Step # 8-The Trifecta- Dealing with Labels, Truths, and Problems

1.Remember how we started with labels( Step#1)? Well, now that we know them , let’s talk about why we have them, exactly what they are , and how to ditch the negative/ non- applicable ones. 

Labels are what we humans use to discern one thing from another. It can be a product, a person, a feeling, or anything at all. It is what helps us to categorize, describe, designate or brand something. In general, we NEED labels so that our brains do not get all mixed up though out our day and we can focus on the “tasks”( a loose term here) we associate with each-For instance:

Label 1= teacher= the person who is able to teach us things

Label 2= Food= items we consume for energy and nutrition

Label 3 =sadness= a feeling of unhappiness, distinct from fear, love, joy or any other emotion

Label 4=sibling=person related to us by blood or marriage being the child of our mother or father.

 Label 5= Best friend= person we rely on to support us, and someone we trust

And so on. These are necessary labels. The UN necessary labels are the ones our sub brain assigns to deal with emotions we are unwilling or unable to process. Sometimes we assign them to others, and sometimes- we assign them to ourselves. And those last 2 assignations usually leads to problems.

When you review your previous list of labels, think long & hard about why you have assigned them to yourself- which emotion created it? Was it a positive one? If not- DITCH it. That’s right- find all the negative ones and throw them in the can like the decaying body parts they truly are. They are of no use to you. Then seek out replacement labels. When you are done with this task, go back and reassign the negative labels you have placed on others.

Example:

One of my negative labels for myself was that I am ‘emotionally unstable’ and a ‘frequent failure’. The emotion that created them was insecurity. Insecurity does not serve me. I chose instead to label myself as stable and successful.

 Now, I know we haven’t made a label list for others specifically, but we both know we have done this many times in our heads. One of mine is “asshole” .Not very helpful or constructive, huh? That label is given to people that I have a general dislike for. But when I think of that person( or persons) specifically , I have to deeply analyze what emotion created that feeling ( not what event or incident). Sometimes, if I am honest, it was from jealousy. So I need to relabel that person as ”competition“( a more positive label which will help me in a constructive way).

2.Next we listed our personal “truths” in Step#2- and now we are going to bring those truths into the light and examine them fully. I found 3 different definitions online:

“the quality or state of being true”

“that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”

“a fact or belief that is accepted as true.”

Generally, truths about ourselves fall into that last definition . They are not based on science, medical fact or proven tests.

I talked about why I felt I was a frequent failure and how that became a truth for me. I listed the reasons I felt that way, including my inability to live up to my own impossible standards. Knowing that, I have to face the fact that that is one truly stupid reason to feel like a failure. And upon reviewing the other reasons I have felt this way , when revealed for what they really are ( lies), I saw they were also pretty ridiculous. The bottom line was, I have CHOSEN to feel like this based on lies I told myself..

So I now need to learn a new and more valid truth-“the only way to fail is to stop trying” and “stealth and stability comes with practice”

3.Third- we wrote down what we thought our “problems” were. Here, we are going to address which actually ARE problems, which really aren’t, and how to deal with both. In my post I had a list of 16 for myself.

As it turns out, when I look back at the list I can only truly assert that a few were real “problems”. A problem is a matter or situation that is harmful and needing to be overcome. For example: smoking  and alcohol abuse– both harmful, and needing to be dealt with .And I did.

The rest were items that were merely “concerns” ( in my case), which are more about worry and anxiety. They are items of importance, for sure, but are specific to my feelings as an individual( “a matter of interest or importance to someone”).So those items, while still important to address, wouldn’t fall into a “problem” priority category, per say. 

However- that does not mean they will just “go away”. Our concerns ( as personal and individualized as they may be) should be scrutinized further to make sure the feelings that created them are valid. That means going back to the above two topics first. Once truth and labels are clarified, generally the items can either be removed from the list, be  relabeled or 

addressed under “emotional restructuring”. For instance-my weight gain. It bothers me because I have insecurity issues and body image issues. It isn’t endangering my health directly because in my case I am not obese, do not have diabetes or high blood pressure, etc. I simply want to “look” a certain way( the image in my head) So, I have to deal with that emotionally FIRST( the why) and then make a reasonable plan ( the how).

I know this post was long, but i am striving to create blog which gives options and plausible suggestions for positive life change. Only 2 more ‘steps’ to go…namaste!

Author:

nurse, mother, artist, and chameleon ...

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