Why Emotional Honesty is Essential to Your Business’s Well-Being

“When you look at the dashboard on your vehicle and you focus upon your fuel gauge and it tells you that your tank is approaching empty…you don’t stick a ‘Happy Face’ sticker over it so that you can’t see it.”

— Abraham-Hicks

When my mother died a number of years ago, I was scheduled to facilitate a workshop for an organizational client a few days after the funeral.  The director of the organization had kindly offered to re-schedule the workshop; but, in spite of my tender feelings of loss and exhaustion, I put on my “poker face” and proceeded to deliver the workshop, as scheduled.  I shoved down the grief and ignored my own needs.  My energy was “off”, and I wasn’t fully present, which I’m sure the participants could sense.  By not showing up for myself and giving myself what I needed, I wasn’t really showing up for them and giving them an optimal experience.

Through situations like these, I’ve noticed the effects that emotional dishonesty can have on me, my life and my business.  Emotional dishonesty is suppression of emotions (including so-called “unspiritual” ones like anger), and it causes disconnection from true feelings and needs, and avoidance of difficult conversations and potential conflicts. All of these behaviours can have a detrimental impact on a business.

And, for us wellness entrepreneurs, allowing ourselves to feel emotions we label as “negative” can be especially challenging.  Many of us are sensitive to emotional energy and feel emotions deeply, so we may have a more pronounced tendency to resist uncomfortable feelings.  Also, our spiritual beliefs may contribute to our emotional denial (I say this from experience, too!).

The good news is we can learn how to have an integrated relationship with our emotions and ourselves.  We can learn how to allow ourselves to experience the full spectrum of our feelings, without censure, guilt or shame, and how to process them.  We can develop the capacity to identify, accept and express our needs in healthy ways, have more honest and fulfilling relationships with ourselves, our clients, staff and colleagues, and enjoy all the other benefits that ensue.  And, we can model this for others, so they can give themselves permission to do the same.

What Causes Emotional Dishonesty?

In infancy and early childhood, we all started out being emotionally honest 100 per cent of the time.  Then, for many of us, our families, cultures, schools and/or religions taught us to believe that feeling and expressing what we felt was bad and unacceptable – particularly “negative” emotions.  Growing up, most of us received modelling on how NOT to feel.  Today, we still live in a society that conditions us to ignore, repress, deny and lie about our feelings and to act as if we’re happy all the time.

Yet, as humans, our emotional body’s natural inclination is to cycle through fear, anger, sadness and happiness (and all related emotions), if we don’t resist the free flow of these feelings.  Suppression actually cuts off the emotional body and pushes the suppressed emotions into the unconscious.

For those of us on an intentional spiritual path, these conditioned patterns of emotional repression may be furthered embedded through “spiritual bypassing”.  Simultaneously, as we reach for our Divinity, we may be rejecting our humanity.  According to Robert Augustus Masters, author of Spiritual Bypassing:  When Spirituality Disconnects Us From What Really Matters, “spiritual bypassing, the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds and developmental needs, is so pervasive that it goes largely un-noticed.”

Some of the characteristics of spiritual bypassing he identifies include, “exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, over-emphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, debilitating judgement about one’s negative or shadow side and devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual.”

Mariana Caplan, author of Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path, says “We get stuck because we have not integrated the psychological wounds and traumas that live within our bodies and keep repeating themselves through unfulfilling, if not self-destructive, behaviours and dramas in our lives.  We engage in spiritual bypassing, hoping against our better judgement, that our spiritual practices will remove our unpleasant emotions and help us transcend our relationship challenges.”

The Benefits of Emotional Honesty to Your Business

As we move forward with awareness, we can transform our patterns of emotional suppression and spiritual bypassing. We can examine the emotions we may be repressing from the past, notice when our habitual tendencies toward emotional repression and spiritual bypassing are arising in the present, and cultivate new habits that permit all of our emotions to be fully acknowledged and felt.

Through continuous practice, we’ll observe that when we experience the full range of our emotions and process these emotions, our businesses receive benefits including:

  • increased FLOW – financial flow and emotional flow are connected; when we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, whether from the past or the present, we free up a significant amount of energy that can be channelled toward the fulfillment of our Purpose and business goals;

  • more authentic, healthy and fulfilling relationships with ourselves, our clients/prospective clients and all those we interact with through our businesses;

  • more creativity in our work and more potential for creative partnerships;

  • increase in quality and value of our services and products; and

  • more balance between work and other areas of our lives, as we sharpen our ability to recognize, express and fulfill our needs.

