Identify the Emotional Story

When we are consumed by our emotions, we are immersed in the story and world of those emotions. Think of a recent time when you were caught up in feeling guilty or angry or disappointed or sad or any other emotion. You were likely focusing on and talking about:

• the degree of the emotion;

• the story/events that gave rise to the emotion;

• the actions you were taking to manage the emotion (for example, eating, sleeping, drinking);

• the other events that were happening because of the effect of the emotion on you (for example, getting into a fight with someone else, having difficulty at work, getting physically injured, being short tempered with your kids, having a health condition flare up); and

• how awful the person or circumstance is that caused the emotion.

What world of emotions are you caught up in (see my post, “Get off the Emotional Elephant” for more on this)? Be honest. You may not even want to admit that there’s an emotion and story that you’ve been immersed in. It may even be that you’re not aware of how emotional you are because you’re almost always emotional about something. This level of emotion and upset is your “normal” life and “just the way it is.”

A hint in identifying an emotional elephant ride is to look at the stories you tell other people. If you have repeated the same story or scenario to more than one person, this is likely an emotional elephant ride scenario. If you have many favorite stories that you talk about, you may be on a number of emotional elephant rides.

What is an emotional elephant ride that you are on or were on recently?


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