“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did, and why you no longer need to feel it.” – Mitch Albom
There are times when we don’t want to feel our feelings … but we know that, in the end, this will only make things worse.
And one way to process feelings, so they don’t come back to haunt us, is by working on a practice called the T-R-U-T-H technique.
This is described in Tina Gilbertson’s book: “Constructive wallowing: How to beat bad feelings by letting yourself have them”.
The 5 Steps in the T-R-U-T-H technique can be summarized as follows:
T – Tell yourself the situation: Describe things as they are, in a non-judgmental way. For example, if you’ve just learned your spouse is having an affair you might say:
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I feel completely spaced out. I don’t know what to say. I think I’m in a state of shock.”
R – Realize what you’re feeling: There are no wrong ways to feel. All emotions are allowed. Don’t pretend that things are fine. It’s important to be real.
So, in our case study example you might state something like:
“I feel stunned and shocked. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I think that I am feeling both angry and afraid.”
U – Uncover self-criticism: We need to show ourselves compassion, and to be on our own side. We shouldn’t sabotage our healing by being self-critical.
Examples of self-critical thoughts might include:
“I shouldn’t be taking this so badly. Other people have experienced and survived much worse things.”
“I should be over this by now. Perhaps there’s something wrong with me.”
T – Try to understand yourself: Try to analyze exactly why you feel the way you do. Once you uncovered the roots, you’ll find your feelings make more sense.
For example, you might state something like:
“I thought we’d both made a commitment, and I trusted him completely. That’s why I feel so broken, rejected and deceived.”
H – Have the feeling: Sit with the feelings. Experience them fully. They are saying that you matter. They are helping you to heal.
Note: These steps are not necessarily linear or sequential; often they occur simultaneously.