Since intentionally re-entering the world of social media a few months ago, I am not surprised to witness toxic emotional dumping playing out. This was one of the many reasons I drew back years before, as people appeared to have given themselves the right to spew their emotions left right and centre. Things that people would NEVER dare to utter to someones face, drop freely as abusive post comments and private messages. I know…hurt people hurt people.
There are underlying reasons, including unresolved trauma and bad role models. I’m compassionate and advocate for freedom of speech, but at which point did social media negate the need for mutual respect and ownership?
The cycle of blame
This mirrors our typical societal model of emotional immaturity where rather than contain and look at what is activating OUR emotional body, it gets swiftly projected outwards. It follows the dangerous belief that something ‘out there’ is creating a problem and reacting ‘out there’ is going to fix it. (When I say ‘out there’ I mean something out in the physical world, whether person, place or thing).
Typically this is an attack and blame cycle, and the reaction is trying to ‘stop’ whatever perceived threat or emotion is being experienced within. Pointing the finger at something outside gives an illusion of control and power. The truth is the opposite, it’s giving your power and energy away.
What I’m about to say might just blow your mind… (or if you already follow me, probably not ;) )
Getting angry, abusive and smashing things up is not going to fix things (although you might feel better momentarily…)
Emotions are not something that happen ‘out there’. Your perception is the CAUSE.
Living in our heads
We all live within our own heads, and are having our own experience. E-motion is energy in motion and it is happening INSIDE your physical body. Your reaction is a result of what you believe about that energy and the world. You interpret the sensations that exist within your body, and the thoughts in your mind and most of the time come to the wrong conclusion. We respond and therefore act from old, conditioned behaviour, myself included. The results are not usually pretty.
How to know if you’re emotionally triggered? You’re human, that's how….it’s part of our experience! However, we are not all doomed. We can learn how to recognise and respond to the emotional activation and utilise the energy for living, rather than the endless draining task of keeping a lid on it, or creating unnecessary drama and conflict in our lives.
Our deep emotional wounds are markers of our unresolved past experience. They are an invitation to dive deeper and deal with the root cause of the problem, pulling it up at the base rather than just continuing to cut the new shoots off.
Do you experience bursts of anger, frustration, or anxiety? It’s not surprising with current world events. Congratulations, you’re a human being! However, I’m going to invite you to look a little deeper, as these are unlikely to be totally new feelings. More likely these emotions are related to the past and life is giving you an opportunity to resolve them NOW. Yet most of the time when we begin to get uncomfortable, the tendency is to do ANYTHING within our power to stop the discomfort. This could be getting angry at someone, withdrawing, or using substances to numb out and stop feeling anything.
Cultivating emotional maturity is not about ‘feeling better’. It’s about getting better at feeling. In committing to the process of feeling, your emotional charges will naturally dissipate and your life will become more harmonious.
To be clear I’m not judging emotional projection. I’ve done it plenty, because like you, I am human AF too. However I have learned how to discharge the majority of it, so rather than try to ‘get rid’ of it, I have the tools to unravel and resolve it.
If you don’t like what someone is saying… why is that? Rather than react mindlessly and vomit your emotions onto someone or something outside of you, pause. Take a breath.
This is the difference between reaction and response.
This is the difference between being in charge of your experience and being controlled and subjected to your unresolved trauma and emotional baggage.
So how can you take control?
Breathwork is the fastest way to shift your emotional stuff. It radically changed my life, and I know it will do the same for yours. If you’re willing to try. Take a deep breath. And another. And another. Next time you’re triggered try it, and keep going until something shifts. Because when you own your breath, nobody can steal you peace.
Social media (or any other channel for that matter) doesn't need to be your emotional dumping ground. Feel and get intimate with your emotions, and claim your energy and life back instead.
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.