After doing an emotional dump on my husband yesterday, then debating and dissecting it together, I felt terrible because it caused him to lose a little zest in life. Although this wasn’t a who’s right or wrong situation, I can’t help but feel responsible as it’s my personal emotions that caused him to upset as well. This wasn’t my intention at all.
Although we had resolved the issue, this morning I kept trying to make him happy and was looking for some form of reciprocation as a means of him saying, “we’re ok, everything is back to normal.” But, instead, the more I tried and failed, the more crushed I felt. In other words, this is the feeling of “I keep making it worse.”
I felt super uncomfortable and confused. But it’s the feeling of being uncomfortable that can cause anyone in this situation to be reactive with their thoughts and actions.
If I were to be reactive and bring this to his attention, it would only cause more distress, as I know that he’s currently incapable of reciprocating because of his own reality of emotions. On the other hand, if I successfully asked him to reciprocate, it would only satisfy my ego, essentially a false positive.
I know my loving husband, and it’s not that he’s incapable; he’s just unable in this moment.
It was also in this moment that I realized there are times where he’s been in my position and has felt as though his multiple attempts have failed miserably. I guess the expression is true; to know others is to know thy self.
Anyhow, I needed to learn to respect him in this aspect, and here’s how I did exactly that.
First, understand that the feeling of “I keep making things worse” is deep-rooted in childhood experiences and carried into adulthood. I think it’s one of the most challenging feelings to recognize because it’s usually blanketed by other feelings such as guilt or shame. However, because the other emotions tend to have resolution first, the underlying inadequate feeling rarely ever gets acknowledged and thus, it never finds a method to heal.
Learning how to properly address this emotion and healing from it allows the person to develop a greater sense of self-confidence as well as a stronger relationship with others while still remaining vulnerable to personal and interpersonal growth.
There’s a big difference in the perception of the emotion between the adult and child. In the adult version, the perspective is that he/she should be capable of fixing the issue, as they are the adult. When they give it their best shot and keep missing the mark, one issue has now turned into multiple issues. The adult builds anxiety, frustration, sadness, guilt, and now inadequacy. Versus as a child, the inadequacy feeling wasn’t as dominant so the “I keep making it worse” feeling had a chance to sit in the back subconscious mind rather than playing a big role in the forefront of an adult mind.
This entire pot of slopped-up-full-of-stank-stew-of-negative-emotions is now what’s causes internal suffering. This may lead to reactive actions due to unclear thoughts and feelings, resulting in more conflicts and suffering.
Why is this emotion so powerful?
Inadequacy is a self-inflicted emotion that can start off selfless but quickly end up selfish. By this I mean this emotion starts from a place where the person feeling it does not hold any defensive thought or ego to the other person. Instead, they genuinely want to bring happiness to others and restore harmony in life, hopefully back to the breaking point before the situation went sour. It’s an emotion based on pure love. However, when it goes unreceived or rejected, the results can awaken the ego, causing further turmoil.
The search for balance can only reside from within and cannot be demanded from others.
Understand that there must have been an initial situation to cause the spiral of “I’m making things worse” moments. Within that first situation, know that there are emotions that arise from both parties. When you’re looking to “make things right” from others, it may not be receivable because the other party needs to go through their own waves of emotions and thoughts from this initial situation before they can fully be open to you.
Although some of your attempts of “getting things right” or “let me help you feel better” methods may have worked in the past, there are new external variables that are out of your control. Therefore, the energy you’ve put into fixing the situation will not allow you to feel as satisfied as you had hoped.
Six steps to stop your ego from making things worse:
1. Own that uncomfortable feeling when you feel rejected or unreciprocated is it’s here where the nature of “I keep making this worse” arises.
2. Forgive yourself and then allow yourself to have self-compassion.
3. Find acceptance in the situation. The “it’s ok” self-talk.
4. Enjoy the peace and mental space that your acceptance has given you
5. Continue on the day/life as your authentic self, doing you, just being you.
6. Allow time to work its magic and heal
When you’re emotionally restored and keeping busy there will be less of an urge to immediately fix things. Which means you’ve stopped the tension, conflicts, hope, expectations, and disappointments. To bring things into perspective, there’s less suffering all around. Instead of a problem to fix, it’s now just a situation that you’re in.
From this space, you’ll have two options.
Be vulnerable to the person you’re hoping to restore harmony with, but understand that they’re in their own waves of emotions and mindset. If you do speak to them openly, do so with no expectations, it’s a talk to try to open the line of communications. However, communication requires two people, which means you’re not entirely going to be in control. If the conversation gets heated, have acceptance, remember your peace, and walk away. There’s no ego here, so no need to make things worse, we’re just saying, “Hey, I’m here when you’re ready, but if not, that’s cool too.”
Have patience with your open heart that after some time, the other person will naturally be restored through the natural balance of emotional energy too, and will come to find you on their terms. This is, of course, if the relationship is based on mutual respect and love for one another.
The second option is hard for most as they feel like their not in control and there are no immediate results to satisfy the powerful “I keep making things worse” feeling. You need to know that this feeling of haste is based on your wants and needs, your terms, no one else’s. It is an inconsiderate standpoint.
The Clarity to Respond rather than React
The relationship will naturally need to move forward and the other person will find you when they’re ready. When this happens, you’ll be in a better headspace to handle the situation because you’re now in a place of acceptance and compassion instead of resentment and frustration. You’ll have more clarity to respond to the situation rather than reacting to a problem.
If you’re the spiritual type, negativity is no longer transmitted, with patience the remaining energy would have had time to transmute through the natural progression of life’s = natural balance. If you are true and honest with your acceptance and peace, you can even look at this as pure positive energy, and it is what is needed to offset the negative energy that was created.
This is love for yourself as well as others.
What about the other side?
If you’re on the receiving side of the “I keep making things worse,” find it in your heart to acknowledge the person’s efforts to make things better. You also need to forgive and accept the situation as it’s here where you’ll find your inner peace. From this place, you’ll have the space you need to let your feelings of frustrations and wariness go.
Although you may need time to ride out your emotional waves out to land into a sense of compassion, you should know that offering some compassion to the other person during their attempts of “making things right” will also alleviate suffering from both sides. Thus, you can be compassionate to others and still ask for the time that you need to heal.
Your gesture of kindness to acknowledge the other person’s love for you does not mean that your own feelings don’t matter. Instead, it means you see them as human and you’re being human too.