This worksheet puts forth the question, “What is your relationship with your emotions?” Are you busy making statements like—“I shouldn’t be feeling low.” “I’m a terrible person for feeling angry about that situation.” “I just can’t control my impulses, I have such low willpower!”
In reality, these statements are nothing but myths. A ‘Myth’ is something you can always challenge—and re-establish a new relationship with.
Instances of Emotional Myths
“I shouldn’t let others know how I feel. They might think that I’m weak.”
“I should maintain my calm, even if others are blaming/finger-pointing at me.”
“Remaining quiet is safer even if I feel that I’m being treated badly.”
“I shouldn’t have extreme emotions in situations that aren’t a big deal.”
“When I’m impulsive, I get more things done.”
“I must show extreme emotions, otherwise life is simply boring.”
How to Use this Worksheet
The first step is to identify your frequent emotional myth. Take out your journal, thought log, or simply a sheet of paper. Make a note of all the emotional myths that you may hold for yourself. You may even refer to the above-mentioned examples to identify your own.
Then, against each myth, come up with an opposing view/statement. It could anything that signifies a different side of your myth.
For example: If you hold the myth: “I should avoid getting angry as my friends/family/kids/colleagues would dislike me.” Then your opposite view could be—“I’m only a human and my anger is a natural response to a situation. With that said, Instead of shouting at others, I can express it in a non-dislikeable way.”
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Identify How Emotional Myths Affect You
Your third step will encourage you to engage in the pros and cons analysis to actually behave opposite from your emotional myth.
Pick the top three emotional myths from your list, especially those that occur frequently in your head. Ask yourself, how they affect your day-to-day interaction with others or your behavior in general. Do you isolate yourself? Fail to progress in a relationship? End up messing the situation up?
Make a note of behaviors that are negative consequences of your emotional myths.
Identify How Engaging In the Opposite View Will Benefit You
When you shift your attention from how a behavior may impact you, to how it could benefit you, that’s when change happens. Try to jot down a list of potential benefits that you may receive in case you engage in the opposing view, rather than remaining stuck in your emotional myths.
Sally George is a Psychologist & the Editor of Gentle Meanings. She shares thought-provoking tools, asks insightful questions, and encourages her readers to be gentle with themselves.