What are meta-feelings?

One of the biggest things I learned in overcoming social anxiety was what Meta-Feelings (Meta-Emotions) are and how to deal with them.

Meta-Feelings are basically your feelings about your feelings. Or your reactions, thoughts, knowledge about your feelings.

History

Meta-Emotion was a term coined in the late 1990s by Gottman, Katz, and Hooven. It talked about how parents talked to their children about their feelings. We may have parents who have trained us emotionally and been fine with our emotions and welcomed conversations and sharing about them. Or we can have parents who reject, are ashamed, discouraged, disapprove of emotions, and do what is needed to stir up emotion in the room.

These reactions are internalized and become the way we treat our own feelings and the feelings of others.

I use the words feelings and emotions interchangeably.

4 types of meta-emotions

We can have 4 types of meta-emotions:

A study was conducted and concluded: “Meta-emotions can be divided into four types:

negative-negative (eg embarrassing feeling of sadness),

negative-positive (eg guilt from a feeling of happiness),

positive-positive (eg feeling of hope for feeling of relief),

positive-negative (eg feeling of pleasure from feeling angry), “

“Negative-negative metaemotions were the most common type of study in our study. This suggests that many people are upset, nervous, or angry especially at their own negative emotions.”

We are not advancing in therapy

I found that until I understood this concept, I did not make much inroads in therapy. What meta-feelings do is lock the original feeling in place. You must first work on the meta feelings to release the feelings you want to deal with. Often times, just the transformation of meta-feelings has released many basic feelings.

I’m such a loser

This was one of the loudest voices in my head. Whenever I did something that wasn’t perfect, I said to myself that I was defeated. Whenever I looked at my problems, I felt so exhausted and depressed because I didn’t get through anything. But. My problems were locked up because of how I talked and how I felt.

I can’t hear the voice in my head today.

So working on your relationship to your feelings and being kind and accepting them is paramount for you to heal.

Useful ways

In addition to the EFT I worked on when I was socially anxious, I learned to focus for a few years. It completely changed the way I expressed myself about my feelings. I learned that from Emily Agnew and Ann Weiser Cornell. I will write about the focus in the coming weeks.

Let me know how you evaluate your feelings about your feelings?

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