310: Expanding Your Capacity to Feel Wonderful Things


To go after the things you really want for your life, you have to open yourself up to experiencing big emotions without reacting to them.

I have done a lot of podcast episodes about the value of leaning into the emotions that don’t feel so good (like discomfort and disappointment), but in this episode, I want to talk about expanding your capacity to experience the feel-good ones – like power, joy, and confidence.

This is such an important episode because so often I witnessed women shy away from their own strength and power when they are making progress towards the things they want to create for their life. I have done it myself MANY times.

Have a listen and share with a woman who might need to hear the message:)

Expanding Your Capacity to Feel Wonderful Things

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host, Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.

Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I’m so happy that you’re here with me, I hope 2023 is off to a great start for you. And I don’t know about you, but I am easing my way into the year this year. You know, the older I get. And the longer I coach women, the more acutely aware I have become of the fact that the more of a hurry we are to get anywhere, the less likely we are to actually stay there. And I also really believe that there is an energy to every season that deserves respect. And I know not everyone listening to this show lives in the northern hemisphere. But if you do, it’s winter. And winter is a time for restoration, and reflection, and deep rest. And when we push against those things, in light of our crazy agendas and our mile high to do lists, things don’t go so well. We get ourselves into a lot of trouble, we break down, we get sick, we get burnout, we kind of lose our zest for life. So I hope that you are making time and space in your life for deep rest and reflection as we kick off this new year.

Courtney Townley 1:56
Now the title of this Podcast today is expanding the capacity to feel wonderful things. And what do I What the heck do I mean by wonderful things? Well, a few things. First of all wonderful things, our emotions, all of them. All emotions are wonderful things. And I know some of you might hear that and be like, I don’t think so Courtney, not all emotions are wonderful. But if you really think about what emotions are at the core, they are signs of life. They tell us that we’re alive when we feel something. It’s a sign of life. And man, do we work hard at shutting down our emotional landscape. And I realized why we do it.

Courtney Townley 2:46
We do it to protect ourselves. We do it because we’re afraid of emotions, because we make certain emotions mean things that really hurt. But what we do when we shut down any emotion is we’re actually shutting down life. I know that seems like a big statement. But that’s what we’re doing. And we do a lot of things don’t we to not feel emotion. We first of all, we fear emotion. And because we fear emotion, so much. We avoid it. We numb it, we react to it.

Courtney Townley 2:46
But really, the invitation I have for you this year is to consider that your emotions, all of them are guides showing you the way home. They are messengers reminding you of what you care about and what you’re truly hungry for. They are bumpers that push you back into alignment. I recently went bowling with my family I think it was over Thanksgiving. And it was so funny because the family next to us had a bunch of little kids. And the bowling alley had these really big bumpers that popped up along the side of the lane. So when the kids rolled their balls down the lane, those bumpers just pushed kept the kept the ball in the lane so they wouldn’t go in the gutter. And I feel like that’s what emotions are doing for us. They are keeping us on the path of life. So we don’t roll into the gutters. But we aren’t listening to them. And that’s hugely problematic.

Courtney Townley 4:37
Here’s the other thing. I mean when I say wonderful things. Today specifically in this episode, I am referring to wonderful things as the feelgood side of emotion. I believe all emotions are wonderful things, but I really want to speak to the feel good side of emotion and When I say the feelgood side, I am really talking about things that we do things that we seek out, that promote our well being in very authentic and healthy ways. So I’m not talking about artificially altering your chemistry to feel good. I hope that goes without saying. Because this, this, this Podcast is dedicated to women’s health. And when we are artificially altering our chemistry to feel good, that’s not contributing to our well being. So drugs, alcohol, using food to make ourselves feel better, can obviously be problematic in the long run. So I’ve done a lot of Podcast episodes about the value of leaning into emotions, that get a bad rap, the emotions that we don’t really like to feel because we consider them to be bad, like fear, disappointment, sadness, I’ve done lots of episodes on that topic. And really made a strong case for feeling these things.

