Have you ever lashed out, got very angry, said things you wanted to retract immediately, gotten intensely upset?
This is completely normal.
But it shouldn’t be the norm.
It is considered normal because it is most common in all of us.
However, behaviour like this is far from normal.
What should we do when we begin to lose control of the situation, our mind and what we are saying?
This is a process of self-awareness and then processing whatever it is you discover.
Self-awareness is being able to answer the question, ‘why am I feeling this way?’
The answer to this question is the root reason for your loss of control.
And being able to answer this question either in the moment or very quickly after the moment when you are in a peak state of emotion will allow you to pinpoint the exact thought which is anchored to that emotion.
Let’s think about two examples,
You have a savings pot of £20,000 which you have been diligently saving over the last 2 years. A property investment opportunity comes along, the numbers work, location works, there is tenant demand. The majority of your investment boxes are checked. Your partner says, come on let’s do it. But you get scared and fall silent. You think over this investment for the next 5 days, getting even more annoyed. 5 days go by a someone else has now purchased the investment.
Your wife has been a bit off with you the last couple of months. Generally fine but not completely herself. One day you tell her you are heading out to the pub to watch the football with your friends. And she flips, she starts shouting at you for going out for the second week on the trot. You get annoyed but head out anyway. What you are not aware off is, her emotional explosion had nothing to do with you going out, but something you did two months ago.
These examples are two extremes of the spectrum, which does make it complicated, this peak state of emotion sits on a spectrum of:
How strongly a thought is anchored to extreme emotion.
The anchoring of this thought is strengthened through time and significance of the event.
Example one is strongly anchored
Example two is mildly anchored
And please understand that these are made up examples, but the concept can be applied to any thoughts which you need to process.
Example one is about behaviour around money. The guy cannot make an investment decision quickly even though he has all the relevant information. Why? Because in this scenario he cannot be parted with his savings pot. What is important here is, the feeling that overcomes him when he thinks about spending that savings pot. He gets scared.
This is where the self-awareness is required. When he is at his peak state of fear (scared) what is he thinking? Why is he thinking that? Is that truly him thinking it? Where has that thought come from?
Only he will have the answer, but we are human, and we are all in this together, so there can only be so many scenarios which the root of his fear could stem from:
Parents told him to always save never spend
Money does not grow on trees
He saw his parents struggle for money
He saw his parents lose their savings in the past which later meant family hardship
He has lost his savings in the past
He lost money on a bad investment in the past
(Any of these seem familiar to you?) The next step is for him to identify what it is for him. Let’s say for the sake of this example that his parents lost their savings in the past and then went into hard times.
He really should explore this rationally. Observe himself and process this situation. The reason he is scared to invest his money is because of something which happened to his parents many years ago. That means his frame of reference for money is how his parents managed it many years ago.
So how does he overcome this?
If he processes this rationally, decodes it and understands why he feels fear every time he has to think about spending his savings. He will then be free of this negative anchor.
This will allow him to make decisions in the now. Instead of based on past events which were out of his control.
It really should have been handled when he was a child, at that moment. By his parents, through open and honest communication. However, they would have be going through their own significant event to have realised the damage it was doing.
This is an example of a strong anchor because it happened so long ago, the root is hidden away in years of life.
Let’s look at example two.
This sits on the opposite side of the spectrum to example one.
When you speak to your wife the next day you ask her to be open and honest and tell you why she shouted at you. She explains that 2 months ago at a party you went to with your friends, you went to the bar and bought your friends a round of drinks and didn’t think to get her one. (easily done guys). It angered her at the time but thought she had gotten over it.
This is an example of something small blowing out of proportion. But why did she then shout at you 2 months later?
Again a fictional example, but it could have been the very fact you was seeing your friends and drink was involved.
The thought attached to the night at the party is anchored to the feeling of anger.
Can you see that every time going forward, whenever you see your friends and drinks are involved, she would be angry?
This is an example of something recent, something small which potentially could become massive over time. To a point where the original reason becomes foggy.
In this instance, your wife would need to process this feeling and thought. Why am I getting angry right now? Oh dear, it’s linked to that night at the party. Let’s just openly talk about this so I can detach this thought from that feeling.
Seems simple right?
Just work out the thought which is anchored to a peak state of feeling/emotion. Then process it.
Sometimes you may hear these scenarios referred to as limiting beliefs, blocks, significant emotional events.
Depending on where they sit on the spectrum, they become harder to deal with.
But the two things that help process these situations are:
Open communication with yourself and others around you