039: Understanding Our Unpleasant Emotions Instead of Blaming Others for How We Feel


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A free tool which brings clarity and relief to strong negative emotions.

There are moments in life which cause some pretty unpleasant emotions.

You say hello to a friend on the street and they walk right by you without saying a thing. You get home from work and your partner gives you a funny look.

Fear, doubt, jealousy, anger, confusion –  no one wants to feel this way.

Without understanding what exactly has triggered these emotions it’s easy to blame the other person (directly or indirectly) for that we’re experiencing.

What we don’t know is that it’s not the entire person which has triggered these unpleasant feelings, it’s a specific aspect of something they’ve said or done which has triggered this response within us.

It’s very difficult to understand this if you’re already within a strong emotional reaction.

What we need is a more neutral view of what has occurred so we can see things more objectively.

Writing is an excellent tool for doing this and can be used to understand the roots of our strong emotional reactions enabling us to take positive action with people instead of blaming them for what we’re feeling.

In this episode, I take you through this technique and outline exactly what to write about and which questions to ask yourself.

Show Notes

  • I use writing to identify what has actually caused me to get upset. 1:54
  • Writing allow us to view an event objectively without being swept into the turbulence of our strong emotions. 4:13
  • My housemate slammed a door and I got really angry but I didn’t know why I reacted so strongly. 5:09
  • I decided to write down the facts of the situation to understand what had happened. 5:50
  • Separating your emotional reactions from the events which occurred allows you to see the event more objectively and begin to understand your strong emotional reactions. 6:34
  • We always have the choice to explore our feelings or just accept them at face value. 7:38
  • 3 steps to exploring your strong emotional reactions.9:03
    • 1. Write down step-by-step what occurred. Leave out how you felt about each event, this is a neutral account of what happened.
    • 2. Underline which event(s) triggered the strong reaction within you.
    • 3. Ask yourself, why did I feel this way when that happened? Each time you ask yourself why did I feel this way about that? You travel deeper into your emotional conditioning and understand what was behind your emotional reaction.
  • Understanding where your strong reaction has come from, it’s easier to talk it through with the other person, proactively and productively. 10:08
  • Without understanding where your emotion has come from it’s very easy to blame another person for how you are feeling. 10:36
  • After identifying what you have reacted to you may not feel the need to bring it up with the other person at all because you can see where you’re emotional reaction has originated from. 11:23
  • Overview of the 3 step writing technique. 12:32

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Featured image by Abi Skipp
Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

The Podcast

The B is for Being Podcast is a collection of conversations with friends, psychologists, and thought-leaders on the most effective tools for uncovering authentic expression and navigating the obstacles we may encounter on the way to discovering ourselves.

About Benjamin

Hi, I’m Benjamin. I podcast and blog about authentic expression and self-discovery. I also make slow-videos for rest and reflection. You can read more about me here.

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