The Basics #3: Unnatural Feelings

What every eight-year-old should know and most adults have never been taught about the emotions that run our lives.
by Tony Schirtzinger, LCSW, www.HelpYourselfTherapy.com

About Guilt

Since guilt is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy. Guilt is a cover-up for anger which leaves us feeling sad. We wonder: "Why am I so sluggish and irritable?" On the surface we feel: sad or depressed. We've been telling ourselves things like: "I shouldn't be angry. I should be understanding." "That person didn't mean to hurt me." "I'm too sensitive." "I should just take the mistreatment." "I don't deserve better." Down deep we feel: angry Make a conscious choice: will I admit to myself that I'm angry or will I keep feeling guilty and be depressed? Be proud of your anger! It's there to protect you. Let it do its job!

About Shame

Since shame is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy. Shame is a deep belief in our own worthlessness. It comes directly from being shamed as a child. We wonder: "Why don't I seem to care what happens to me like other people do?" On the surface we feel: very sad and "hopeless". We've been telling ourselves things like: "I'm no good. I just don't feel worthwhile." "I wonder what's wrong with me, but most of the time I just don't care." "I might as well have a drink (or a drug, or take a big risk)." Down deep we feel: mostly sad, but fearful and angry too. Make a conscious choice: will I keep believing those people who shamed me or will I treat myself well and be happier? Know that anyone who shamed you was wrong!

About Imagined Fear

Since imagined fear is not a natural, necessary emotion, it blocks and wastes our energy. Imagined fear is a feeling we create to cover deeper feelings which bother us more. We wonder: "Why am I so afraid?" " Why do I always ask: 'What if?'" "Why don't I stop scaring myself?" On the surface we feel: fear. We've been telling ourselves: "I hate being afraid." "I wish I could do what other people do, and not be afraid." "I wish I'd stop thinking about every single bad thing that could Happen." Down deep we feel: usually sad, sometimes shame (See "Shame.") Make a conscious choice: will I always feel scared or will I face and overcome my deeper bad feelings? Face what you feel that bothers you more! You will get past the deeper feelings. But creating fear can last forever!

All Other Created Feelings That Feel Bad

It is possible to create any feeling - and any created feeling that feels bad will block and waste our energy. All imagined feelings are habitual feelings we create to cover deeper, real feelings that bother us more. We wonder: "Why do I keep feeling this same feeling all the time, even when I know it's not necessary?" On the surface we feel: the created feeling. We've been telling ourselves: "I hate feeling this all the time." "I wish I'd feel and do a wider range of things like other people do." "Why can't I stop making myself feel this way." Down deep we feel: real feelings that seem too much to handle. Make a conscious choice: will I keep feeling this way or will I face and overcome the deeper bad feelings? You can overcome the deeper feelings alone or with help, but the habitual feeling you are creating could go on forever! Face the feelings that bother you more! Stop covering them with your "favorite" bad feeling!

Other articles by Tony Schirtzinger, LCSW:

Tony Schirtzinger LCSW Basics 1: Your Needs And Wants
Basics 2: Your Natural Feelings
Basics 3: Your Unnatural Feelings

Problem Solving 1: Roadblocks
Problem Solving 2: Defining The Problem
Problem Solving 3: Six Aspects Of A Problem

Tony Schirtzinger, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and a trainer of therapists and counselors. He has over 35 years experience working with depression, anxiety, adults who suffered abuse in childhood, delinquency and criminality, parenting, teenagers, and dissociation. He offers email advice and telephone counseling, as well as in-person appointments in Milwaukee, WI. More of his articles can be found at www.HelpYourselfTherapy.com


All a man's affairs become diseased when he wishes to cure evils by evils.
~ Sophocles
This page was last updated on March 23rd, 2012
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