Jane is a food blogger.  A few days ago, she posted a recipe for ‘sugar free muffins’.  72 negative comments later, Jane got her blogging head blown off.

Apparently, a lot of readers, didn’t take too kindly to her preaching the evils of sugar.

Let’s take that in.

Seventy. Two. Negative. Comments. About. Muffins.

People were losing their minds.  Apparently, they were ‘very concerned’ about who the hell this Jane thought she was, telling them what to feed their kids.

Now to be fair, Jane did have a strong opinion.  And she was a little annoying.  But I kind of admired her ‘take no prisoners’ approach.  She was trying to sell something, decided to take a stand and put her neck on the line to express her beliefs.

But then Jane got all squirrely and started hitting back at her critics, cussing at folk.  Jane was of the opinion that ‘it was her f*cking right to have her own beliefs. Then Martha called Jane a ‘bitch’ and it all ended in a big muffin fight.

Nevertheless, minus the crazy stuff, I think Jane had the right idea.

Because if we want to build a career or business, then having a voice and a point of view online is essential.  We can’t hide behind a polite social mask trying not to upset anyone.

 

Visibility is a 21st century necessity, which means

…risking judgement, criticism, confrontation and a degree of fear.

Public scrutiny isn’t something people are prepared for. Just a decade ago, only those with high profile careers were open to wider judgement.  Nowadays, Jane and her muffins are in the firing line.

It’s scary stuff. 

When we step out of our comfort zone, we can unleash hidden fears of rejection, abuse, humiliation and shame.  

Recent statistics show that over 15 million adults in the US suffer from a full blown Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).  Add to that the rest of the world and the those with mild to moderate social acceptance fears…and we have a problem.

And we don’t need a full blown disorder to have some pretty intense reactions to being scrutinised. 

Social Pressures

Many people hide away, because they can’t stand the social pressures.

They hate the hustle.  They can’t stand the critics.  The judgements terrify them.  A lot of them quit their dreams.

But that isn’t the easier road.  The social media situation is just a mirror reflecting our deeper insecurities.  If we don’t decide to use it as a tool for transformation, then we’re missing a trick.  We’ll carry that burden around and hide our light under a bush.

And hell NO, to that.

Because life means consistently showing up and thriving in both personal and professional relationships.

We need to fight the good fight (with ourselves), because no matter the devastation, disappointment, frustration or self-doubt…the show must go on.

It MUST GO ON.

Because the world needs our work (and our sugar free muffins)… so we need to find a way through the social swamp.

So what can we do?

Firstly, we can recognise that we’re being triggered, so we can own it. If we can take responsibility for our reactions, we have a chance of staying graceful in our behaviour and stop self-doubt creeping in.

And for sure, it creeps in.

Because trying to play bigger in the world, means our insecurities are poked daily.

Our only option is to look to ourselves and start asking why we care so much. 

We have to find ways of minimising the impact it’s having on us.

That means recognising what’s in and out of our control, so we can make a plan to cope.

There’s a branch of psychology known as ‘Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and the research here has shown…

‘We’re not disturbed by things, but by our beliefs about things‘.

Which means…we’re really upsetting ourselves.

No-one out there can provoke our emotions to the extent we have a meltdown.

And If it’s not ‘things’ out there that upset us, then…

Where do we start turning things around?

Well we have to look at our beliefs. We need to investigate what meaning we’re attaching to the judgement of others.

If you want to ditch fear, stop approval seeking and get confident, then download the free guide and learn the 5 steps to taking control of your own troubling emotions and responses!

If you want to ditch fear, stop approval seeking and get confident, then download the free guide and learn the 5 steps to taking control of your own troubling emotions and responses!

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, doesn’t promote ‘positive thinking’.  It promotes ‘reality thinking’.

It allows for the fact that we are naturally going to feel negative about a negative situation.  However, it draws the line at disturbing ourselves unnecessarily.

It clearly outlines  two types of negative thinking.  One is healthy and rational, the other is unhealthy and irrational.

