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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19 thoughts on “I am vs I feel

  1. We are what we define ourselves to be. If we define ourselves to ourselves as frustrated, our minds will automatically find reasons to create more frustration. If we separate between ourselves and our feelings at the moment, we learn that we’re more than that and we can define ourselves as the complex human beings we are.

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  2. Hi Jacob. Like your blog. This is something that I think about a lot. I guess since I am teaching my kids how to acknowledge their feelings (it is OK to feel angry, frustrated etc.) but they need to then decide what their actions will be and how to process these feelings. If you have not read a book called The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters I can recommend this. Keep writing your blog, there is something powerful about writing what we think.

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    1. Thank you very much Ursula! I’ve read the book and enjoyed it a lot. It speaks of similar things to this from what I remember. And it’s so cool you’re teaching your kids this stuff already!

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  3. Love this! And it’s so true. Have you read Happy by Derren Brown? He talks about similar things, and how we can choose how to define ourselves and how to react to things.This blog was a great read, looking forward to more!

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  4. On the contrary, I like your first sentence Jacob – showed great self awareness. More importantly is your interest in change. We are better when we don’t let our environment dictate our actions. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Very interesting to read when I opened the email from mindscope initially I was just curious to see what you had to say and I am so glad that I did
    You have a very wise head and an open heart
    Thank you for sharing your light with the world through the power of words
    Namaste

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this on mood nudges redirected by Jon cousins. It was JUST what I needed to read this morning, I have been struggling a little with empty nest stuff and hearing about others doing exciting things I wasn’t involved in made me highly jealous(!) – ok admitting it. Thanks for suggesting the reframe of emotion from how I am actually, cooking a tasty curry for my husband and I to eat later(!!)
    A good blog, I plan to revisit, thanks for your wisdom today, Jacob.

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  7. I’m currently reading a book called Peace is a simple step written by a Buddhist monk, it talks about “everything that arises passes away”, like thoughts, emotions, they are not YOU, allow them to be but don’t identify with them, observe them and let them pass by like clouds, the moment you resist them, fight them, don’t want them, you’re pouring fuel on the fire. So your blog perfectly matches with this.

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  8. I came to you from Moodnudges and so glad I have. Your writing is so insightful and even as I was reading your blog, I was nodding. What you say makes so much sense. Thank you Jacob. Long may your writing continue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alison, it’s awesome to hear your thoughts! I’ve just finished the first draft of the next post, it’ll hopefully be hope sometime next week, I’m looking forward to you reading it:) glad I could be of help!

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