Courtney Townley 6:18
In this episode, today, I really want to talk about expanding your capacity to experience the emotions that we actually tend to seek out with things that alter our chemistry, I don’t want you to alter your chemistry to feel these things like pleasure, like joy, like confidence. I want to talk about expanding your capacity to experience those emotions without altering your chemistry. And it’s wild, isn’t it, because we want to feel more of these things. We want more of the feel good. But when they show up in our life, in natural ways that support our well being, we do not give ourselves full permission to feel them. So we miss out on the experience. And then we turn to things like alcohol and drugs and Netflix and food to create the experience of feeling those things. This is such an important episode. Because so often in my career, I have witnessed, women are shying away from their own strength, their own confidence, their own power. Because they are shutting it down. They are the ones who are actually robbing themselves of the experience of feeling these things. It’s not that these things aren’t existing within them. It isn’t that their life is failing to present them with the opportunity to feel these things.

Courtney Townley 8:19
We aren’t fully giving ourselves permission to feel these things. And I have done this so many times in my own life. And one of the examples I have talked about this before, but for whatever reason, this just really stands out as an obvious example in my life. Years ago, I went to Singapore. This was almost a decade ago now to train with Ido portal. And it was a really intense week of training. And we had to lean into a lot of hard things. And it was amazing. It was a movement experience. I got to meet a lot of people challenge myself physically in a lot of new ways. And it was wonderful on every level. But at the end of the experience, I remember Ido saying to us and kind of our closing meeting, that you’re all going to leave here, very charged, because you had a really special week. And you’re feeling a lot of incredible things right now.

Courtney Townley 9:22
And because we lacked capacity to feel wonderful things. He didn’t say it exactly that way. You’re going to do something to block it. You’re going to want to drink alcohol, you’re going to want to stay up really late or kind of marinate and self doubt. And for me it showed up as wanting to just eat all the chocolate. I mean, I can’t tell you how much chocolate I ate after this event. And yeah, I was probably hungry for something sweet but it will way beyond hunger for food or hunger for sweet. I was literally disoriented with feeling that good. And it’s crazy, because I don’t think we talk about this very much. And it is a very real thing. And I have a theory that when we numb or suppress any emotion,

Courtney Townley 10:23
so we numb or suppress our experience of stress, or sadness, we aren’t just minimizing and suppressing that emotion. What we’re doing is practicing, minimizing all emotion. So by by limiting one emotion in your life, all of our emotions in our life take a hit. And I’m sure you have an experience of this that you can think of somewhere in your own life, where you things were going really well, you were feeling amazing. And you did something to push that amazingness out the door, when it really wanted to stick around for a while. As a coach in who specializes in self-leadership skills, that’s really what I teach women is how to lead themselves powerfully. I am a huge advocate for leaning into hard things. Because your journey will be peppered with a lot of challenges and a lot of obstacles. That’s a given.

Courtney Townley 11:40
And like I said before, I’ve done a lot of episodes on that topic. And your journey is also going to be peppered with one dress delightful moments. And if you overlook them, if you fail to acknowledge them, the journey is going to be long and arduous and not a very fulfilling one. So some of you are waiting to give yourself permission to feel wonderful things. Once you arrive. You’ll feel confident when you lose the weight, you’ll feel successful, when you make the money. You’ll feel at peace when fill in the blank. And here’s the truth. The reason we set any goal in our life isn’t so much about the outcome. I know we think it is. But what it’s really about is something that we really want to feel on the other side of accomplishing that thing. And so then we play this game with ourselves, where we literally do not allow ourselves to feel that emotion until we arrive at the destination. And here’s the really flawed part of that. If you don’t practice feeling that emotion now, you will fail to feel the emotion in the way that you think you will once you arrive.

Courtney Townley 13:23
You might feel it for a while you might feel it for a day, a week, a short period of time. But if you haven’t been practicing expanding your capacity to experience that emotion, it’s not gonna last because we get more of what we practice. So we need to start practicing now. Others of you are feeling these things now. You do have moments pollinate into your day a feeling confident, feeling joyful, a feeling really good about life. And then you do something to shut it down. So maybe you don’t feel like you deserve to feel happy. Because there’s lots of people in the world who aren’t happy. Maybe you have people in your household who aren’t happy. So when you feel happy you make happiness means something that literally robs you of your own happiness. I shouldn’t feel this way. It’s not fair that I feel this way when that person doesn’t.