So, in a nutshell…

1. Irrational beliefs lead us to feel unhealthy negative emotions, and carry out unhealthy behaviours.

2. Rational beliefs lead us to feel healthy negative emotions and carry out healthy behaviours.

So both are negative and yet one is a healthy response and the other not.  How so?

Well let’s take Jane’s muffin incident as an example.  When Jane was criticized, she got into unhealthy anger and behaved in unhealthy ways that caused her some chaos.

In REBT we would help Jane recognise that she’s experiencing a very painful emotion because of her irrational thinking, not because of her critics. We’d also work through the consequences of her behaviours, which she needs to address if she wants to develop good on-line relationships.

So we’d look to help her move from irrational to rational thinking…which involves getting from the unheathy beliefs, emotions and behaviours to the healthy beliefs, emotions and behaviours…in response to this negative situation. 

 See if you’ve directly or indirectly experienced any of the following types of reactions…

 A. Irrational

(Not based on reality)

B. Rational

(Based on reality)

Possible Irrational Beliefs –  So Jane’s in a tizz.  In order to get into that tizz, she has to have attributed meaning to what happened.  The following is example thinking that would lead to her disturbing herself…

‘How dare they say that about my muffins’.  ‘I hate those people; they are out of order’.  ‘I can’t stand it when people do that.’   ‘I can’t stand this’.  ‘It’s not fair’. ‘I won’t stand for it’ ‘I’ll show them!’. ‘They’re all mean people’. ‘I’ll get my own back on them’. This is awful. I QUIT!

This type of thinking is irrational because, 1. It’s out of proportion to the situation. 2. Jane CAN stand it, she’s being overly dramatic  3. The audience are not mean, although their behaviour might have been mean.  4. There’s no fairness fairy in the sky, handing out fairness.  There’s only life being life. 5. Thoughts of revenge, anger, upset and quitting, is self-defeating and pointless as it hurts Jane, it doesn’t hurt the haters. Plus, she doesn’t reflect on her own behaviour so no change can happen.

It’s this type of thinking that leads to….

Unhealthy Anger

Jane’s interpretation is causing her to disturb herself…leading to unhealthy anger and possibly fear, which in turn leads to….

Unhealthy and irrational behaviours – Jane got defensive, started confronting people.  She got into arguments and lost self-control.  Depending on her nature, she might get more opinionated or she might withdraw and give up, because she fears another incident.  She might seek a ‘revenge of the muffins’ attack on her critics.  She might never bake another muffin again, telling herself her ideas suck.

Possible rational beliefs –  So, let’s compare the irrational beliefs to something that’s more reasonable and rational.  The following is example thinking that would lead to Jane being upset but not unduly disturbed…

‘It’s challenging, but I’ll cope.’ ‘I can do this, I‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it).’ ‘This is more about them than it is about me.’ ‘I do think they’re being quite rude and that’s upsetting, but maybe I was too opinionated, and I can tone it down a bit.’ 

This type of thinking is rational because 1. It’s in proportion to the situation. 2. Jane recognises it’s uncomfortable, but tolerable, she dosen’t do drama!  3. Jane sees the big picture and sees that it might be about the other peoples’ attitudes, but she doesn’t get into blaming.  4.  She doesn’t expect some magic fairness to occur, she accepts the situation for what it is.  She checks herself to see if she was inappropriate and uses the situation to self-reflect and see if she needs to change. 

It’s this type of thinking leads to…

Healthy Anger/Upset

Janes interpretation will cause her to be appropriately upset without having a meltdown, which in turn leads to…

Healthy and rational behaviours – If Jane was in healthy fear and anger, she would have been irritated and concerned, which is a balanced response to a negative event. She might have ignored the negative comments, or remained polite, yet assertive.  Even if she does initially get upset, her rational approach, will allow her to return to emotional equilibrium quickly, so she can choose her responses. 