Emotional honesty is an act of self-acceptance and self-love and leads to increased feelings of peace, happiness and fulfillment, a heightened experience of authentic spirituality, and a more prosperous and balanced business.

In The Prosperous Healer’s Path™ Business Success Program, I hold a sacred space for clients to witness, acknowledge and process the natural “up and down” emotions that arise as they build their businesses, put their gifts out into the world and allow success.  For more information, visit this page.

What are your thoughts about emotional honesty?  I’d love to hear them!  Feel free to leave your comments below.

© Copyright 2011 Mary C. Davis, ANAM TURAS. All rights reserved.

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9 Responses to Why Emotional Honesty is Essential to Your Business’s Well-Being

  1. This is a wonderful topic, Mary. One of the spiritual bypasses I notice in entrepreneurs is the tendency to push ahead when exhausted, to not fully trust that rest brings renewal to inspiration and creativity, and thus to use the same-old, same-old when something entirely new may be trying to present itself. You’ve put your finger on a really important area. Spiritual by-passing is a way to stay immature, not just in our relationships but also within our business/creative potential. I’m noticing that clients are increasingly sensitive, something ‘allergic’ to the rah-rah hype of spiritually immature practitioners. They simply don’t swallow the inauthentic as readily. This is a good sign, and one that challenges each of us to stay ever more bone-honest with ourselves! Thanks for delving into these waters…

    • admin says:

      It’s my pleasure, Andrea! I’ve received as much out of writing this as I’ve given. I really enjoyed your perspective on this. Yes, I’d never really thought about how over-extending oneself is a symptom of spiritual bypassing until recently. I can absolutely see the connection with lack of trust…and the obvious connection between burn-out and creative blocks. That’s interesting that your clients are becoming more sensitive to inauthenticity. As you say, definitely a sign of a shift and a need to fully own all parts of ourselves. I think it’s our fear of disowned parts of ourselves that feeds spiritual bypassing. I’ve been blessed to have clients who are courageously authentic and this has helped me to show up that way myself. It’s great to have this conversation with you — thank you so much for sharing your always insightful perspectives!

      • Audrey Jolly says:

        Love this blog and conversation. Thanks Mary. The work you’re doing to ‘marry’ business, spirit, and emotional awareness is so vitally important for our future. Bravo to you for having such a lovely hand in the creation of this consciousness.
        So true Andrea, workaholism is the most accepted and rewarded addiction in our society today. Yet it can be so soul destroying. I see it all the time. Successful women in retirement feeling empty, disconnected and desperate.
        I agree Laura, we’re full of fear (and shame.) It begins at birth. Family, school, church, community, work, relationships add to the pile. Suppressed energy and emotion takes a lot of effort to maintain. It ain’t natural.
        We become unable to breathe or move, never mind feel. Yikes, I feel the call for action as I write this….some deeper clarity.
        Well, time to get busy…have a great day embodying and expressing your powerful, feminine beauty.

        • admin says:

          You’re so welcome, Audrey, and thank you for your kind words and feedback! I love how you’ve captured the crux of the matter regarding forms of emotional dishonesty such as workaholism and the underlying fear/shame that we’re programmed with from birth.

  2. Fear causes emotional dishonesty — and pretty soon, everyone will know that the one being dishonest is being dishonest. I am hopeful that those who know will compassionately offer their love and gifts to help the dishonest one realize that every single part of him/her is beautiful and worthy of respect, love, laughter and healing (if they are ready for it). Love to you! Param Atma Kaur

    • Not everyone will know,, but a number that is continuing to grow and grow!

      • admin says:

        Param Atma Kaur/Laura, I think you’ve just summed it right up in a succinct nutshell! It IS fear that causes emotional dishonesty. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s a fear of disowned parts of ourselves. I’m inspired by your perspective that we can all support each other in overcoming this fear and accepting all parts of ourselves by offering our love and gifts to each other. Love to you, too, Laura/Param Atma!

  3. Juliana says:

    This is wonderful Mary, I love how well it relates to things happening in my life right now. With all your help, I can finally say I’ve been experiencing what emotional honesty feels like and you are right to say it is an amazing feeling. For me it shifts my energy in such a physical form, even I couldn’t believe it. The heavy feeling in my gut became a light excitement in my heart, so for sure something I will continue to strive towards. Love the post and the initial quote!

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