Have you often wondered why your colleague was so snappy or your spouse did not pay attention to you or your child burst into tears over an inane remark from you? Have these reaction kept you preoccupied or even awake at night wondering what you had done wrong? If yes – read on.
One of the main contributors to stress is the way we process our emotions. Emotions are not just feelings, they are physiological sensations which cause us to interpret events and interactions on the platform of our perceptions. We experience many negative emotions because we have a dialogue going on in our heads about what people think, why they say what they say to us. It causes heartburn and sleepless nights and yes, anxious moments.
As a psychologist I know that people usually react because of who they are and not because of any plan or preparation or intention to cause hurt. Behavior is an outcome of the the perception of stimuli . These perceptions have formed over years, beginning in childhood. Eventually a person’s behavior is a sum of these perceptions and what the person is experiencing and processing at the moment. It may not have anything to do with you or what you said. Therefore before we get upset, offended, angry, sad etc. because of seemingly unwarranted or incomprehensible behavior we need to ask ourselves – what really going on here?
“It’s not personal, Sonny.” This is part of a dialogue from the movie iconic movie “Godfather” . Of late, I have been using it a lot in a different context .
In the interactions with others in various settings in our life we have often been left wondering what the other person thinks of us, why they said a certain thing and eventually – Is something wrong with me? We tend to make the reactions we get about us. We beat ourselves up and make ourselves miserable.
Of course we all want to know how to manage such situations when we encounter them. In his TED talk(shared below), Frederick Imbo explains this occurrence and gives us tools to handle our thoughts and emotions.