 A. Irrational

(Not based on reality)

Possible Irrational Beliefs –  So Jane’s in a tizz.  In order to get into that tizz, she has to have attributed meaning to what happened.  The following is example thinking that would lead to her disturbing herself…

‘How dare they say that about my muffins’.  ‘I hate those people; they are out of order’.  ‘I can’t stand it when people do that.’   ‘I can’t stand this’.  ‘It’s not fair’. ‘I won’t stand for it’ ‘I’ll show them!’. ‘They’re all mean people’. ‘I’ll get my own back on them’. This is awful. I QUIT!

This type of thinking is irrational because, 1. It’s out of proportion to the situation. 2. Jane CAN stand it, she’s being overly dramatic  3. The audience are not mean, although their behaviour might have been mean.  4. There’s no fairness fairy in the sky, handing out fairness.  There’s only life being life. 5. Thoughts of revenge, anger, upset and quitting, is self-defeating and pointless as it hurts Jane, it doesn’t hurt the haters. Plus, she doesn’t reflect on her own behaviour so no change can happen.

It’s this type of thinking that leads to….

Unhealthy Anger

Jane’s interpretation is causing her to disturb herself…leading to unhealthy anger and possibly fear, which in turn leads to….

Unhealthy and irrational behaviours – Jane got defensive, started confronting people.  She got into arguments and lost self-control.  Depending on her nature, she might get more opinionated or she might withdraw and give up, because she fears another incident.  She might seek a ‘revenge of the muffins’ attack on her critics.  She might never bake another muffin again, telling herself her ideas suck.

B. Rational

(Based on reality)

Possible rational beliefs –  So, let’s compare the irrational beliefs to something that’s more reasonable and rational.  That might sound something like this…

 ‘It’s challenging, but I’ll cope.’ ‘I can do this, I‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it).’ ‘This is more about them than it is about me.’ ‘I do think they’re being quite rude and that’s upsetting, but maybe I was too opinionated, and I can tone it down a bit.’ 

This type of thinking is rational because 1. It’s in proportion to the situation. 2. Jane recognises it’s uncomfortable, but tolerable.  3. Jane sees the big picture and sees that it might be about the other peoples’ attitudes.  4.  She checks herself to see if she was inappropriate and uses the situation to self-reflect and see if she needs to change. 

It’s this type of thinking leads to…

Healthy Anger (probably milder irritation/concern/disappointment)

Janes interpretation will cause her to be appropriately upset without having a meltdown, which in turn leads to…

Healthy and rational behaviours – If Jane was in healthy fear and anger, she would have been irritated and concerned, which is a balanced response to a negative event. She might have ignored the negative comments, or remained polite, yet assertive.

 

Rational/Reality Thinking Is Our Greatest Power!

So now if Jane is operating from the B. column of rational beliefs and healthy anger/irritation, she’ll get over it!  She won’t give up, keep ruminating about it, seek revenge, cause a scene or withdraw.

Instead, she can be notably concerned, but recognise it’s no big hairy deal.

When WE face similar judgement or find ourselves disturbed by a strong emotional reaction…we can do the same.  We can check to see if we’re in the rational or irrational camp and adjust our thinking in line with reality.

That’s one of the secrets of a sane and happy life. 

And it’s totally within our circle of control.

When life throws rocks, making the shift from unhealthy negative to healthy negative emotions comes by changing your thoughts, that’s where your power lies.

You don’t have to jump on the happy clappy train. You just need to check who’s in charge of your brain when the negative hits. Is it you…or your inner ‘drama lama/victim’?

 

Turning around negative momentum takes skill.

You can treat it like a 100 kph train, you might not stop this ingrained habit suddenly.  It has to be slowed down until it stops, then you get out, go to the other end and drive in another direction.

Just catch yourself when you’re triggered and turn in the right direction by replacing each thought with something that is in line with real life.

This strategy will help bring you more harmony, better relationships and more resilience, because you’ll stay strong when it gets tough.  And it’s just as important in helping you be successful in all areas of your life.

Check in, turn it around, get perspective and carry on.

To your success.

Linda B x

 

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

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