Opposite Self

We are emotional beings. When we’re emotionally intoxicated, it’s hard in any moment to see outside of yourself. When we feel emotionally strong about something we make decisions about what to do about that emotional reaction. We decide things. We change our mind. We can feel a whole new reality coming on in a single day. The only problem with this process is that we tend to forget the reality we knew just a few hours before. Where we really need to be is right in the middle: aware that we have very different feelings about something, and both should be taken into account, the good and the bad.

When we are not in an emotionally heightened state, we can better know ourselves and how we truly feel. One helpful practice is to create a two-selves diary of sorts. Write to yourself when you’re in this emotionally heightened place so that you can refer to letters from your opposing-self reflectively, later on. Record the date, what has recently happened, and answer these questions:
  • How do you feel?
  • What are the objective facts of this situation?
  • What do you wish you could say/do?
  • What would you like to tell yourself in the future?
  • What are your hopes / what change would you like to have happen?
The answers recorded by these two sides can reveal a lot to you when you’re in an apposing place. What you might find is the same emotions and issues come up quite often. When you’re repeating the same feelings, it’s never less painful, but you can sometimes better decode the path to making sure your needs are better met in the future. When we hurt over a problem repeatedly, in the same way, we are usually experiencing a reaction that is old. Meaning, this feeling is imprinted into our emotional muscle-memory from childhood experiences. They are no less valid and no less real, but they are often narratives visible only to us: whoever is causing this feeling to come up in the external world is triggering that emotion and not immediately visible to the person that might have caused it.

When we can recognize the patterns in ourselves and identify what our needs are, we can also give those around us a translation guide to meeting those needs. We are also better able to understand and identify our triggers. We are all speaking our own very unique languages and it helps when we have a key that we can pass onto those we hold close.


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