When we fail, or get hurt, or feel jealous or angry…when we feel bad about things, we often jump to “offloading emotions” status.
“Offloading emotions” is a nasty form of self-talk that stops us in our tracks.
“I failed and feel terrible” becomes “I’m a failure”
“I overate again” becomes, “I’m fat and have no willpower”
“I lost my nerve” becomes, “I’m a chicken”
“I could have done better” becomes, “I’m a loser”
You can see that there is a big difference in terms of emotional charge when you compare “I could have done better” to “I’m a loser”. Stating “I’m a loser” is a wide sweeping, judgmental thought that hurts…a lot. And for most of us, thoughts like these can be paralyzing.
Like I’ve said before, our thoughts are usually not as truthful as we believe. But we are quick to offload our “negative” emotions to statements like the above.
For most of us, it’s easier to label ourselves than to be curious about our feelings. Being curious about our feelings means being willing to feel uncomfortable. It means consciously staying present to what’s going on with ourselves in those unsettling moments.
But it’s worth it in the long run.
When you are curious about your feelings, you become aware of your self-talk. You’ll quickly notice those harsh words that “voice in your head” is hurling at you. Previously, they went unchecked. But now, when you can actually hear the stories and insults your self-talk is spewing, you can consciously decide whether to believe it or not. And, if it’s not helpful, I say, don’t believe it.
(I wrote an entire newsletter titled “is this thought helpful?”…if you didn’t get it or want to read it again, let me know and I’ll send it to you.)
Start getting curious when uncomfortable feelings come up and try to catch yourself when you are offloading emotions with insults and labels. Start to cultivate more curiosity about what Bulls$%! stories you’re telling yourself.
…Maybe those stories need a rewrite.