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Your Inner Detective  - pathway to emotional Freedom 

The biggest obstacle to most of my clients' healing and recovery is their inability to understand and accept their feelings, and the emotional and behavioral clues that indicate where the problems lie. Most of us learn early that being too open with our feelings and thoughts is dangerous. It can lead to punishment, censure, ridicule, or hurt feelings. In some families, being open and honest about your feelings is like giving other family members ammunition to use against you. Often in school settings, being emotionally open can be seen as being weak, and can get you teased, your feelings hurt, or even get you physically hurt. Therefore, you learn to repress and conceal your feelings and thoughts. Added to this, painful memories are also repressed, because you don't know what to do about them, and it's too painful to allow them to be in your awareness. Years of such suppression of feelings makes it very difficult to open them up later on.
If you're overeating, overspending, over-reacting, having anxiety attacks, temper tantrums, or otherwise out of control, the best way to get back in charge of your own behavior is to find out what feelings and thoughts you've repressed. To accomplish this, you need to develop the sleuthing skills of an Inner Detective.
Developing detective skills
Uncovering your inner secrets requires developing a set of detective skills, similar to those a detective would use to uncover clues after a crime is committed. The difference is that the clues you are looking for are emotional and historical. You're part detective, part anthropologist, and the research site is your own mind. If you can uncover the hidden memories, thoughts and feelings that are at the root of your problem, you can resolve the struggle between your emotional reactions and your rational intentions.
Detectives are not only skilled at their craft, they also have specific character traits, or attitudes that make them successful at deciphering clues. You can adapt these talents, skills and traits to your own use, to search out the hidden thoughts and emotions behind your reactive and impulsive behavior

These Inner Detective traits are: curiosity, persistence, observation, attentiveness, truthfulness, evidence-seeking, reliability, consistency, and a questing nature. Each of these traits can be learned, or are attributes you already possess, but have not used internally before.

Curiosity: Without curiosity, no detective could be very successful. Curiosity is the quality of wanting to know, to ask all the questions. If you apply it to your emotional secrets, you'll want to know what's going on. There is nothing more interesting than what is going on in your own mind and emotions. Being curious about your emotions and thoughts will lead you to understanding and to explanations of things that, until now, have been mystifying. What's underneath your depression, your anxiety, your impulsive behaviors, your out-of-control emotions? Getting interested in what you think and feel, as you would be in what is going on with your friend, your spouse or your children, is the key to finding the information that will help you improve your relationship with yourself, and with others.
Persistence: Persistence is the quality of not giving up, hanging in there, keeping on keeping on until you find out what you want to know. If someone asks you what you feel or think, the instant answer is often "I don't know." But to a detective, it's not an acceptable answer. Only you know your own thoughts and feelings. "I don't know" is the equivalent of "I give up," and a detective doesn't quit. Persistence means not giving up on yourself.

Observation: Extraordinary powers of observation are a hallmark of the effective detective. Observation is the key to noticing important clues: the detective who sees the tiny details (as exemplified by Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nancy Drew or the TV detectives Columbo and Monk) is the most successful. Becoming observant about your own patterns, reactions and feelings will also help you be successful at unearthing the hidden clues. Pay attention to patterns: for example, what happens just before you become anxious or upset? These patterns contain clues about your "triggers" or what brings up the hidden emotions and memories. Observe your physical body sensations-where do you feel the emotion in your body? That spot in your body will be a great resource for uncovering many important clues. Detectives often go undercover, where they become "participant/observers" in a situation where they need to get information.

Reliability: How would a detective get hired to solve crimes if he wasn't reliable? A lot of detective work has to do with making connections that can supply information. In order to establish trust with such connections, a detective must be reliable. To find out what information is hidden in your subconscious, childlike emotional mind, you need to gain its trust in a similar way. By being consistent and reliable about following up on the clues, you'll find that the truth is more and more available to you.
Attentiveness: The attentive detective is not only observant and persistent, but also alert and aware. Attentiveness, being fully present, means you're observant and thinking clearly. Being attentive all the time is impossible, and not even necessary. However, when emotional clues are present, it can make a big difference. If you learn what triggers your emotional reactions, and to recognize the clues that your emotions are taking over, your attentiveness will help you learn what you need to know to take control.
Truthfulness: At times, a great detective may mislead other people (particularly the villain) to get information. But in solving a case, the only thing that works for a great sleuth is the truth. In the words of Dragnet's Joe Friday, they focus on "Just the facts, Ma'am." Successful detectives are always truthful with themselves and about the facts. It might be quicker and easier to solve a case by interpreting the facts in the light of how you want them to be-fudging the truth so it fits the desired outcome. Lazy, incompetent or dishonest detectives can do this, and reach the wrong result. A top-notch detective, however, is scrupulous in looking for the truth about the evidence. It is just as important to seek the truth when you're an inner detective. Rather than settling for an easy answer to why you're afraid or angry, keep looking until you know the truth. Christians learn that the truth is quite easily recognized because it "will set you free." It is a very useful idea whether you're religious or not. Emotional truth does set you free: a type of freedom we psychologists call "release." Clients often say "So that's what it was! I never saw it that way before!" when they uncover the truth.

Evidence-seeking: Curiosity and truthfulness are crucial to good detective work, and there's another related quality that's equally important. Reporters call it "a nose for news." Scientists call it "scientific curiosity." Great detectives have an eagerness to find the facts, to learn what happened. Evidence-seeking is more directed than curiosity and less strict than truthfulness.
Consistency: A good detective has an organized way of doing a search, and follows that process in the same way each time. Detectives are consistent in this way because it means they don't skip steps or miss valuable clues. Consistently and methodically searching for your hidden beliefs and feelings will help you be more effective at finding out what you need to know.

Searching for clues
When you find evidence that early issues are affecting your current life, it's necessary to search for the details of the early events and issues that are still affecting you. Using your detective skills of curiosity, persistence, observation, attentiveness, truthfulness, evidence-seeking, reliability, consistency, and a questing nature, you can uncover the clues that will make it possible to clear up your confusion. By learning how to "track down" dysfunctional beliefs by recognizing the telltale signs, following the clues, and confronting the early traumatic scenes that did the damage, you'll learn to relate directly to yourself, and get in charge of your reactions, habits and beliefs.

Article Source: EzineArticles.

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