I am vs I feel

I’ve been identifying too much with my emotions.

Quite a deep introduction. But hear me out…

I feel like I let my emotions define me. I can wake up in the morning and for whatever reason not feel too good about things. I would wake up and say to myself, today I am frustrated/upset/angry/anxious. Then I identify with those emotions and ultimately become them. Then throughout the day, that is me. What a waste right?!

I want to share a small trick I stumbled across that really helped me feel better, and really reduce the power of my emotions, and stop overthinking and identifying with them. I’ve called it ‘I am vs I feel’ and is the art of disassociating.

It starts with a reframe.

I’m a strong believer that you are who you are. There’s nothing you can do to change that. Yes you can grow and develop and mature, but no matter what situation you are in or what emotions you are feeling, you are still the same person. You are you.

So, instead of identifying with emotions and letting them define you by saying to yourself, today ‘I am frustrated’. Say instead, right now ‘I feel frustration’. Accept the emotion is there, but don’t let it become you. I am Jacob Harvey, that is me, and sometimes I feel frustration, that’s fine! But that doesn’t mean I am a frustrated person. The power of you never goes anywhere, but you can very easily let the You be blurred by emotion.

Try it now. If you’re jealous about something don’t say ‘I am jealous’ say ‘I’m feeling jealousy’. Don’t say ‘I am angry’ say ‘I’m feeling anger’. Don’t say ‘I am sad’ say ‘I’m feeling sadness’. Think of a negative emotion you are feeling now or have felt recently and apply this concept and see how it makes you feel.

When I applied this to my feelings it almost immediately reduced the power of them, it makes them feel temporary. Now they weren’t consuming my every thought I could get some perspective and think more rationally about them and get along with my day to day life.

Keep the emotions in the box they deserve to be in, don’t let them consume you and don’t let them become you. As said above you are who you are, emotions don’t change that.

We are never going to be able to cure negative thoughts and feelings, but what we can do is try our best to work with them. In the words of author Mark Manson ‘Accept them, defuse them and act despite them’.

The great thing about changing from ‘I am frustrated’ to ‘I feel frustrated’ is that it helps to observe that emotion in a healthier way. You’re still going to feel negative emotions and think negative thoughts, but that really shouldn’t change who you are. Using the I am vs I feel concept makes our emotions seem short term, and it disassociates us from them and therefor allows us to feel happier and not let those annoying emotion things ruin a whole day/week/life time. I’m not saying it’s a onetime cure, but it’s a good start to get some perspective on how you’re feeling, and a great step to dealing with emotions in a happier and healthier way.

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