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From Bitterness to Badassery



From Bitterness to Badassery


The steps to Badassery are not found in clinical textbooks. They come from my personal healing journey as well as from sitting with many clients who are desperately seeking ease, flow, freedom, connection, health, lightness and purpose. In this article, I offer you 3 steps that can put you on the path to liberation.

The art of saying no

When we are in the throes of bitterness, anger and sadness our energy tends to be easily depleted. Strong emotions take up the white space in our brains. The path to badassery calls for you to assess the energy drains or energy vampires in your life and say a kind and firm no. Two letters. One sentence. No.

Life Coach and best selling author, Dr. Martha Beck taught me a quick and dirty way of assessing what and who to put my energy into, especially when feeling depleted. She calls it Shackles On or Shackles Off. Does doing “this thing,” going to that event, or being with a specific person feel like Shackles On or Shackles Off? Essentially do you feel like you are being locked up or set free?

For instance, does your throat close up a little at the thought of mingling with your old cronies at your upcoming high school reunion? Shackles on. “Thanks for the invite, I’ll catch you next year.” Or maybe your needy friend wants to discuss her latest drama for hours on end. “I love you and want you to have peace, but do not have the energy to discuss this right now.”

Do you feel lightness and ease when you say yes to the wine and paint party or to help plant a community garden? Shackles Off. “Thanks. I’ll be there in my pony tail and sweatpants.”

Become a first class boundary bitch. Assess what people, events, or ways of being are sucking the life out of you and learn to say a firm and loving no. Clear nos make way for hearty hell yeses.

Feel it to heal it

With the new space you created you now get the arduous and often scary task of actually feeling what has been pushed down, hidden or repressed. It can feel raw and visceral or like knock-you-to-your-knees grief. It may show up as the dull roar of uncertainty or the watery softness of sadness. Typically we spend copious amounts of time resisting our emotions so feeling them may feel foreign and unfamiliar. There are many ways we push aside and distract ourselves from feeling; overeating, jumping from relationship to relationship, busyness or bouts of binge watching the Housewives of Frederick County. However, what we resist persists.

The good news is there is a beginning, middle and end when feeling emotions. According to neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, it takes 90 seconds.

Dr. Taylor describes the 90-second rule as, “Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run.”

There are many ways to feel.

One thing you can try is simply noticing where the emotion is in your body. It could be tension in your shoulders, a set jaw, or a gnawing stomach. It could be an overwhelming feeling of sadness that feels everywhere.

If you are able to, let the emotion or feeling get bigger.

When tuning into it, see if a color or shape comes to mind. Notice if the energy moves when you just allow it to be there without the need to change it. It takes practice. In doing this, you will learn that you can let yourself feel and survive the feeling. You will feel stronger and more capable knowing how to navigate and handle a strong emotion. Every time you allow the feeling to make it’s way through you, you will notice more internal softness or stillness.

If you need support while feeling to heal, contact a therapist, energy worker, pastor, or life coach to help you navigate. Big feelings often benefit from a trusted other who can help you pick up the messy parts and put them back together.

Intend to forgive

Disclaimer: This step is for Warriors Goddesses of the Highest Order.

No one really likes when I bring this up. But, hear me out.

Now that you have closed some doors on energy sucks, set clearer boundaries and allowed yourself to feel, it’s time to focus on releasing and letting go. This part is crucial.

Let’s talk about the typical messages we get about forgiveness: bury the hatchet, let bygones be bygones or turn the other cheek. The well-known words said by well meaning people indicate that forgiveness is as easy as looking away, burying something or a simply forgetting. However, when major infractions are committed it can zap our hearts and spirits for days, years or decades. With deeper wounding, quickly forgiving, is faux forgiveness. It’s a way to bypass feeling the discomfort or avoid holding someone responsible (I’ve tested out faux forgiveness for you. it doesn’t work long term. You’re welcome.).

You cannot make or will yourself to forgive. However, you can intend it. You can repeatedly and counter intuitively visualize the person in a compassionate way. You can see their flaws and scars or picture them as a small wounded child who didn’t get their needs met.


Author and teacher Tara Brach refers to unforgiveness as “limbic armoring.” Unconsciously, we believe we are protecting ourselves but really it keeps us living in a closed hearted way. Which only affects everything. This is not to say, that it is wise to protect yourself from “them” and set boundaries to feel emotionally or physically safe. However, when we walk around in a perpetual state of holding wrongdoings in our bodies, we eat poison for breakfast, lunch and dinner, yet hope to thrive.

So, protect yourself but unbury the hatchet if it’s still creating pain.

Allow yourself to feel the discomfort, the pain or the betrayal. To truly forgive, we must find the place in us that feels vulnerable. Identify where the hurt lives and what are we believing about it. Acknowledge it. Nurture it without marinating in it. Then, just create an intention to forgive. Give it space and time. Breathe into it. Scream. Sob. Talk. Journal. Draw. Sing. Dance. Spend time with nature.

See if your heart cracks open and lets a little more light in.

Put this on repeat until you are free. Only then can the New Beginning go toe to toe with The End, take a deep bow to honor what once was and release it in it’s entirety.


  • The steps to Badassery are not found in clinical textbooks. They come from my personal healing journey as well as from sitting with many clients who are desperately seeking ease, flow, freedom, connection, health, lightness, and purpose.

  • In essence, I get the privilege of offering clients connection, safety, trust, and hope. My schooling taught a more removed way of interacting with clients, however, I found people heal and change from authentic connection. Education and clinical training are crucial but if a client doesn’t trust or connect with you, it’s more of a cerebral process, not a soul-deep one.