Gather round, all you ghosts and goblins, and let me tell you a Halloween story. Witches and vampires and devils aren’t the only costumes you may see this month. Our emotional selves are more complicated than they seem, and one emotion may sometimes wear the “costume” of another emotion. When we can distinguish what the true emotion is, we are better able to address it. So grab your pumpkin spice latte and make yourself comfortable while I break down your masquerading emotions in the latest edition of Lauren’s Top Tips.
1. You’re not angry, you’re…hurt
- Have you had a social situation that has left you feeling ragey? Has it made you direct negativity or anger toward someone? Look inside and see how it affects you. Chances are you are disappointed in the way you were treated (directly or indirectly) and feeling upset about it. If you can acknowledge the ways you were hurt, this can translate into an excellent communication tool to explain to the person why you are angry, instead of putting them on blast and widening the gap between you with a monster fight.
2. You’re not anxious, you’re…excited
- Many emotions have two sides to them, much like a coin has two different sides but is still the same coin. This is especially true of anxiety and excitement; anxiety is, at times, the unhealthy version of excitement. Think about it: when you’re going out on a date with someone who really intrigues you, part of you may feel like you’re going to throw up and want to hide under the covers… but why? Likely because you may, underneath all that nervousness, be excited for the prospect of something wonderful that may come from that date. Similarly, if you’re anxious for a presentation at work, it likely isn’t just because all eyes are on you, but because you’re excited about the possibility of a promotion, or just being proud of a job well done. So the next time you’re feeling anxious about something, try flipping the coin: why may you be super excited about this event? Bring your attention to that.
3. You’re not disappointed, you’re… feeling self-doubt.
- Remember that date we were just talking about? Well, if you got friend-zoned at the end of the evening (and it’s happened to the best of us), it’s absolutely understandable to feel disappointed. But what’s hiding underneath that disappointment? You may very well be wondering “what’s wrong with me?!” which may result in lowered self-esteem. This can also be true of that work presentation we mentioned. Not feeling good enough to do your job or be promoted is a lousy feeling, especially if it leaves you questioning your talents or intelligence. Just remember that we can’t always have success, and that does not take away from your wonderful traits. Chalk it up to “you can’t win ’em all” and remember that you’re awesome.
4. You’re not moody, you’re…hungry
- ’Nuff said. Have a Snickers.
If you’re confused about what you’re really feeling, have a check-in with yourself and consult these tips. Your counsellor can also help you break it down so that you can learn more about yourself and the best way to tackle these emotions. Reveal your true emotions and leave the dress-up to the kids this Halloween.*
*(Just kidding, go have fun, y’all!)
**Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the diagnosis/treatment of a licensed medical or mental health professional.**
Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker Psychotherapist providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI. Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger_msw.