Dread is a common emotion, yet we seldom realize when we are fully triggered by it. Dread sits in the body and erodes our calm, our centeredness and our ability to function from a clear and positive space. What causes dread for people and how can we get out ahead of it?
Melissa Albers 0:00
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. So JJ, this week, I had lunch with a friend and peer that I haven't seen for a really long time. And this person had reached out to me asking to get together. And I had just been hearing a lot of stories about this person. In the last several weeks, that were leading me to believe that this person was in a not a very good spot.
JJ Parker 0:44
Melissa Albers 0:45
I know. And, and what's funny is, is that I know her really well. And the stories that I heard, you know how you never want to believe a story. But the stories that I heard, I just had an intuition were true. You know what I mean? Like, she just wasn't in a good spot. And when she's not in a good spot, she is not her best self. And when she's not her best self, she acts out sort of in a way that's not really very authentic. And really, frankly, I can't stand that. I can't stand it. I can't stand that misalignment to the point where I said, Yes, but I was dreading it so much from the moment I said, Yes, I was dreading it.
JJ Parker 1:31
Yeah, you're dreading it for like, the whole week, before. You even called me like hours before that. I did. Like I'm so dreading going.
Melissa Albers 1:42
Yeah, help me, help me figure out how to get through this, like helped me. You were very pragmatic, too. By the way, I might add that that's a separate topic.
JJ Parker 1:55
But it's interesting to think about, like, talk about dread, right? Like, yeah, all the time, we are in situations where, like, we don't want like, we don't want to go do a thing. We don't want to go meet a person. And we sit and think about it for days or weeks ahead of time.
Melissa Albers 2:13
Yeah. And you know, what, as per the self awareness, journey, Dread, I didn't actually realize is one of my triggers. But dread is huge for me.
JJ Parker 2:27
When I think about dread it like, and specifically, self awareness, and like, where, like where I feel dread, like in my body like it? Yeah, that's a very physical response toward me, too. That's probably well, it's pretty deep. It's almost like in my intestines.
Melissa Albers 2:49
Stomach, though in your stomach. Oh, interesting.
JJ Parker 2:54
And it's just like, it feels like, Yo, like, there's a wall and I just can't get through it. Right. Like, there's a resistance pushing on me all the time.
Melissa Albers 3:06
i It's funny, because as much as you and I talk about being self aware, and like, understanding feelings and stuff like that, I honestly, don't know how I missed this for so long. And this feeling of dread. I hate it. I hate the feeling of dread. It makes me anxious, it leads to all sorts of other storytelling. And for me when I feel dread, it's right in the very solar plexus, and it feels like a huge magnet, like a rock. And it's and then it just waits my shoulders down. Like everything is right in that center place. And oh my gosh, was it ever pervasive going into that?
JJ Parker 3:52
So that like, like, constant physical feeling? Mm hmm. Makes your brain go crazy. Oh, yeah. Right. Like, yeah, all you do is think about it. Constantly. Right? Yeah. And then, like you said, that turns into manufacturing tons of stories. Yeah. How about? Yeah, like, what could be? Yeah. And you start just thinking like, oh, this could happen, that could happen. And yeah, start manufacturing scenarios that that aren't true.
Melissa Albers 4:25
Yes. And manufacturing emotions that aren't true. And feelings, because now by just like, trace this a little bit down further, the dread was because, first of all, I just dreaded having any kind of conversation that wasn't going to be authentic. I can't, I can't stand doing that anymore. Being with somebody that's not willing to be authentic. So I was dreading like, Oh, I just I don't want to do that. I can't do that. What if it starts a conflict? What if, what if, what if whatever so I went into this whole fear mode. Have all of these things that could happen? That? Yeah. And the fear and anxiety were almost as great as the bass line, feeling of dread. And so that's interesting. Like it elicited all sorts of other things.
JJ Parker 5:23
So why, like, why do we dread things? Like, what is that? Like? What's the reason for that feeling?
Melissa Albers 5:34
I like for me in this particular scenario, I'd be really interested to hear what you think, too. I'll just go first. So I think like, for me the situation in this scenario, I think I was dreading it because I was fearful of not knowing how to really handle the situation or so fearing I wasn't going to be good enough, or it wasn't enough for the conversation. And what I so wanted, so that was the other thing is like, I really wanted to steer it. I wanted to steer the conversation in a particular direction. But is that really fair? You know, like, is that right, either? And so then again, it was just it just brought up all this insecurity?
