The Big Lie Going Around in Coaching

Emily Grass
5 min readAug 12, 2022

Are hard feelings really indicitive of being out of alignment?

Open Instagram, and scroll for a minute, you’re bound to see some coach saying the key to your success is feeling good all of the time.

That any hard emotion, is because of a lack of alignment.

I see it so much, it almost feels edgy to admit, sometimes I feel terrible, as I grow my business.

Sometimes I mess up what I’m trying to say, and someone rightly points out my insensitivity.

That’s a good thing.

Feeling a sense of accountability to do better, is in alignment for me.

There’s a big lie going around that says everything should be sunshine and unicorns, and you should feel like you’re floating on clouds in pure ecstasy as you grow a business. (Or do anything worth doing.)

That avoiding feeling bad, and meditating and dancing, and beauty filtering your life until you eradicate every “negative” emotion, is the key to success, happiness, & multiple six figures.

Life is more nuanced than that.

I’m not saying that you should feel like you’re dying all the time.

You should get that checked out.

AND — I’ve bartended in Country Clubs where people pay $30K to golf for three days.

As a group, these people were no more healed, happy, or awesome, then the rest of us.

What gives?

Money can increase happiness, yes.

Not because money is magic, it’s what you use it for.

Plus, hard emotions are part of a happy life.

Waiting to be perfectly healed and feel good all the time is a big reason people get stuck. Some parts of growing a business, facing your fears, and living a human life, feel downright terrible.

On Monday you’re on top of the world and by Wednesday you wonder why the hell you ever thought this was a good idea, and reminisce about when you used to make $200–500 a night serving people cocktails, going home and not having to think about it anymore.

This lie says that,

all of your self-doubt,

your fears,

your shame,

the voice in your head that says you can’t,

your exhaustion.

your triggers,

are unwelcome in the process. That they are not part of being in alignment.

And so we are told to journal, and work on our energy, and meditate, and get massages, and do yoga, and until you only feel better. One day, all of this real, painful stuff we’ve been avoiding creeps in and it sets off an alarm bell within us screaming,

“I don’t feel good all the time, I’m bad, I’ve failed, I’ve done something wrong, I must be out of alignment.”

Be honest. How often has that brought you down?

Well, guess what?

Feeling good is NOT a healthier emotion than feeling bad.

It’s not morally superior either.

Experiencing negative emotions is not something to be avoided, stamped out, or an unnatural state counter to our true joyous nature.

And, erm, if feeling bad were unnatural, why would every single human experience disappointment, sadness, grief?

Why would dramas, and action movies, and every novel ever written include them?

There is no cinematic masterpiece that is people just having a kickass time, meditating, and not facing challenges.

Take any psychology class and you’ll know, negative emotions are part of a HEALTHY LIFE. It’s psychologically healthier to experience the full spectrum of human emotion then it is to be in one perpetual state.

It’s like, why we have access to it.

Negative emotions create depth, connection, and can signal to us what matters.

Having hard emotions isn’t out of alignment.

The good vibes only conversation that keeps being perpetuated, in more and more subtle ways, says that, “if you’re experiencing a hard time get away from me. Because if you only ate more vegetables, meditated more, were more disciplined, worked on yourself more and got weekly massages, then you would feel better and people would like you more. Don’t come to me until you figure that out.”

Bad stuff happens everyday, people die, breakups happen, and feeling that doesn’t make you less then.

Anger has sparked revolutions.

Grew up in poverty, with drugs in the family, some sort of mental or physical limitation?

Overwhelmed by the inequalities of the world, the very real divide in our political system, systematic sexism and racism?

Did you have the hardest year of your life recently?

Are you coping with overwhelming anxiety?

“Well it’s probably that you just didn’t meditate correctly, or that you are wrongly focused. Come back when you are in perfect alignment and perfectly healed.”

Well guess I’ll catch y’all on the flip side then.

The f***?

This is spiritual, emotional, and psychological bypassing.

To say that people’s real, human emotions, that are diverse, complex, and rich in nuance, are not okay if they don’t fit into this idea of how they “should” feel.

Let’s make this simple, you should feel however you feel, and allow yourself to feel it fully.

Not wallow, mind you, really feel it, process, move on.

That’s actually how you get through it, not slapping on a happy face, pretending everything is okay.

Chasing only good feelings, is a form of seeking the eternal high, just like you would with drugs, food, or sex.

You release a serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine cocktail in your system, fun!

Those chemicals need to replenish.

Having hard emotions, and feeling them, not avoiding them, is healthy.

It’s the rollercoaster, the cinematic masterpiece, the captivating story, that has us hooked in.

We keep hearing that the problem is hard emotions.

It’s not. Problems are created by how you relate to them, how you move through them.

“Stay over there with your wounds, your real life experiences, because my sense of well being is too fragile for me to really consider what you’re experiencing.”

If their feel goods weren’t fragile, your real emotions wouldn’t shake them.

“Well I feel good, over here, focusing only on me, doing yoga on an island, and I have photos to prove it. The only reason that your life doesn’t look like mine is that you aren’t perfectly aligned and healed.

Hold you in the full spectrum of human experience as you grow? Nah, come back when you have that sorted, so we can just talk happy feel goods.”

This is rooted in fear, and is built on a false premise that feeling good is a superior state of being.

Negative emotions and experiences are not the enemy. They’re actually what makes life meaningful.

Those emotions that you’re being told to avoid or eradicate, are our source of the richest life you could have.

We are complex, paradoxical, and magnificent beings, having a human experience that gets to be all of the things.

The only way to cast light into the darkness, is to go into the darkness.

Light doesn’t exist without dark. They are partners, but we treat darkness like some secret child, too shameful to show to the world.

The only way to cast light into the darkness is to go into the darkness.

To meet ourselves there, and illuminate what lives there, the abandoned, the disowned, the “shameful.”

And ride this roller coaster with a sense of wonder and curiosity to the complex nature that is the human experience.

That is embodiment, that is alignment.

All of you is welcome.

Thoughts?

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Emily Grass

Emily Grass helps service based entrepreneurs understand their audience & book themselves out. Head over to my website for help. www.emilygrass.com