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?”
If this process works for you, you’ll notice that responsibility for the emotion that you are having will fall on you. This can be tough for some people to accept because we always want to say, “So and so caused me to feel this way!” To a certain extent, that can feel as true as the sky is blue. In reality, depending on where we are inside when something challenging happens to us will cause us to react in a certain way.
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.