We typically react in three ways when our needs aren’t met: we get big, we get small, or we run. Maybe you’re that person yelling at the barista because your morning coffee was two degrees too hot. Or the person who jumps from one commitment to the next, never quite seeing one through.
In either scenario, these responses allow us to avoid the harder questions. The outstanding questions or concerns in our lives that are much more easily treated with anger, drama, or distractions. But your needs will fight you till the death to be heard. To be taken care of.
I despised yelling when I was a child. And the way a harsh tongue only left me feeling fearful and uncertain. Yet, as an adult, my tendency is to “get big”. Though I don’t want to be a harsh person, quite the opposite, I yell when I can’t seem to get the right words out. When I don’t have the emotional vocabulary to speak to my needs, my true feelings. And the guilt and shame follow like clock-work. But the behaviors we learn as children get coded into our psyche whether we like it or not. And the burden of change, of writing over that code, is on us.
An old teacher of mine taught me how to interview my feelings. Like, go on a walk by myself and literally interview the anger/hurt/anxiety to ask them what they’re trying to tell me! This allows me to separate myself from my feelings for just a bit. Just long enough to steady the rapid-fire thoughts and temper them. By the end of the interview, I’d get a chance to understand what my feelings are telling me. Whether I need to ask for support, work through an insecurity, or get honest with myself or someone around me.
This week, I challenge you to interview your own feelings. In a true courting format, as though you are dating them. Ask them why they’re vying for your attention. If anxiety is a regular visitor of yours, there’s a reason. Allow that feeling to be heard for a moment. In truth, this is an exercise in listening to oneself. And syncing up with your needs. Try and it out and let me know how it goes.
Unconditional Love, Accountability, Community
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community