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Why It Isn't Really Your Autoimmune Diagnosis (or husband or kids or boss) That Is Holding You Back

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

a couple blaming each other for problems
a couple blaming each other for problems

How else am I going to feel if my husband snaps at me?

Or my kids sass back?

Or my boss ignores my calls?

Or my symptoms return?

Or a bill comes that I can't afford?

We are accustomed to dealing with emotions in three ways. We resist them, we distract from them, or we react to them. Sometimes more than one at a time!

In some cases,we are lulled into a sense of believing that we have no choice but to react to them.

If you think about the brain, and how amazingly well it conserves energy by using the same programs and thoughts over and over, this is exactly what we should be thinking.

Because if it is someone else's fault, then we don't have to do anything but change them, right?

Because changing ourselves is HARD!

And the brain is very invested in proving the systems in place valid.

And so we go about feeling as though we are helpless (should I say victims?) to these offenses outside of ourselves.

May I make a case for taking control and responsibility for every single emotion you feel?

Just hear me out for a second and see if it could benefit your life in any way.

It has changed mine forever.

The only reason we feel something is because of what we are thinking about it.

We assign meaning to it and THEN we feel something.

We may be fired and not know it until we receive the letter. Then we feel angry.

It wasn't being fired, it was our thoughts about being fired.

Someone else may be fired and they feel elated. They assigned a different thought to the circumstance.

There are some very good reasons why we begin to believe that reacting is actually the right thing to do.

1. "Reacting is a way to express myself with authenticity"

False, love.

It feels good for a moment. But when we rage on out of anger, we are usually trying to change another person, manipulate them to act a certain way, bully them into changing so that we can feel good again.

Maybe we want to feel respected so if we lash out at the teenager who is sassing back, then they will act differently to avoid that reaction again, right? Anger in that situation has a super important message to send.

Sometimes it is alerting us that our pride, our ego, has just been pricked. If we allow ourselves to feel angry for a moment before turning on the teen, we may find the very characteristics that are so offensive in our child, as being the very ones we are demonstrating.

Sometimes it alerts us that an important boundary is being crossed. Without taking a moment to listen, we may miss the opportunity to establish some important protective measures for ourselves.

Giving someone else the responsibility for "making us angry" is a disempowering act. It is not authentic because it is false. We have assigned thoughts to an act and that is on us.

We cannot take responsibility for how someone else feels, but we do not need to be reckless with the souls of each other.

The common question I get here as I coach is, "Does that mean I don't do anything when my child responds back in a way that is seen as disrespectful by society? Should I pat them on the head??"

Great question.

No. This means that you take a moment to evaluate and come from a place of love rather than fear or anger. You will be your best when you are coming from a place of love. As soon as we react because we are afraid of what it will mean about us if we respond lovingly, or what they will grow up to be if we allow them to learn that, etc, we lose contact with our most authentic, creative pieces of us. When you are afraid you go into default mode. You respond in the quickest, easiest way, often the way you swore you never would, because the creative connections in the brain just disconnected. Fear does that.

Hint: Anger is never the first emotion. It always covers a more vulnerable one. What is under your anger?

2. As humans we tend to mirror.

My background is in mental health. One of the techniques of counselors is to mirror the movements of their clients to generate trust. People generally are very social creatures who value belonging and unconsciously pick up the non-verbal signals they are sending out coming back to them as if this person understands. Like they get me. They can then begin to watch the client begin to mirror them as they bring them into a more trusting interaction. We do this, often unconsciously, when others are angry. Or stressed. Or sad. Even babies begin to cry when they hear another child crying.

There are times when we believe that when someone is yelling and angry, that it is the right thing to do to act or feel that way as well.

Or that we don't have a choice but to feel angry if someone is yelling in our face.

But we aren't mirrors. We don't have to be. We get to choose how we feel with the way we are thinking.

We can choose to think that they are having a hard time.

We can choose to think that we won't join them in their hard time.

We can choose to think that this isn't behavior we choose to welcome into our lives.

We can offer to talk when they are calm.

And feel calm inside as we tell ourselves, "I don't need to feel that way just because they do."

3. We think we don't have a choice.