SELF IMPROVEMENTHow to deal with negative emotions. (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by merel--

I see that quite a few women over here struggle with issues controling how they express their emotions. I know I have a tendency to implode sometimes...

Shutting the fuck up is easier said than done, but how do you do this? Some will try to distract them self or push their feelings away. These aren't tactics that work for me, I sometimes even feel more jealous, angry or sad.

What I do is I visualise my negative emotions as a child, an extremely upset child. Then I will visualise an adult going up to the child and giving her a big hug, telling her: "It's totally fine and understandable that you feel this way. Don't be too hard on yourself!" etc. Being there with her, calming her down, not making her feel even smaller. This is so self loving that I feel instantly better sometimes and I can address the problem in a calm way instead of being reactionary.

You don't blame yourself for being upset, you accept that you are a human with feelings but your feelings do not rule you, they do not make you do stupid shit. The 'adult you' rules what you do, not the emotional child.

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 24 points25 points  (11 children)

Another way is to train yourself in emotional intelligence. I took a class on this and it got me through my first job.

Set an alarm and stop periodically and spend 15 minutes writing down the exact emotions you’re feeling. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to even label your emotions if you’re low in emotional intelligence. (Maybe spend two weeks doing this)

Example: I’m feeling fear and anxiety.

Once you’re able to name those emotions over time, then change the exercise to stop periodically and spend 15 minutes labeling your emotions and why you feel that way.

Example: I’m feeling fear because I don’t want to mess up and look stupid. I’m feeling anxious because I’m also afraid of annoying people by asking for help.

This, again, takes more time to develop, as it’s a skill. (Spend two weeks doing this.)

Spend another two weeks validating your feelings every day.

Example: I’m feeling fear because I don’t want to mess up and look stupid, and that’s okay because I’m new at this job. I’m feeling anxious because I’m also afraid of annoying people by asking for help, and that’s also okay because I don’t know who to ask what questions to.

After you’re an expert at acknowledging and relying on yourself to validate your emotions instead of others, then re-frame your emotions into something positive. This takes time. Lots of time. Months, even.

Back to example:

I’m feeling fear because I don’t want to mess up and look stupid, and that’s okay because I’m new at this job, but by the time I get through this, I’m going to be able to do this stuff without thinking about it. In the meantime I’m going to find my coworker and see if they have tips for me.

I’m feeling anxious because I’m also afraid of annoying people by asking for help, and that’s also okay because I don’t know who to ask what questions to, but by the time I’m an expert at my new job, I’m also going to learn a lot about interpersonal communication and I’m sure people are a lot more helpful than I imagine they’re going to be. I’m going to ask Tina in marketing if she knows anything about this product line and maybe ask her to lunch.

The most important thing is to reframe to something positive and create a simple actionable plan to make it better.

The reason why this is done periodically is because once you’ve started having an emotional response( IE panic attacks, sad, angry, desires to have an outburst, etc) then you’ve allowed your emotions to go unaddressed for too long. Ignoring and bottling emotions causes outbursts, which is a codependent behavior and is a way of seeking validation for your emotions from outside sources. Learning to be self-reliant and being able to acknowledge and self-validate your own emotions allows you to be self-sufficient.

[–]merel--[S] 8 points9 points  (5 children)

I think my way works better with the more visual people and your way works better if they are more logical or verbal thinkers.

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 4 points5 points  (4 children)

That’s fine, but this is not my way. This way is taught by psychologists. :)

[–]merel--[S] 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I also got quite a bit of inspiration on my way but shhhh ;)

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My lips are sealed lol

[–]GingerDoughGirl 2 points3 points  (1 child)

OP is using more of a gestalt technique and this comment talks more about cognitive behavioral type approaches. Both can be highly effective depending on the person. I never tried the gestalt visualization stuff until a professor made the class do it as part of a unit in a theories of counseling class. It surprised me how helpful it was because I typically lean more on the logic oriented CBT approach.

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The visualization route doesn’t work well for me but I’ve seen it work very well for others. I figured that those who are looking for help with their emotions might benefit from this option if they don’t find that they are the type of person who benefits from visualization too.

I think it’s very interesting and it just goes to show how unique all of us are!

[–]cleopatrassecret 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I really like this. I feel like I do this often but I've never seen this explained this way.

[–]rp_newdawn 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I’ve read this elsewhere but always wondered about its real world applicability. Would being proficient in this method help reduce emotional instability? Or is it more recognizing and reducing the effects of the swings?

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Both? Basically it’s teaching you learned self-awareness, empathy, and coping mechanisms.

