Emotion Myths

May 24, 2016

Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.” 
― T.K. ColemanFreedom Without Permission: How to Live Free in a World That Isn't

Last week in DBT we were asked to go through a worksheet full of emotion myths and to write down ways of challenging them.  The worksheet also had some answers in case one got stuck.  I did not do all of the myths but just the ones that really resonated with me.  I thought I would share my own challenges and the included challenges that really moved me.   

Myth: Letting others know that I am feeling bad is a weakness. 
Challenge: My job is not to please others.

Myth: Being emotional means being out of control. 

Challenge: Being emotional means that I am human.

  Myth: All painful emotions are a result of a bad attitude. 

  Challenge: All painful emotions provide useful information.


Myth: Drama is cool. 

Challenge: I used to think drama is cool, now I know that it is exhausting.

 Myth: It is inauthentic to try to change my emotions. 

 Challenge: I do not need to suffer. 
 Provided Challenge: Change is itself authentic; it is part of life.

 Myth: Emotional truth is what counts, not factual truth. 

Challenge: Emotional truth and factual truth both count.

 Myth: People should do whatever they feel like doing. 

Challenge: Balance is key. 
Provided Challenge: Doing what I feel like doing can be ineffective.

Myth: Acting on your emotions is the mark of a truly free individual. 

Challenge: Being able to regulate my own emotions is the mark of a truly free individual.  I will no longer be a slave to intense  emotions. 
Provided Challenge: The truly free person can regulate emotions. 
My Response To The Provided Challenge: The truly free person honors boundaries.

Myth: My emotions are who I am. 

Challenge: My emotions are a part of who I am but not my totality.

 Myth: My emotions are why people love me.

Challenge: People love me because I am a cool person!  

 Myth: Emotions can just happen for no reason.

Challenge: Every emotion is produced by an interpretation to an event.  Recognizing this will mean that I will have simultaneously more freedom and more control - I will be able to more thoroughly have the life I want.

 Myth: Emotions should always be trusted. 

Challenge: Emotions should always be honored and honoring their information is not the same as trusting them as truth. 

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