We are consistently reminded, in every arena, not to be angry, difficult or negative. And I can’t say these are the kind of feelings I want to feel or encounter in another person. When we do experience these emotions and reactions in ourselves or others, we generally don’t ‘feel’ good, and they emit a vibe that is less than pleasing. We also tend to jump to judgement about the person resisting or showing us true frustration. What is wrong with me? or them?
We are also regularly reminded to align with our values, stay and be present, practice mindfulness. So none of these consistent messages help us to deal with our catabolic energy when it ‘rises up’ inside of us.
Catabolic energy is essentially the energy our body uses to react to stress. I think of it as resistance or opposition, frustration or a tendency to blame others, maybe even fight or flight.
One of the most valuable tools we gained at IPEC is the Energy Leadership Index and assessment created by Bruce D. Schneider of IPEC (where I studied and certified). The ELI breaks down our energy into seven levels making each of them identifiable and reachable. Without going into much more detail, levels one and two tell us about our Catabolic responses and reactions, level 3 through 7 explain our Anabolic response. Anabolic meaning constructive, positive, forward thinking.
What we don’t always consider, though, is how we need all of these levels at one point or another, and each will serve us when called to. Sometimes a client may feel disappointed with the amount of level two we see in their assessment chart, when in truth, that level two gave this person the energy and mental grace to fight their way to ‘survival’ of something harmful.
Recently I was chatting with a client who lives in a country in unrest, they are facing upheaval and demonstrations between the leader and an opponent. When I asked her to explain her anxiety level, she said none, I’m pumped! This is level two, this is fight rather than flight. This energy is necessary for she and her family ‘today’. This energy is protecting her from anxiety, worry, and fear.
In another conversation this week, I spoke with a coach who shared a powerful story of how she dug out of a long term marriage of verbal and emotional abuse. She got really pissed off, she was done with abuse, she got all kinds of catabolic and up-in-your-face mad. She is free, and happy and now works empowering other women who are re-lighting the fire in their belly. When our fire goes out, level two will save us.
What this leads us to is this: we don’t want to get comfortable in an uncomfortable place, but when our resistance is creating the energy we need to take action, our resistance is serving us well.
We all experience all seven levels throughout our lives, each is our energy and is responding to our life. So as we work to build and shift to live most of our lives in a more anabolic and happier state, never believe that there’s not a place for your anger or frustration to help you dig out.