Why am I upset about this? Finding perspective on problems…
Do you ever get upset about something and wonder whether it’s something you should be upset about, or something you should just get over? Do you listen to your gut that might be telling you not to trust, or listen to your head that holds evidence contrary to the gut’s conclusion about the situation? How much of the problem is what someone did, and how much of the problem is your reaction to what happened…let’s try to sort this out.
Why do we get upset about things? We get upset because people do nasty things. We also get upset when something triggers a certain emotion in us that we can’t stand feeling. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to try to determine which category something falls into. More than likely, though, it’s a combination of the two.
- What happened that upset me? If this happened to someone else and they were upset, what would I think of that? If the situation were reversed, what would that be like?
- What is my emotional response? Do I feel powerless, unimportant, helpless, worthless, unloved, rejected or abandoned?…these are some of the most common strong emotional responses.
- Is the feeling I’m having something that comes up a lot for me? Have there been other times in my life when I have felt this feeling? If so, it might be your emotional kryptonite, and you may be feeling something disproportionately to what happened. It might be more your stuff.
Three Baskets… Try to put the incident into one of these three baskets.
Boundaries: Remember the basic rules about boundaries…you can’t change somebody. You can only identify and ask for what you need and let them know how they affect you. This also means being brave enough to hear their concerns and imagine what their experience of you is.
Scaling the problem: If you know something is in basket 1, but your reaction is strong, use self-talk, compassion and empathy to put this into perspective. Tell yourself about the things you want this person to accept about you, remind yourself it’s a 1 on that scale between 1 and 10. Say “let it go”…”I can let this go”…”I choose to let this go”. (See this blog onletting go). Maybe see a therapist to help you sort it all out.
Do you have anything to add to this?