Be Exceptional Blog

Are You Getting Emotionally Hooked by Strong Emotions?

Dawn Abbott - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What happens when you feel yourself get emotionally hooked somehow? You feel some strong emotion . . . your heart races, etc. We have an interaction with another person we work with and we immediately make up a story about what that interaction means. Let’s say you are excited about a new idea you have come up with and you share it with your boss and she says, “OK, let’s talk about this later.” You are hooked. You immediately make up a story about what she meant. What you tell yourself is “Oh my gosh, what did I say? I must have totally screwed up; she hates me; they want to get rid of me” or some other horrible version of the truth. We do this because we have all these beliefs that we need to prove are true. We jump to conclusions and this causes trouble. So, the next time something like this happens, I urge you to take these steps. 

Try this process the next time you have some strong feelings and have created a story in your head about what is true. 

  • First, write down the story you created—feel it. What does this feel like for you? Why are you hooked? Why are you thinking about this rather than going about your day?
  • Now, define the feeling you are having (not happy, sad, mad, excited, or scared). Go outside the box, dig deep, and define what it is you are feeling (fear of rejection, inadequacy, resentful of her, worried about if you are doing the right things in your role).
  • Now, know its source: the last time I thought things were great in a meeting and my boss was less than excited about it, I got fired. Or in my house growing up if you were not jumping for joy you were not happy about the situation.
  • Learn from it—so I have created a story to prove I am right about beliefs that I have based upon past experiences, how I respond to comments, a set of beliefs, or the fact that we all think if it isn’t done our way it is wrong.
  • Now, reframe it. What if I didn’t have these experiences? What if she responds totally different than how I expect her to, based on all the things that are true about her? What if I rewrite that first story and tell the truth: “I have no idea what she meant by “OK” and it may have nothing to do with my idea or how I perceived it—isn’t that the truth? You do not know what she is thinking.

Now, what choices can you make based on this new true story? Call her and ask for info on how she felt, if you did anything wrong, or if she's concerned. Or simply assume everything is fine until she tells you otherwise because we are all expected to be adults and act like adults. Or whatever other choices that will allow you to do things differently because you took the time to be a screen rather than a door.

  • Feel it
  • Understand it
  • Know its source
  • Learn from it: I feel that way because…
  • Reframe it: then it doesn’t control me anymore

Brenè Brown says, “ We own the story then we can write the ending.”

 


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