It’s wise to remember this is a rest zone only, a transit lounge designed to visit and spend short periods of time in to regroup and recharge.
The Growth Zoners are open-hearted to healthy change and learning. When our heart is in the Growth Zone our intuitive traffic lights are giving us permission to ‘go for it’ and claim the love, beauty and hope we all deserve.
As you review your own emotional COMFORT ZONES, please do not use this as a tool to shame yourself or anyone else with. Rest assured when I started my journey in 1995 I would have scored only in The Disconnected and Danger Zones 100%.
This is not a tool to use to beat yourself up with, but to heal with.
I now spend most of my time emotionally in the Delighted and Growth ZONES these days and find great COMFORT there. I allow myself without shame to visit and rest in my reliable Comfort Zone when tired or overwhelmed. If I can make this internal trek it is certainly a possibility for my fellow Danger and Disconnected Zoners too. However, I would never have made it without professional help, so please remember we all deserve a helping hand in life and reaching out is the first step.
If I can offer one snippet of advice in relation to all the emotive zones we visit, including our COMFORT ZONES, it is that they all teach us important lessons. Too much consistent COMFORT will bore us; too much consistent growth will tire us.
So as we review where we are in our inner emotive trek, let us remember to stay compassionately patient, trust our personal journey and stop comparing it to anyone else’s.
Steven Covey offers us a wise reminder when it comes to our Emotional Fitness …
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There is no greater investment”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.