Understanding Yourself: An Exercise to Help You.
In a previous blog, I introduced you to the Johari Window and the areas of yourself you do not know. The more you can get to know about yourself, the better you can communicate, thereby, minimizing distortions and misunderstandings in relationships. As you expand the known part of yourself, it decreases our blind and hidden areas. This leads to an ability to make conscious decisions about how you are going to live. It helps you create better relationships.
This exercise can help you learn more about your blind areas. There are times when you experience an event or interaction which you cannot let go. You have feelings you do not understand and react in ways that confuse you. This exercise will help you sort out the event and lead you to a better understanding of yourself.
Understanding yourself: Part 1
1. Write down a situation where you over reacted or the feelings from the event did not get resolved.
2. How were you feeling during the event?
3. What about the part of the event stirred up these feelings?
4. What was said? What was done?
5. What was the worse part of the event for you?
6. Where did you feel it in your body?
7. What image represents the worse part of the event?
Jane has a problem when her husband goes out and comes home late. She would get scared and then become hurt and angry. When he came home they would fight about how long he had been gone. If he arrived too late, she could not stand the anxiety and would leave.
She knew where her husband was and with whom. She knew that he was not doing anything that was a threat to herself or her marriage. To further complicate her reactions, she would be all right until what she called the Witching Hour. The Witching Hour usually occurred 15 minutes after she thought he should be home.
She could not make sense of her reactions until she did this exercise.
She identified her deepest feelings as afraid and hurt. The worse part of the event was waiting for him to get home. As she waited for her husband to get home, her chest would get tight and she would begin to pace. The image that come to her mind was that of a shoe stepping on a hardwood floor.
After you have gone through the first half or the exercise you have the information you need to learn what might be unknown or blind to you. This maybe what is making the situation so complicated for you.
Understanding yourself: Part 2
Hold together in your mind your feelings, where you felt it in your body and the image of the worse part of the event. With these things in your mind let yourself float back to an earlier time in your life.
Ask yourself the following questions.
2. At what point in my life did I feel this way?
3. How is this situation similar?
4. How is this situation different?
As Jane let herself float back in time, she remembered her father coming home late after a night of drinking. Most nights she would be alone in bed, when she heard her father come home. He would be drunk and angry. The first sound she heard was him walking on the hardwood floor.
Soon after his arrival, her mother and father would be in a loud and violent fight. She had no one to take care of her and reassure her, she was safe. She lived in fear that her father was going to kill her mother.
Although, he did not kill her mother there were many nights when her father would hurt her mother. When she was older she began to get between her parents and stop the fights. When she was fighting with her father, she felt powerful and in control.
How It was similar and Different
The situation was similar in that she was once again at home alone, waiting for someone important to come home. It was true that she could not control her husband and what time he arrived.
The situation was different in that she was an adult and was safe. She could take care of herself. The other thing that was very different was that her husband did not come home drunk. Many times he did not drink while he was out.
It took Jane some time to get to where she was able to stay calm when her husband returned home late. After this exercise, she was able to understand her feelings and soothe herself. They quit fighting when he came home.
Eventually, Jane was able to heal the wounds from her past and would be calm while her husband was out. She was able to use her adult resources to take care of herself.
Are you troubled by feelings you cannot explain? You have experiences that don't seem to get resolved? I can help you discover what is keeping you trapped. Call me at: 919-881-2001.