Emotional Reactivity

Take responsibility for your feelings, no one can make you angry or sad.
By blaming other people or situations for your unhappiness, you are stopping yourself from being able to constructively and consciously deal with an issue from within yourself. Similar situations will keep arising until you end the cycle by becoming aware of the true source of your discomfort.
What is your subconscious trying to tell you? What inside of you is causing you to react? What fear does this represent in you?

An example I had a couple weeks ago was when I was director for my lucid dreaming television show for my class at San Jose State. The show didn’t come out exactly as I had planned, and I was frustrated. Afterwards I vented to my boyfriend about how the students in my class are lazy, the teacher sucks, and I’m sick of San Jose State. Then my boyfriend asked me why I’m really upset, and asked how I think I performed as a director for the show. I discovered that I was disappointed in my self and I blamed SJSU and the students when really I felt bad because I didn’t think I did the best I could do. When I looked within at the Undefended Love workshop I found that I have a fear of not being good enough, and that I strive to be perfect in what I do, especially when it comes to my video productions. When my television show didn’t come out as perfect as I hoped it would be, I subconsciously saw that as confirming my fear that I’m not good enough. My personality/ego reacted to that by thinking that the other students or teachers were at fault. This reaction was actually a fear I have about myself that my personality is trying to compensate for by judging others. It may even be true that my classmates weren’t as competent as they could have been, but my strong emotional reaction to the situation wasn’t caused by them.

To help discover your reaction patterns you can practice the following technique in a journal for every time you have a strong emotional reaction.
What happened // What I thought // What I felt // What I did.
Writing in the present tense, try to re-experience the emotional reaction again. Recognize what happened that brought up the strong feelings and look at what you were thinking/judging about yourself and others. Then try to feel how you felt at that moment. What emotions were present, did you feel any tightness or contraction in your body? Then look at what you did after the experience to cope with it. Did you escape by watching a movie, eating ice cream, or maybe the more healthy approach of going to the gym to burn off your emotional energies? After you do this practice for a few weeks you’ll be able to find your emotional reactivity patterns and will have greater insight into yourself.

Once you discover the fundamental fear that keeps arising, try to acknowledge the fear, and feel it completely. Your mind will want to distract you, or to blame other people, but just recognize that you have this fear, create space for it, and try to accept it. After you accept the fear you might feel like you’re in a place of total emptiness inside. Just a few moments after that you will sense a deep sense of relief, and you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted from you.
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