[–]Lilviscious 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Great piece. I've also been spending more time rationalizing what causes me to experience certain emotions. I've started a new job last week so your example of feeling fear for not doing well the first time resonates strongly with me, and reframing my thoughts, explaining to myself it's okay to feel this way and that the feeling will also pass, is exactly how I get through sleepless nights!

[–]stripethrowaway2 Stars 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good luck on your new job!

[–]starterpax 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I use this method and it is useful for being able to 'step outside' yourself and challenge irrational/emotionally-charged thoughts.
Personally I get mad at myself for the frequency/intensity of negative emotion and blame myself for not having a better handle on it. So an important addition is not trying to talk myself into feeling better, or rationalise myself out of my worries (and trying NOT to worry often ends up backfiring - this page explains it). So my goal becomes maintaining unconditional, present acceptance of the emotions - BUT with enough detachment that they don't affect my actions. It is sometimes pointless to try to control how you feel or what thoughts you have, better to shift control onto how you react to it.

[–]merel--[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It is sometimes pointless to try to control how you feel or what thoughts you have, better to shift control onto how you react to it.

Definitely!! When I first started reading here I thought controlling your feelings was the point of STFU. But, you just can't do that, not in a sustainable way anyway.

[–]Lizziloo87 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I love this! I’m going to try this now!

[–]vanBeethovenLudwigEndorsed Contributor 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I'm someone that has perpetually locked my negative emotions inside myself and either put on a "happy face" or dissociated. It led to some dire consequences - such as explosions and tantrums.

I found that ranting and letting out your feelings (when appropriate) to a trusted friend can REALLY help. Bottling up everything inside makes it worse.

Additionally, learning ways to either - diplomatically set boundaries or tell ugly truths (actually a very creative exercise in itself!) is a more mature way to deal with things, if it's conflict resolution. This takes emotional CONTROL. Mindfulness exercises - first being aware of the emotion you are feeling and trying to let it go. Secondly, reflect on any conflicts or tantrums you had in the past - what are ways you could have reacted better? Always use real life situations and come up with solutions, even if it was in the past.

You can either react with emotions or with words. Emotions usually take precedent during negative situations. Start trying to channel that energy into formulating more tactful and more mature words - that way you can still express negative emotions but without throwing a tantrum.

Otherwise, I still go back to my first suggestion - let it out to a trusted friend, unload all of your heavy weights - cry it out - we're human after all!

[–]merel--[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think you should also learn how to calm down by yourself, you don't have a listening ear available at all times. It's really great that I can always come back to an issue without being crazy just for being present with my emotions for a while, I don't feel a need to rant to friends about anything insignificant.

Do you tell yourself ugly truths while in an emotional state? This only scares that little girl inside of you, to shut her up with fear tactics instead of love. So, it's fine to see the facts of everything but only after you've calmed down.

[–]companyllc 0 points1 point  (1 child)

What works for me is forcing myself to see the other perspective or play devil's advocate to whatever I am thinking or feeling. It took a while to get into that habit, but now I automatically go there as soon as I start getting emotional.

For instance, last week a coworker stood me up for a meeting she set up where I would help her with a huge favor. I instantly got mad when she was late - I was nice enough to help her and she can't even be bothered to show up!

Then I thought through how there are a million things that could have caused this that are out of her control, it's not like her to do this so I should give her the benefit of the doubt, I have been late or missed similar meetings before and should be more understanding.

Turns out her car was broken into that day and she was dealing with insurance and the police report. She did not have my number and had asked another coworker to tell me that she wouldn't be able to make the meeting, but that coworker forgot to pass on the note.

But whether the person is really "at fault" or not when I feel slighted or angry about their actions, I still try to approach the situation with patience, understanding, and an appreciation for their perspective. Huge change for me and definitely not easy, but I think it has made me a better person!

[–]merel--[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think this is great to think about AFTER you've calmed down. If every time you feel upset you say to yourself you're not allowed to be upset because the actions of others may not be intentional, that is minimizing your feelings. You are basically convincing yourself you are overreacting and that is not self loving. Be careful with that.

[–]WhisperTRP Founder 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The point of STFU is to insert period of time between feeling something and saying something.

When you start to practice this, you will notice that how you feel when you first wanted to say something, and how you feel later when you do, are different.

Which means that what you say will be different as well.

[–]merel--[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If you are very very angry you don't want to wait to scream at your partner. Coping mechanisms are necessary to STFU. Which is why this advice always annoyed me, I didn't know how to follow it.

It's like saying to a kid "here's a car, you're supposed to drive it. Good luck!" instead of teaching them how to actually drive the car.