If you find yourself angry or upset with someone in your life, I made up this short “emotion inversion” process to help you come to a different understanding of the situation and what you are truly upset about.
To “invert” an emotion is to take back the control it has over you. If you feel trapped by the grip of a negative emotion, regaining control of that emotion will give you back your power and maybe even give you the opportunity to cause the emotion to go away completely.
The Emotion Inversion Process*:
1. Think of someone that causes you to feel upset in some way.
2. Describe a specific situation that upsets you with this person, making sure you come up with the emotion you feel. You must limit your description to a very basic cause and effect. Don’t say “because” or give any reason to why you feel the way you do.
“When I wake up in the morning, she makes herself breakfast but doesn’t make me breakfast. That makes me feel _______(EMOTION)”
(don’t say ‘because she should think about me, she’s so selfish’)
“When I say I love you to him and he says thank you, that makes me feel _______”“When my wife goes to lunch with him, it makes me feel _______”
If you come up with several emotions, select the one that has the most impact on you. If you can’t differentiate, just choose one to work with one for now.
3. Without thinking too much about the “why” of this next step, just say to yourself one of the following statements (depending on the emotion you come up with, one will work better than the other. Try both to discover which one works best):
“If I had to be THIS EMOTION at myself for my behavior in this situation, I’d be THIS EMOTION because _______”
“If I had to be THIS EMOTION about something I do in this situation, I’d be THIS EMOTION because I _______”
4. Now ask yourself one of the following questions (use the one that works best, depending on the emotion you are working with):
“What can I do differently so that I am not THIS EMOTION at myself?”
“What can I do differently so that I am not THIS EMOTION about something I do?”
In order to get through some of the challenges in your life, you may need to show up differently. Focusing all your energy on the other person changing will lead to a depressing life full of unmet expectations.
But if you choose to take responsibility for your role in the challenges, you will find that you don’t have to give up your power. You may even learn others don’t have as much control over you as you thought.
The next time you think “That person made me feel this way!” remember you give yourself more options when you focus on what you can do for you instead of wanting others to change.
If you experienced a shift or not, feel free to comment below. I would love to hear how this benefited you or if you came up with better questions to ask yourself.
*There is an auditory walk-through on this process in this episode of The Overwhelmed Brain.