Something happened recently that disappointed me. However, part of me insisted that it wasn’t a big deal, that I was overreacting and that I should get over it and move on. And I did. I mentally high-fived the new easy-going me.
In a conversation this evening, the same issue resurfaces. I receive new information that triggers me all over again.
I end the chat as quickly as I can. I’m just home after a very busy day and I’m starving but I’m too upset to eat. So I fly up to my room and mutate into a wailing, thumping, tantrumming child.
I’m surprised to see that I’m angry. Anger is an uncomfortable emotion for me. I tell myself that I need to calm down.
I put my phone on silent, sit on my meditation cushion and tap on how I’m feeling (click here for more on EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique).
The anger pours out, as does the hurt. I allow the ego to have its say. What it says and how it speaks sounds so petty and silly that I start laughing. Then the tears return. As does the rage.
Even as I write this, it sounds overdramatic. I don’t want to worry family and friends over something so “trivial”.
That stern, no-nonsense part of me wants to assure you that it really isn’t a big thing. But what message would I be sending my sobbing inner child if I silenced her like that? And so I continue.
The tapping uncovers deeper feelings of not being important or special enough. Of being a “psycho”.
I should pretend that I’m fine because if I reveal my real feelings, if I ask for what I want, I will surely and immediately become unloved and abandoned. And if that happens, I’ll feel so bad that everything else will be ruined.
With these imaginations, I’ve catapulted myself from a meditation cushion on a fine Friday evening to a near future of doom and failure. I may need another tool…
So I turn to Byron Katie’s transformative process The Work. The first step of The Work is to come up with a statement which is making me feel bad.
The statement I go for is: I’m overreacting.
I then ask four questions.
The first question is: Is it true? Is it true that I’m overreacting?
Yes, I answer resolutely. Because nothing anyone does should make me feel bad. Only I can make myself bad. So I am overreacting. I should be zen at all times.
The second question is: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Again I respond with a Yes because “I should know better than to react this way”. However, I also know that a No to this question would move The Work along nicely.
Once I give myself permission to say that No, maybe I’m not overreacting, the reasons for why I’m feeling this way become clear. No wonder you’re upset, I comfort my poor inner child. There, there.
Then for question number three: How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
When I believe that I’m overreacting, I reject myself. I tell myself that I shouldn’t feel the way I’m feeling. I don’t have a right to speak up. My needs aren’t as important as the needs of others. And if I act like they are, those other people will become angry and leave.
The fourth question is: Who would you be without the thought?
If I didn’t have the thought I’m overreacting, if I couldn’t have it, I wouldn’t doubt myself so much. I’d be clearer about my needs. I’d know what I want and what I deserve. I wouldn’t beat up on myself and I wouldn’t feel bad for feeling bad. I’d love myself.
This year, I promised myself something powerful, something life-changing:
I will not abandon myself any more.
This evening, in spite of the pain, I refuse to turn my back on myself. I give myself some much-needed, much-appreciated love.
Regarding the situation, I don’t know yet what the next step is. But maybe acknowledging how I’m feeling, getting to the root of these emotions, seeing that I’m as deserving as anyone else, and loving myself throughout is enough.