Keeping Negativity at Bay: How I Deal with Client Negativity As an Empath, Spiritual Life Coach and Healer

One of the first questions my students ask me when we dive into the personal healing module of my Spiritual Life Coach Certification for Badass Butterflies program is how I deal with the negative energy that plagues my clients.  These budding coaches want to know how I protect myself and keep myself from being sucked down the rabbit hole of depression, anger and emotional exhaustion.  Obviously, I’ve been doing this a long time and there were times when I saw over 20 clients a week.  Look, I love my work, but that rigorous pace was tiring and not at all sustainable.  I’ve structured my business very differently now, working in groups and seeing fewer one-on-one sessions and also, I’ve truly learned the value of what I bring, so I demand a higher investment.

The thing is, the real solution lies in my compassion, empathy and self-care. That’s really the best way to transmute and process all the stuff that crosses my doorstep in the course of my coaching workday.

I’m a negative emotions Badass!

In my own personal life, I’ve not only lived with negative emotions, but been driven by them. On the surface, I’ve been very happy and successful. But that happiness and success always came with a price.  Something would always happen to take away my happiness and so I lived my happy times wondering what danger was around the corner.

In my spiritual philosophy, the experiences I have in the three-dimensional life are outpicturings of my inner state– my thoughts, beliefs and focus.  When I started getting deep into my spiritual practice, what I noticed was that while I was living a superficially joyful life, there were always these mean little disempowered thoughts and negative limiting beliefs that were constantly niggling away at my good mood.  Let me give you an example.  I spent a few months living with some relatives while I was on lockdown (what I affectionately call my ‘coronavirus staycation’) in California. One of my relatives did something that made me think she was uncomfortable with my presence in her home.  On the surface I was trying to be happy that I was living with ‘family’ and in trying to really make this real for myself, I went about my days trying to engage this ‘family’ member in conversation and trying to somehow either prove or disprove my theory.  Now, it would have been fine if this was a matter that resolved itself in one day.  But it didn’t.  I ended up staying with those relatives for six months and during that entire time, the limiting belief I had (I am not wanted here) and its offspring of disempowered thoughts played over and over in my mind. Every time I saw this relative, the negative belief would trigger and then the chatter that fed the belief would play on repeat. UGH! I was knee-deep in shadow.

Now, as a Spiritual Life Coach, I would coach my client in this way:

  1. Sit with the negative emotions that are coming up.  Hold space for yourself as you unconditionally experience them fully without trying to change them in any way. (This first step is usually enough to completely change the client’s perspective because usually they are projecting their own objections to themselves onto other people. Sitting with the negative emotion takes all the pressure off their own inner criticism and frees up their energy for their authentic being to come through… which is peaceful and loving. Otherwise, I’d have them move onto step 2.)
  2. Explore the belief.
  3. Find the core belief that is the root cause of the superficial one.
  4. Do the process to transform that belief.
  5. Integrate the new belief.

At this point, it would be up to my client to condition themselves to the new belief and to create new neural pathways in their brains through this conditioning.

Personally, I LOVE self-improvement and doing spiritual work.  I love looking at my shadow and doing the work necessary to transform my mindset. This is what makes me Badass Butterfly.  I love diving deep into my own emotional and energetic crap and finding the source of the pain so that I can work it. I do this work regularly on myself.

But have you noticed how sometimes things take a really long time to heal? Like with my relative, I kept trying to deal with my crap early in the beginning, but it took me MONTHS to get the momentum I needed to make real progress. Really, my breakthrough came because I finally  just got SO sick of hearing my own negative thought tape playing over and over in my head.  I got tired of dissecting her various behaviors and I got tired of watching myself try to get her to welcome me.  So finally, I just did the work on myself, had the breakthrough and then was able to leave the situation with a good, clear conscience.

The negative emotions I felt during that six month period were painful and they really took a toll on me.  They clouded my vision, obscured my creativity and drained my energy. They made me act weird.