Courtney Townley 14:43
I was talking to a client recently who was hired literally for a leadership position in a company. Totally deserving. Obviously would not have been hired if she was not well equipped for that role. And then started to really question her ability to lead. So instead of riding the wave of getting the job that she was very equipped to take on, and allow that confidence to really move her through that position, she started to marinate and self doubt. She shut it down. I see this a lot with women were great things come into their life, like a job, like a relationship, or they have made an effort to create some kind of result in their life, they’ve gotten really fit, they have maybe lost some weight, they have been making some big changes in their relationships, things are going really well. And then they start thinking on a very regular basis that this can’t possibly last, they start looking for evidence for when the next one when the shoe is gonna drop.

Courtney Townley 16:16
And guess what, when you look for the evidence of why this can’t last, you’re gonna find it, the brain loves to solve problems you give it. So when you are looking for that kind of evidence for why this can’t last, why you don’t deserve this, you are absolutely going to find it and you are going to shut it down. And here’s the other thing. When you are looking for evidence about why something can’t last, you’re essentially worrying about the future. And when we worry, we, it doesn’t feel good in our bodies, right? Worry creates a vibration, that doesn’t feel very good. And we don’t feel good, what do we do, we reach for things that artificially make us feel better, we reach for the food, we reach for the alcohol, we reach for anything that will make us feel better in the moment.

Courtney Townley 17:19
By allowing yourself to fully embrace the great things about your life, to feel the goodness, that comes into your life, without blocking it, without shutting it down, you’re actually probably going to do less things that deplete your well being. The other thing I think that a lot of us do, is we are so focused, we’re focused very hard on the hard. We’re so focused on the hard that we completely miss the wonderful. A lot of us have a habit of feeling the hardness of life of seeking out the hardness of life, of noticing the hardness of life. Because it’s all there hardness is there it is, it is a big part of life. But when we’re so hyper focused all the time, on the challenges on the obstacles on all the things that need to be fixed on all the things that need to be done. We have no space for the wonderful. We don’t make space for the wonderful. We brush right cast it because we’re too busy. There’s not enough time. And we’re really marinating in the heart. That sucks. And I do not believe for anyone listening, that your entire life every moment of every day is hard. But if you are looking for evidence for why it is you will make it hard every moment of every day.

Courtney Townley 19:11
Now inside of my Rumble & Rise community this year, we have a theme and our theme this year is restoring power, restoring our personal power. And I really want to speak just quickly to what power is because people have all kinds of beliefs about what power is. But the way that I talk about power is it is our capacity, our capacity to align our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors in a way that serves the life we want to be living. That’s power.

Courtney Townley 19:43
Power is our capacity to influence our own life. You can’t influence other people’s lives as much as you might like to. I mean, you can influence other people’s lives. You can’t control other people’s lives. Let me just be clear about that you absolutely can influence in other people’s lives, but the only life you can really control is your own. I think most of our mothers or parents or some, some adult, somewhere along the line taught you that. But power is also skills. Power is having the skill to manage yourself in a way that allows you to live a very fulfilling life.

Courtney Townley 20:28
So in January, we’re leaning into this topic of power vision. And part of the masterclass that I taught on Monday for the community was inviting them to really start looking for the evidence in their life of power. Where are the moments in your day that you are feeling joy, that you are feeling strong, where you are feeling resilient, and competent, and curious, and powerful. And I’m inviting them and encouraging them and challenging them to think in this way, because I know it’s not the norm for most of us, most of us are looking for the hard reasons why we can’t reasons why we don’t have time, reasons why this isn’t gonna last. And looking for the power in your life is kind of like bringing your attention back to your breath. If you have ever done even 60 seconds of breath work, and all breath work is is intentional breathing. So if you have ever in your moment, brought your attention to your breath, for just a few seconds, you notice the shift, you notice your body just lightly decompress, maybe deeply decompress. You notice the experience in your body changing. Our heartbeat slows down a little bit, our pulse softens. And we tend to go at life a little differently, when we pause, to notice our breath.

