Change

What To Do When You're Fed Up

Ever feel like you just want to give up? 
Ever find yourself frustrated, walking away from situations and people with the same conclusion each time? 

  • Yup, I knew it- all guys are jerks!
  • This is what happens every time I (apply for a job/try something new/trust people).
  • Things never work out for me.

While those generalizations and takeaways keep us safe, they also keep us stuck. So if you’re ready to rewrite your ending, it’s time you stop blaming the cast, and start getting curious about your role.   

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
— Pema Chodron

Let me give you an example:

Years ago, I was in a relationship with the least-punctual man who ever existed. That may sound like a ridiculous claim. ("Amita, have you met every man in the world and timed each of them?") But arriving 2 hours late without sending me a text makes him a definite contender for this prestigious award. Each time he’d be late, I’d tell myself “He’s always late. Guys are the worst! This is the last time I’m dealing with this. He clearly doesn’t love me because if he did, he would get his sh!t together and change.” 

While his punctuality was indeed an issue, the story I was telling myself was the bigger problem. In my narrative, I made his time management struggles about me.

The stories we tell ourselves create safety and order out of situations that feel dangerous or chaotic. When in doubt, many of us (myself included) immediately jump to the “I’m not enough” explanation.

Why? Because there’s comfort in certainty.

The familiarity of my story made it easier to be angry at him rather than feeling the more difficult emotion: vulnerability. The good news is that you don’t have to keep playing old reruns in your head.

You have the power to change your story and choose a better ending.

The next time you’re in a situation when you’re feeling triggered – from a setback to a breakup – use these steps to overcome feelings of anger, shame, or disappointment:

1. Get Curious.

You don’t need to identify your emotions to know they exist. When you’re feeling triggered, (like you’re going from 0-60 in 6 seconds flat) it can be challenging to slow down long enough to label your feelings. Instead, start by tapping into your body by asking yourself:

  • Where do I feel this sensation?
  • What does it feel like?
    • I feel a knot in my stomach or I feel panic in my chest.

2. Engage With It.

Admittedly, this step sucks. You’ll need to tap into your feelings to uncover the narrative. By engaging with your emotions, you’ll get a clearer sense of the story that allows these emotions to stagnate and the situation to repeat itself. For example, If you’re feeling angry that your hard work wasn’t acknowledged, you might be telling yourself, "This team is ridiculous, my boss is a conceited jerk."

3. Collect The Data.

As much as journaling can feel like a chore, the mind-body connection that occurs is transformative. Quickly, without judgment, write out the answers to the following:

  • What story is playing in my head?
    • I never get any credit, I should just quit. Then they’ll see how much they need me.
  • What are my emotions?
    • I feel angry and annoyed.
  • What are my beliefs?
    • I won’t be successful.
  • What actions do I want to take?
    • I want to quit.

You have every right to feel the way you do. If your answers are driven by emotion and self-preservation, chances are there may be some missing facts or faulty logic. When we’re in a heightened emotional state, it can be hard to remember that feelings aren’t facts. By challenging your storyline, you'll begin to uncover what’s really going on.

4. Play Detective.

Grab your make-believe magnifying glass and pick apart your story by asking yourself:

  • What parts of what I wrote are fact and whats part are beliefs?
    • Fact: My name wasn’t mentioned in the meeting. But, when I gave my boss my part of the project, he was receptive to my ideas and seemed grateful.
    • Belief: I never get any credit. I won't be successful.
  • What additional information would be helpful to know?
    • What my boss thinks about my potential for growth at this company.
  • What was my role in this situation and how do I feel about t? 
    • I feel like I’m not good enough. I never ask for his opinion about my performance because I feel scared of what I might hear. I could try asking his opinion and seeing what happens. 

Most of us use anger and resentment to cover up our insecurities. Discovering the underlying stories that keep us stuck teaches us how we confirm our negative beliefs, rather than challenging them.  The truths we uncover are often uncomfortable. But, discomfort is where all the magic and growth happens.

The Takeaway:

Knowing how you keep yourself stuck will help you to stop repeating the same old story. It will give you the freedom to take action that’s truly aligned with where you want to go and who you want to be.

7 Tips To Deal With Change, Stress, & Starting Over

If you’re a regular reader of the Blog, you've probably noticed that for the last few weeks, I haven’t been writing as often. Apologies! I’ve been focusing on a project that I can't wait to share with you! 

So when it came time to write this post, a few things came to mind:

  1. What the F@#$ do I write about?
  2. Starting a habit after stopping really sucks.
  3. How do people ACTUALLY dust themselves off and start again?

And then it hit me.

I’d write a blog post about writing a blog post. Not literally, of course. That would be confusing!

Instead, here are the

7 Step-by-Step Tools I Used to Deal with Change, Conquer Stress, and Start Over:

1. Stop resisting it. When we’re screaming “no” (internally or externally), we unwittingly make things harder. Change sucks, but resisting it makes it suck more. You can’t move forward until you accept the reality of your current situation.

2. Accept impermanence. Habits are habits until they aren’t. No matter how still your image of yourself, another person, or a situation may be, it continues to change. In fact, regardless of how you perceive something at this moment, the thing itself is changing. Stress comes from trying to force things to be consistent and static instead of accepting that they aren’t. Simply put, stress comes from how you deal, not what you’re dealing with.

3. Acknowledge that change sucks. Admitting that something is challenging helps you to validate your own feelings. As Dr. Crum, Stanford University Psychology Professor notes, “Doing so changes the stress in your brain, moving it from the reactive amygdala to the more rational prefrontal cortex.”

4. Discharge it. Option 1: Call your brother at midnight to vent (Yup, just did that), or the less dramatic Option 2: Write out your best and worst-case scenarios on paper in order to clearly develop a rational plan. There’s something about seeing our crazy in black and white that makes us put on our big girl pants and get shit done.

5. Use the stress response proactively. Instead of letting it crush you, use it to help you adapt. What can you do differently next time? What’s the hidden lesson? Use stress as a helpful guide, rather than your enemy.

6. Be gentle. Have some self-compassion. Increase your self-care and trust that when everything is up in the air, it will come back together more beautiful, organized, and aligned than before. 

7.  Ice cream. A warm baguette also does quite nicely.

P.S. Speaking of Starting Over, join me for an exclusive interview with Divorce Coach, Heather Debreceni, for a special Dating Edition of the Empowered Divorce Summit. It starts on September 7th, click here to check it out!