Negative emotions make it really difficult to get grounded and peaceful within ourselves. Yet, negative emotions are valuable markers that can (when we consciously use them) help us get really clear about what it is we truly desire in our Soul.

Starting from the minute we are born, we all experience a wide range of emotions. Some of these emotions are positive, and some of them are negative. ALL of them are natural.  Positive emotions give a sense of fulfillment and boost our motivation and confidence. Negative emotions, on the other hand, demotivate us and put obstacles on our path to personal and professional growth and success.

It’s important to remember that emotions are energy in motion and all energy in motion is attractive. Our emotions attract whatever is vibrating at their same frequency.  So a negative emotion such as fear of failure or fear of the unknown will attract things that reflect that energy. Fear of failure might create a void of opportunity to grow and expand in your life. Fear of the unknown might find you repeating patterns that you already know and that keep you in your comfort zone. These are not great if you have any ambitions to say, write a book or bring in a six- or seven-figure income.  I definitely want to encourage you to awaken your inner Badass Butterfly and make a commitment to designing your own personal healing system.

GAH!  How do feelings and emotions work together?

As a life coach, you are not immune to negative emotions. After all, you are here to experience life as a human being with feelings. Even though both of these words are often interchangeable, there is a big difference between feelings and emotions.

Feelings are related to your perception of the world that surrounds you and how you relate to your own body and energy. They are conscious responses. You can feel pain, or you can feel tingles, or you can feel tired.

Folks often mistake feelings with emotions most likely because of simple linguistics (should I really be saying simple linguistics??  Hahaha!  Linguistics are anything but simple!) We use the same verb “feel” both for physical and psychological situations. Feelings can also be caused as a response to an emotional trigger. But in general, feelings are more conscious, like feeling hot, or sick. I often ask my clients how they feel and 90% of the time they launch into what they think about how they feel. Feelings are experiential and so I ask them to first experience what they are feeling both physically and emotionally and I ask them to talk to me from the place of feeling what they are feeling, as opposed to censoring what they are feeling.

Emotions are, in general, subconscious responses to situations like anger, sadness, anxiety, or panic, for instance. These are all connected to our unconscious mind and manifest themselves as reactions to whatever we perceive and/or receive emotionally. Emotions are chemical responses.

Most folks HATE having negative emotions and they hate feeling negative feelings, even though it’s a natural part of life and it’s happening all day long for most people. They don’t feel safe in their negative emotions because they’re viewed as bad or somehow inferior to positive emotions.  Nevertheless, everyone experiences them. If emotion drags you down, gives you a sense of unhappiness, unease, it is a negative emotion and somehow wrong. Since we can’t escape these negative feelings when they arise, we need to learn how to turn them into positive outcomes. This way, we can learn from a negative experience, and develop a habit to use it constructively. Instead of giving into the negativity, we can choose to stand up to that energy and deal with the root causes of those emotions with tools like shadow work.

By the way, I want to invite you to take my masterclass called Healing the Healer: 3 Powerful Tools for Healing, Transformation and Self-Realization. In this class, I give you three mindset-blowing techniques to help you overcome any negativity that comes into your life. This is powerful medicine channeled directly from the 8th dimension so come and get your LOVE.

The impact of negative emotions on Spiritual Life Coaches

When you interact with your clients, you will be exposed to a wide range of negative emotions, thoughts and destructive behavioral patterns. When your practice is thriving, you’ll find yourself talking about pain for hours every day. Ha! Your clients would not need your guidance if they did not feel weakness or hopelessness. AND of course, you’re most likely an empath so you are picking up on their stuff consciously and unconsciously and if you are not doing your own purifying work, you’re integrating their feelings, emotions and behaviors with your own! To help your tribe deal with their negative thoughts and emotions, you will need to ultimately learn how to transmute the feelings that drag you down. I’ll talk about that in another article.