Courtney Townley 22:21
I think the same is true of noticing the wonderful side of life. And this is why I write that the gratitude journals are so big for some people. And gratitude is wonderful. I highly encourage you to look for all the things in your life to be grateful for. But don’t stop there. Look for all of the things, all of the wonderful things that are coming into your life, all of the wonderful things that you are feeling. And let yourself feel those things. Do the work to not shut it out to not block it to not prematurely force it to leave. In episode 144 of this Podcast, I invited Ingrid fatale to the show, who authored a book called joyful, the surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness.

Courtney Townley 23:26
One of the concepts that she introduces in that book I’ve talked about on the show a lot is joy spotting. Joy spotting is going through your day, looking for things that bring you joy. And I just want to take this a step further. Because I think it’s such a brilliant concept. Wonder spot, like all the things in your life, that make you feel strong, that make you feel confident, that make you feel more power filled. That make you feel like you’re respecting yourself. Look for those things. acknowledge those moments. Because when we start building a practice of looking for that kind of evidence, lo and behold, you start getting more of it. There are breadcrumbs.

Courtney Townley 24:26
That’s the way I like to think of these things. The competence, the power, the resilience. These are breadcrumbs, showing you the way to your aliveness, the things that bring you alive. The things that make life worth living. Why would we not build a practice of seeking those things out? And again, I’m not talking about in false ways, because we do an awesome job of that. that we do an awesome job of seeking out artificial joy by overeating, drinking the things eating, you know, consuming the things shopping, watching. Scrolling. Yes, that can artificially change your chemistry momentarily. But that is not what we’re talking about here. I am talking about the deep and true and authentic moments of your life. That make you feel wonderful.

Courtney Townley 25:36
So here’s my invitation. I hope this year, you will extend yourself the grace, of noticing more moments. That make you feel wonderful, in a very pure and organic way. Maybe you’re with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or you’re just sitting with your kid on the couch, or you’re petting your dog. And you feel wonderful. Take note, allow it, let it stick around as long as it wants to. Maybe you, you instigate a conversation at work that isn’t very comfortable, but you feel really needs to happen. And on the other side of that, you feel confident, and you feel proud. Acknowledge that. Be with that. Create more of that. Because you created that it wouldn’t have existed in the world, it wouldn’t have happened, had you not done it. And when we acknowledge the effort we’re making and the byproducts of those efforts, we’re going to do more of those things.

Courtney Townley 27:03
What are you doing in the moments where you’re feeling at peace? Where you’re feeling joy? Where you’re feeling? A lot of self respect? Or you’re feeling a lot of personal power? Where are those moments? What are you doing in those moments? Can you experience those moments without doing something to cut it short. And again, you’re going to notice that you have a temptation to shut it down. You have a temptation to rob yourself of permission to feel good. What if you sought out ways to feel good this year that served your well being and you really allowed yourself to be fully in that your life would be extraordinarily different at the end of the year, I guarantee you that your health would be dramatically improved, your relationships would be dramatically improved. So follow the breadcrumbs.

Courtney Townley 28:18
Follow the breadcrumbs of wonder, have wonderful things. And watch your capacity to feel and experience wonderful things expand. There’s work there I’m not gonna lie. Because again, most of us have made a habit of doing the opposite. But if you do the work, your capacity to experience good emotion is going to expand. I don’t want to say good emotion. I should not say that it’s not good emotion, all emotion is good. But the feel good emotion, we’ll call it that. And when you expand your capacity to feel wonderful things. Your life expands into more wonderful things.

Courtney Townley 29:18
That’s all I have for you today, my friends. If you resonate with the message of the show, if you want to do a deeper dive into the types of topics that we talk about on this show, really putting rubber to the road and not just listening to my words but actually putting this work into action. You’re always welcome to join us inside of my Rumble & Rise community. You can find all about the details by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble I hope you have an amazing week and I will see you again very soon. Take care.

Courtney Townley 29:58
Thank you for listening to the grace grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.



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