“You made me feel bad!” – The sweat­pants of emotional self-determination

by | 19. Jul 2021

Jogginghose vor Wordwolke mit Gefühlsausdrücken

It’s still there – the myth of other-directed feelings.…

The Lager­feld sweat­pants of feeling?

I always cringe when I hear questions like “what did that do to you?” or state­ments à la “you made me very sad …” or “… that makes you feel good!”. And every time I remember the legen­dary saying of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld …

“Who wears sweat­pants has lost control of his/her life”

Karl Lager­feld

Because I wonder: what’s the diffe­rence between Lagerfeld’s sweat­pants and assuming that something or someone can deter­mine my feelings?

If something or someone can “do” something with my feelings, haven’t I lost self-deter­mi­na­tion over my emotions, my feelings?

Your feelings belong to you – do not leave them to anyone else!

I can BE happy or sad, but nobody can MAKE me happy or sad. Someone can try to cheer me up or to sadden me – whether it works and I am then happy or sad is up to me!

Taibi Kahler has described this as the 4 myths:

    • “You can make me feel good”
    • “You can make me feel bad”
    • “I can make you feel good”
    • “I can make you feel bad”

It all starts with my attitude towards myself

Attitudes toward ourselves and others greatly influence how we will react and feel about state­ments and behavior.

When I say to myself, that I am only OK if I please others, then I will allow others to “make me feel good”. If I don’t think I’m OK myself, then I invite others to “make me feel bad”. When in doubt, I always give in just to keep peace.

If I have the strong belief that I can make others perfect and strong, then I will try to “save” you with unsoli­cited advice, belie­ving that I can “make them feel good”.

If I think others are irrespon­sible and uncom­mitted, I will try to make them “feel bad” to get what I want.

What’s your experience?

What situa­tions invite (you?) to believe even the myth that others can make you feel bad?

What can you change today to regain control over your feelings and behavior?


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