Most of us have emotions about emotions.
And they work at lightening speed. Before we are even aware of it.
For example, you’re flipping something in a frying pan, and you miss, and it lands on the floor.
(This happened to me last night lol).
First you get pissed. Then you get upset about being pissed. Then you get embarrassed about getting upset about being pissed.
All this happens in about a second, all while you’re screaming “Mother——-”
In NLP terms, they call this “going Meta,” feeling an emotion about an emotion.
Or giving meaning to a meaning. Pretty soon you’re way up in the clouds without knowing how you got there. To make it about a billion times more complicated, add in another person to the mix.
Throw in some underlying tones of sex or money (personal or business relationships) and pretty soon nobody knows what anybody’s so angry about.
After all, it’s never about the toothpaste.
Or the toilet seat.
What’s the answer?
Go meta, but in the other direction.
Imagine your surrounded by a hundred bubbles. Each bubble is just slightly bigger than the one underneath it.
They start just in front of your nose, and grow from there. Of course, they’re all protective, or at least that’s the intention.
But they tend to insulate us from others, and keep us from speaking our truth.
If you cut through all the junk, go meta. Meta-model.
Take the surface structure of their language, and get as specific as you can. You’ll have to be as emotionally neutral as possible, or else you’ll send them running for the hills.
But done right, you can easily cut through all the crap and figure out what’s bothering them. Or you.
Just look for any vague language, and ask for specifics.
I’m angry!–> What are you angry about?
You make me angry?–>What did I do that made you angry?
This is so stupid! –> What exactly is so stupid about it? How can I help?
Remember to stay neutral, not accusatory. You’re just calmly asking for more information, to help out.
If you’re working on yourself, journaling can be a big help. Just write out whatever’s bothering you, and then look at what you write, and expand EVERYTHING until you’ve described your feelings in detail.
Not more colorful adjectives, but detail that a videographer could use if he wanted to reproduce the situation from your journal.
Sounds complicated, but give it a whirl. You may find it useful.