In her book “Dealing With Clients’ Emotional Problems in Life Coaching” Windy Dryden says: “If you know anything about jazz, you will know that before you can skillfully improvise on your chosen instrument, you will need to play it properly. This requires you to play and learn musical scales and chords. When you have done this, your improvisation will be based on a sound foundation.” In other words, as a life coach, you need to have mastered your attitude around dealing with negative emotions so you can provide help for others.

Does this mean you need to be perfect in your own life? NO WAY.  It does, however, mean that you need to be perfectly willing to regularly do the spiritual practice, emotional wellness and shadow work you need to keep you healthy and resilient to the negative situations that will come across your screen every day.  Spiritual practice, emotional wellness and shadow work do not make you perfect. But they do make you knowledgeable and dextrous when it comes to dealing with the pain of your clients. I always say that I don’t ask my clients to do what I don’t do.  I’m not saying that I do my work perfectly, but I do walk my talk. Take a moment, Beloved, and ask yourself some questions. What are some of the pitfalls you face when you’re dealing with your clients’ negative emotions and thought patterns? Have you ever dropped your basic protection cloak and found yourself caught off-guard and sliding downhill into negativity overload? How have these negative emotions impacted your professionalism as a Spiritual Life Coach? If you’re triggered by anything you’re reading here, you should answer these questions in your journal, otherwise, just contemplate them for a moment.

Some pitfalls that Spiritual Life Coaches and healers face in their work

Of course, you know you’re going to face challenges in your career like everyone does. Some challenges will be bigger than others and they will feel like great big old obstacles on your path.

  • You might feel like giving up because you are not successful enough.
  • Maybe you will feel so drained and will have a hard time to find enough motivation to face another session.
  • Maybe you find it really hard to organize yourself so that you can do all the different things you need to build a success practice.
  • UGH! Maybe you said something to your client that triggered a negative response and they brutally confronted you about it.
  • Perhaps you enthusiastically made a post and someone criticized you publicly.
  • OH! You created a program and launched it and nobody bought it. YIKES.

Seven awful feelings that many Spiritual Life Coaches and healers face in their careers

Defeat. All of the above scenarios are very real experiences that many coaches face at some point in their careers! But one of the toughest negative emotions Spiritual Life Coaches and healers face is feeling defeated. Many things can cause you to feel this way. Your EXPECTATIONS are probably the biggest culprit in this! Have you been trying for a long time or have you just started but are expecting quick results? Especially if you recently quit your 9 to 5 job and put all your energy and savings into your new business. Ooooh!  Unrealistic expectations can make you crazy and send you spiraling downward FAST.

Client Deficit. Maybe you are not good enough at finding clients and advertise yourself or maybe you don’t have a good enough online presence. Whatever the reasons may be, you are not alone. Many coaches face this problem and find themselves in this situation at some point in their careers. On the one hand, you are trying to help people, but on the other hand, you are trying to sell yourself, so they hire you. These two feelings can cause friction with one another and drain your energy! Many people don’t know how to deal with this as professional coaches, and unfortunately, they give up.

Uncreative. Feeling depressed due to lack of creativity and inspiration is another tough challenge that professional healers and Spiritual Life Coaches face daily. Our work requires a good dose of creativity. Your personal touch, your unique ways to guide and help people are what sets you apart from the other practitioners. In a sense, it is a form of art. And the joy of doing this work is that you can deliver it in so many different ways.  You can be a Spiritual Life Coach in the comfort of your home by doing it online– and oh the joys of creating an online community. And if you don’t like working virtually, you can take your job outdoors and plan different activities with your clients. It can be a meeting at a restaurant or a coffee shop, it can be a walk in the park or a hiking trip in the afternoon. You can also create your own studio or office and invite people in for an experience.

Scattered Energy.  You might also feel lost because you can’t determine a good niche for your business. Not niching is a disaster waiting to happen because it becomes very difficult to wield your energy.  Niche is everything. Be as specific as you can be. Do you want to help people over a certain age? Do you want to help mainly women or men? Do you want to address specific problems like marriage or relationship? Do you want to help people to get to the next level in their business? Do you want to do one-to-one coaching or do you want to be a group coach? You need to determine exactly where your strength is. Once you can manage to do that, you will see that the creativity will flow easier than you think.

