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Perception of emotions is more important than the emotions themselves

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by dabatross, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Came to a realization this past week of how much extra internal pressure I was putting on myself. At work I would always try to get projects done as fast as possible, always pushing myself to work very quickly to get things done and this placed a lot of stress on me. This I believe came from the fact that I have a fear of deadlines. I worry if I don't get the work done fast enough then Im going to miss the deadline. After doing some journaling about my past, I realized this started when I was in 7th grade. I think I wanted to please my teachers and make them like me so I wanted to get my work done as fast as possible, to be the first one done out of anybody, and have it done perfectly as well. I dont know how that started but I do remember that I wouldn't accept any grade lower than an A otherwise I freaked out (perfectionism). Anyhow, this translated into my life from then on with my schoolwork where I wouuld always work super hard in the beginning to get the project off when I didn't really need to. I put that extra stress on myself and ended up with like 2 weeks of time where I didn't even have to work on it. Some people might say "thats great you're not a procrastinator but I disagree. This places a lot of internal stress on the body from the pressure of getting it done so quickly".

    This attitude translated into my job too until last week Friday when I was like "Im just going to start working at a normal human pace.. screw this. And since then I don't rush to get my work done, I take my time, Im not freaking out about it, and it is hard sometimes because I have to remind myself to slow down. I'll catch myself speeding back up again and then I'll consciously be like "just relax and slow down" and then I feel more calm again. Even though I had pain this week I definitely felt way more calm than I have in years and this is just by changing my perception of things.

    Besides that little backstory, I believe that your perception of events/emotions is much more important than the emotions themselves. This also relates to the Dissolving Pain book again where he says that the way you pay attention to the emotions is more important. Think about it.. I had the same amount of work this week as I did last week but I changed my perception of how I handled that work and how I responded to the stress. Last week I was freaked out and really pissed off about it but this week I took it in stride. So even though the work is stressful I'm choosing consciously to deal with it differently which I believe is the most important part. Monte Huefle talks about this if I'm not mistaken where its not some past event that happened 20 years ago that's causing your pain but the inner tension you're creating now. I fully believe that its important to journal about your past but not to find out that one "magical" emotion that you never knew about which is causing your pain now. I believe the past influences the future. So in my case all of the angry, stressful events in my past influence how I deal with situations now.

    I realized how angry I was at everything and how much negativity I had in my mind. It has become so ingrained in me that almost always when an event occurs my natural instinct is to either think of the worst case scenario or think negatively about it. This happened all from the past and how I grew up.. I grew up with a lot of negativity, pain (emotional mostly from my parents divorce and seeing my dad in physical pain for my entire life), and it drains you. I became my dad pretty much I have exhibited his attitude for a long time and didn't really realize it. People I don't even know can pick up I'm a negative person very quickly and its because its just in my DNA right now and its something i'm changing. This past week was the first step to changing these behaviors which I think are responsible for a lot of this pain. From a lot of neuroplasticity research and other stuff I've read, I believe that pain is influenced much more by how we pay attention and perceive it rather than the emotions themselves. I highly suggest if anybody is interested to read the Dissolving Pain book and to check out lifeisnow.ca which also talks about emotions and chronic pain. Our thoughts are responsible for so much more than I think we realize especially in my case.
    Forest likes this.
  2. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Sorry to yell. But you said so many things that I found put in a way - that I think can help me. Thank you. I too am a perfectionist who races around a tourist town like a chicken with her head cut-off. I never tell myself "well done", I never celebrate the end of a project. I've only recently noticed that this is a place where life is slower except for our season - yet I'm always running ragged.

    I had a similar childhood, raised my brother (I was 10 - he was 8) since my parents were busy out "discovering themselves" and my mother didn't care for me or my attitude. I was an angry kid whose father "left her". Anyway - you make some excellent points that at least for me, put some puzzle pieces together.

    You're doing great work. I am going to slow down next week and start where I've left off. And go at my pace - and not the pace of the dreaded "Perfectionist."

  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dabatross there were a lot things that you wrote that I really liked, especially the part about how we perceive our emotions. A major cause of TMS is repressing our emotions. People repress emotions because they cannot accept those emotions and perceive them in a negative light. We repress our feelings of anger and rage because we want to be good people and good people, in our mind, do not have anger at our boss, spouse, children, parents or friends. Anger itself does not create TMS. We get TMS because our perception of anger is that it is not an acceptable emotion, so we repress it. One of the single because factors in recovering involves learning to accept our strong emotions.

    I liked your mention of Monte. One thing that he mentions, and that I have always liked, is that most people don't have an "a-ha moment." It can be easy to think that all we have to do is journal a whole bunch and we will have an epiphany moment and our symptoms will simply disapper. I always feel like this is simply bringing our perfectionist trait into our recovery, which may just exacerbate our symptoms. Changing how we percieve our emotions and learning to accept them is a process and one that happens over time. Investigating our past is important because it can help us see why we have the emotions and personalities that we do, but at the same time we have to recover in the present. Understanding how we handle situations today will help you recover. It is great to hear that you are beginning to make these connections.
    Beach-Girl likes this.

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