I have the tendency to negatively mentally extrapolate in conversation. And it causes me pain and breaks down my relationships.
The other day, a family member told me that my car was dirty. Suddenly, I felt embarrassed and I conversationally clammed up and shut down. It didn’t make sense to me as to why I felt embarrassed.
Until I looked back on this specific event and played out my inner workings in slow-mo.
The words “your car is dirty” in and of themselves are not insulting. They are just a statement of fact. My car was dirty (and it still is!). It is a fact like saying the sky is blue. The grass is green. That is not insulting. It’s true.
But I attached 'hidden' meaning to the words. I was extrapolating the conversation. Adding the next sentence so they didn’t have to. I ‘knew’ what they were getting at.
They simply said “Your car is dirty.” But I ‘knew’ what they really meant was “Your car is dirty. You are too lazy to clean it.”
I mean it’s obvious! That’s what they meant.
No one likes a lazy person. They were right. I’m lazy. I’m not liked. So then I felt embarrassed.
All this turmoil from a simple, neutral statement!!
The thing is, that is not what they said. They did not call me lazy. It was my heightened sensitivity, my fear, that attached the second sentence.
I am afraid of looking lazy and being judged as lazy. To avoid looking lazy, I’ve turned up my sensitivity. So I am on the lookout - hyper alert - for times when people think I’m being lazy.
And I’ll find it anywhere…because I’ll add it everywhere.
That’s what sensitivities and fears do. Make you see the very thing you are sensitive to or afraid of, even in places it is not.
But what if I released my fear of looking lazy? What if I wasn’t so sensitive? What if I no longer was on the lookout? Maybe the conversation would have transpired differently.
Maybe the statement “Your car is dirty”, could have been just that. A statement. Or maybe I could have taken it as something positive, as a way for this family member to draw out conversation. “Your car is dirty. Where have your adventures taken you?”
How different that conversation would have gone!
What are you afraid of being judged for?
Where are you negatively mentally extrapolating your conversations and adding ‘hidden’ meaning because of your fears?
Imagine not having sensitivities and fear of judgement. It’s possible and we want to help. Schedule your complimentary 30 minute coaching session by filling in this form.
Here’s to conquering stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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