Almost anything can affect us negatively. Pretty much anything can affect us to an extreme degree, even if we don’t expect it to. It can be the major, like aspects of a relationship (friend, family, romantic, or others) that hurt you, to what feels like the minor, like unpredictable changes in routine.
Over the years, you may have been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that triggers or upsets you, have likely developed some sort of skill to help you manage the negative emotions tied to that instance. If your sibling makes fun of you, you may have learned to laugh it off and play along instead of letting it get to you. If you take unexpected changes in your routine really poorly, you may have come up with ways to adjust and become more flexible.
However, sometimes you may find yourself reacting the way you used to before developing these coping mechanisms, and that can lead to a whole other level of bad feelings.
Let’s take a bad grade, for example. Say you didn’t do well on a paper, and you find yourself experiencing depressive symptoms, and overall just feeling really bad about yourself. You find yourself blaming yourself for not starting earlier, or not doing one more readthrough before submitting, or get upset at yourself for messing up in a class that otherwise has gone well for you.
And when these self-blaming thoughts begin to happen, you then find yourself getting angry at yourself too. This isn’t the first bad grade that you’ve gotten, so why are you taking it so hard now? You’ve taken other bad grades really well before, and know that you’ll survive this one too, so why are you experiencing these feelings that you know are tied to your depression or anxiety? It’s easy to slip into these thoughts that you’re no longer good at your coping mechanisms or all the growth that you’ve made to combat these negative things in your life is all of a sudden going away.
In these instances, it’s important to remember that bad feelings and getting upset about things that you thought you’ve grown past are just natural feelings that occur. Growth is not a linear line, and there’s never truly an end goal where you’re cured and never going to feel those bad emotions again. Life – and the progress that you make in it – is more like a scribble than a line. Even if you feel like you’ve built a tough exterior and don’t let the negatives phase you doesn’t mean you’re completely immune to them, because ultimately, you’re a human who feels human emotions.
What was something that bothered you a lot when you were younger that doesn’t anymore? Was there an instance where it occurred again and you ended up getting upset about it like you did when you were younger? How did you react to that?