Anxiety, overthinking, self-doubt, etc. more often than not, that is NOT the real problem!
You tell me that you need to fix anxiety, stop overthinking, get rid of self-doubt, etc. right?
And how did that work? It didn’t work, at all. It just creates more mental chaos and more of those things you want to get rid of
But do you actually know what is the REAL problem? 😏
Let me share with you what is the REAL problem which is so subtle and counter-intuitive that you’d never think that that’s the real problem, but it is
Here are the real ‘problems’:
✅ You don’t trust your ability to handle emotions
✅ You don’t trust that emotions are going to pass and you believe they’re going to stay, so you fight them with overthinking and getting anxious “what if they’ll be stuck in me and wont go away”, etc. and ‘fix’ emotions
✅ You think that if emotions catch you off guard something bad will happen (being made fun of, being laughed at, being controlled, embarrassed, etc.). Thinking acts as a way to ‘prepare’ you before the feeling. Thinking acts as a wrapper of feelings, almost like a back up plan, a mental retreat, an answer ready so instead of being left with this feeling in your body, you can immediately use your pre-packaged answer and retreat in your head and EXPLAIN (embarrassed? Me? Are you kidding? The REASON WHY I’m NOT embarrassed is BECAUSE [insert intellectual pre-packaged answer that you’ve spent 3 hours preparing in your mind]) 😉
✅ You think that an emotion needs to be followed, or preceded, by a fancy explanation so when someone asks you, or you to yourself, why you feel this way, you know ‘why’. Thinking is much more comfortable than feeling. With thoughts you can anywhere, with feelings you are in your body and there’s no escape
Based on these fears and beliefs, we develop all these mental protections such as anxiety, overthinking, self-doubt to avoid a few seconds of emotions!! 😆
Seems to be good and counter-intuitive to be true because since the protection is so complicated the real problem needs to be complicated too right?
Then verify for yourself! Next time you notice the overthinking starts to increase, the mental activity starts to increase, ask yourself: “If I refuse these thoughts and protections, what FEELING would I need to face?”
You can spend the entire day, months and years mentally fixing a mistake you made in the past, replaying all the scenes in your mind of how you’re going to fix it, only to avoid the FEELING of SADNESS that, if you just LET yourself feel it, it’s going to be gone in a few minutes or at worst a few hours from now
But no, you have to mentally fix that mistake in all these mental and intellectual ways, trying to reach this ever moving shape shifting ideal of perfection, and only then can you be ok. But you never feel ok because that’s not even the real problem, the real problem is that you’re avoiding sadness, and no intellectual answer and thoughts can change a feeling.
Feel the feeling and the thoughts disappear. Go with the thoughts and.. well you know how it ends, wish you good luck!!
You tell me that you need to ‘fix’ anxiety and ‘stop’ overthinking – I tell you you need to face that feeling that you’re avoiding behind these protections, and those anxiety/thinking protections are going to dissolve on their own
Now, you want to get used to THAT feeling, trust yourself you can handle THAT feeling, notice how it feels in your body – instead of trying to fix anxiety and overthinking which are just doing their job of protection from THAT feeling!
It’s you needing to face reality not anxiety needing to change job!! 👌
Giuseppe Tavella, DPDR & Dissociation Specialist