Time to read: 1 little minute and 15 tiny seconds
Do you hate it when people tell you how you feel?
Let me begin with a little story then tell you what to do when someone inaccurately insists you must be feeling something you are not.
I'm at a client site this week doing 2 intense days of back to back private coaching for a big corporation followed by a third day of team building sessions. When I return home, I head to another big corporation to coach all day in their women's leadership program. When I tell people about my week, they say, "that must be exhausting!",
When I hear that, I'm like, "hmmmmm….," or I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed because other people's opinions can muddy the water and make it hard to listen to your own feelings and trust your own experience. With their suggestion, you might start to wonder, "Am I exhausted? Maybe I should be."
By becoming aware when other people are imposing how you should feel, you can commit to listen to and trust how you actually feel.
Here's how to do that:
- Check in with yourself. When you hear a suggestion for how you should feel, use it as a reminder to pause and check in. How are you feeling? Is there something you need to express, process alone, or adjust? What will get you on track with where you want to be?
- Pay attention to the stories you tell yourself. Are you telling stories that are empowering or disempowering? Is telling yourself that you are exhausted or overwhelmed enabling you to be your best self and do your best work or is it sapping your energy?
- Choose your feelings. You get to decide if you are exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated. The circumstances don't dictate your feelings, and other people's suggestions certainly don't. It is true that I may be tired when I get on the plane to go home, and while doing the work, I choose to be energized and inspired by my clients.
- Clarify. If you want to, you can clarify how you really feel to the person who is asking. Assume they care about you and had the best of intentions when they made their comment. Something like, "actually, I love these clients and get in the zone when I do back-to-back coaching."
- Get curious. If you notice yourself "suggesting" feelings to others, get curious. Instead of telling them how they feel, ask, "How do you feel about that?" You might be surprised by what you learn and amused to see the assumptions you make, too.
I hope this helps!
P.S. Are there people to whom you'd like to give a big, fat hint? Use this email to tell them to stop suggesting how you should feel! They can join to receive this newsletter right here.