Life Skills: How to understand why you feel like this

Emotions are signals, often coming from your past.

There is a reason why you feel unreasonably angry or sad sometimes

Sooner or later, it happens. We are with friends or relatives, at school or at work, watching the TV or browsing the Internet. We feel calm and collected. Then, a comment or a gesture hits a nerve and we GO BERSERK. Like, full Hulk mode in a nanosecond. And even if we have the presence of mind to go somewhere else before unleashing a stream of insults onto the boor, it’s impossible to return to that primeval state of inner peace.

Over time, we become sensitive to certain subjects. After a bad experience, our only desire is to erase it from our memory, but that is almost impossible. The stronger the negativity was, the deeper its scar is gonna be. The emotions we felt will linger near the surface, where it can take very little to wake them up again. Especially if we refused to deal with them in the first place.

As a very wise person once said… we don’t react to the present, but to the past.

Huddled around their cups of coffee, Jill and her friends are chatting about a classmate, Mark, and his new hobby, archery.
Erika swirls her cup. “He’s just a LOTR nerd. He’d make a pair with Robin, that one’s always playing video games.” She snickers. “What a loser!”
They all laugh. Jill laughs too, ignoring how her stomach is squirming and tears are suddenly welling her eyes. She too laughs, while all the afternoons spent playing The Witcher and Portal flash through her mind. They don’t know. I can’t tell them. I don’t want to be a loser.

Often, we don’t know when we first felt that particular feeling. But the truth is, remembering is not always so important. Sure, it helps. If you feel it would help, please do it. Look for a psychotherapist, start journalling. Do what you think will work for you.

Yet, we could spend our whole life trying to discover what happened and never get an answer.

Not all of us have this need. Sometimes, what we want is to know how to deal with it… now. In the present. Because, even though it’s important to address a past issue affecting our current life, it’s equally important to take care of our current life first.

Deep down, you know your needs.

A strategy I’ve adopted to deal with sudden feelings is the ‘process of why.’ (Curiously enough, a week ago somebody mentioned a similar technique invented by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries.)

You don’t need any special tools. Just a moment of silence and complete, loving acceptance.

The next time you feel a certain way and don’t know the reason, just ask yourself this question, again, and again, and again…


In Jill’s case:

“Why does it make me feel so bad?”
“Because she criticized something I love doing.”
“But why did this make me feel so sad?”
“Because I felt judged for something I loved. As if it weren’t right.”
“I felt judged. And why does being judged make me feel so sad?”
“Because I’m afraid. Because it scares me.”
“Why does it scare me?”
“Because I’m afraid I’ll lose my friends. I’m afraid that, if I love video games, they won’t love me anymore. They will leave me alone.”

My belief is that you, I, and everyone else can take care of herself. We are extraordinary beings, gifted with an insane amount of creativity, uniqueness, and potential. Sometimes we stumble, and we need a hand, just to learn that we already knew how to get up – we just needed to be reminded of it.

Whenever an emotion becomes too intense to be handled, use “the process of why”. Listen to your answers, unravel the knot, and above all else be kind to yourself.

Because, why shouldn’t we experience more kindness in our lives?


P.S. Why we categorize others and 100 questions to help you know yourself.

Do you have thoughts or doubts bothering you? Do you just want to vent? Ask Box is the place where you can drop your questions about life, the universe and everything. My inbox is always open – email me at

{Original picture: Visual Hunt}

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