Unconfident.  Do you feel a lack of self-confidence? Are you suffering from imposter syndrome? Whether or not you have the education and certificates needed to become a Spiritual Life Coach, you might feel intimidated by how much competition there is out there, and it can be a tough feeling to deal with. Fear of failure and lack of confidence are two things most coaches and healers face commonly. You are not alone. This is where you have to get clear in yourself.  Answer these questions:

  • Why would anyone want your services?
  • What makes you think you have what it takes to start this business?
  • What if you can’t help people the way you hoped you could?

These questions really need to be answered in depth and with heart. So pull out your journal and tuck in.

Poor Rapport.  You can also try simple NLP techniques to boost your self-esteem and regain your powers. For instance, do you speak the same mother tongue language as your client? To create a strong rapport with your clients you need to understand how to use your body language and how to choose the right words. That’s why having a specific niche is important because it will give you the opportunity to develop specific communication skills. NLP encourages you to focus on the outcome. Your clients want to see an outcome. NLP teaches you how to be flexible and look at things from different perspectives. Try to use mindfulness meditation techniques to become aware of what is happening around you and what is happening in this present moment. It helps you distinguish between what is important and what is not. Once you develop strong rapport skills, you will see that your clients trust you more and listen to you more carefully. Try the dissociation technique for instance. Identify the negative emotion. Whatever that may be: fear, anxiety, anger, panic… Imagine you are watching yourself on a big movie screen and you are examining yourself. you are now the observer. When you start observing your feelings and emotions, you will start to see a change in the way you experience and reflect them. It helps you distance yourself from negative feelings almost instantly. When you deal with other people, try using the mirroring techniques. Because people are drawn to other people who are like them. This technique might work well when you are trying to sell your services to potential clients. You learn how to mirror someone’s body language or their words. You can repeat their sentences mixed within your sentences to give them the impression that you are valuing their words and listening to them carefully. It makes the other person feel heard and understood. Mimic their moves. But please don’t be a parrot.  Take in their words and repeat back to them what you have understood.  For example, you might say, “Susan, I believe I heard you say…” or “Tina, I understand..”

Undervalued. Another negative emotion a Spiritual Life Coaches and healers experience often is the feeling of being undervalued by their client. Many new business owners set their pricing too low because they don’t understand the value they bring to the marketplace.  This can be totally reflected in your practice. You can have folks who pay you very little and instead of acting gratefully, they act unappreciative.  This is all stemming from the coaches mindset.  That’s the first rule.  But then, accept that not everyone can be coachable. Some people are simply arrogant, some people will always be argumentative and there is nothing you can do about it. Some people downright insult you because they pay you so they feel like they have the right to do or say whatever they want. In these situations, know that it is OK to end the relationship or coach and coachee interaction. It is OK to deal with difficult people but you don’t have to accept the disrespect and insult. Knowing you have the power to lead the interaction and you have the absolute right to say NO, will make it easier for you to set your boundaries and not let others step all over you simply because they pay you. And of course, Beloved, get your prices up so they reflect your excellence.

If you are just beginning your career as a Spiritual Life Coach, don’t quit your day job until you have created a sustainable income from your coaching sessions. When you quit your 9 to 5 job too soon, you are setting yourself up for stress and panic, and both of these emotions are a recipe for failure. Learn to be patient and don’t expect overnight success. Especially in the life coaching world, things take time, but the effort to get there is well worth it. And of course, getting expert help from a mentor who knows their stuff and has a systematic approach to teaching you to thrive helps. YEP!  I’m talking about my Spiritual Life Coach Certification for Badass Butterflies program.  I’ve got a five-month accelerated version and a 10-month version for those of you who need more time. Check out the program and then book in a complimentary Discovery Session to discuss your coaching vision and to learn more about it.


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