JJ Parker 6:21
Oh, yeah. Like, that's, that's it, like you, you kind of like, had come up with like, a particular agenda that you wanted to kind of cover and you're kind of worried that covering it was gonna maybe hurt feelings offend, offend or go sideways? Or yeah, not go the way you wanted? Yeah. Yeah. But there again, there's like an expectation you're setting.
Melissa Albers 6:46
Exactly right. Right. We know how well that goes whenever I expected anything. That never goes, well. Why do you think people dread things?
JJ Parker 6:57
Well, I can tell you why I dread things like my biggest, like, the thing I dread the most is around. Like con, like, probably conflict. I wouldn't even say conflict. It's just like, like, I get most anxious around, like, dealing with hard subjects. Like directly with people. Right. So kind of confrontation, maybe like confrontation is probably like a better? That's like the thing I dread the most. And I don't know why. It's it's somewhere it's something because I again, I like, I don't want to hurt somebody, I don't want to, like say the wrong thing and have it be taken the wrong way. Right. Like, I'm worried that like what my intentions are and and what that confrontation might result in would be different. Right? Yeah. But, like, over the years, I've, I've learned that like that dread is false, like every single time. Oh, yes. No, I
Melissa Albers 8:08
still do it.
JJ Parker 8:09
We still do it.
Melissa Albers 8:10
Oh, yeah. That's the thing. Right? Isn't that funny? Like, we know it's false, we have so much evidence to prove that dread is is very, very seldomly validated.
JJ Parker 8:25
Yeah. So, yeah. How is like I often like to go back to this, like, what, what's the monkey brain purpose for these feelings? Yeah, right. Yeah, let's go in the woods again. But really, like, I'm not exactly sure what it is. It's like, like, what's the survival instinct for this particular emotion? It's like, like, I don't know, like, okay, in the morning, we need to wake up early and like, get all our stuff and hike the Oregon Trail to California or something like I don't know what it is. It's like, we have to move camp, we need to move the tribe like we're worried about, yeah, something or maybe well, it's what you said. It's, it's more about, like, doing things that make us not feel like we're good enough. Or we're contributing enough or, or like, we've offended people in our get Yeah, it's a security thing.
Melissa Albers 9:17
Hmm. That's interesting, because you know, what we do have lots of like, I have, as a matter of fact, my old roommate, and I used to make jokes. And we would say things like, whenever something was coming up that we didn't want. So we never use the word dread. And we weren't even realizing we were having a really funny conversation. But we would be like, Oh, that's okay. We can eat when we get there. We can sleep in the car. We'll pay it on the 15th. And we started listing all of these standard comments that we made in our early 20s as a self soothing technique, not something we were dreading.
JJ Parker 9:57
Yeah, that's funny. Yeah. Wait When we go on, like family vacations, I always say like, you know, like, there's stores wherever we're going. Like, you have to think of every possible thing you could possibly need, like the stores all over the whole country, the whole world. In fact, we're happy to sell you stuff if you forget.
Melissa Albers 10:17
Stop being so pragmatic. That's not fun. Oh my gosh. But
JJ Parker 10:24
even it, like if we like, look into that a little bit. It is like, like, the feeling of dread. Yeah, sometimes is, is, is maybe more. It's like, there's anxiety about something, right? Yeah, totally. And then what you really are trying to stop is like, No, I don't want to be in this anxious state.
Melissa Albers 10:46
Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because it feels wonky. You don't feel in your center. No one likes to feel anxious. Like you said something about like, okay, in the morning, we're gonna move camp, right? Yeah. Which made me remember another really serious dread that I have. And I'm a huge morning person, as you know,
JJ Parker 11:04
I like this. I like this is like, this is like, give me more more of your fears out.
Melissa Albers 11:11
I hate getting up really early for flight. I hate it. And I dread it. Even though I'm a morning person. Yeah. I dread the feeling of the alarm going off when it's pitch dark. And as a result, I don't sleep well, the night before, right?
JJ Parker 11:30
Yes, I was gonna say like, what happens then is then you just have a terrible night's sleep and you start your vacation often terrible way.
Melissa Albers 11:37
Yeah. Because I actually sit and dread it and dread it and then I get that stomach. It's like, oh, and it's so my, it's such a minute thing that you wouldn't think that it could cause a ruckus, but it can cause a huge ruckus.
JJ Parker 11:51
Oh, I know. In fact, for for Amber, and I like, I learned to schedule flights later. Like I really, I really love getting up early getting to the airport, like that night before. I'm like, that's exciting to me. I fall right asleep. I'm like, yeah, do like, yeah. But for her it results in like, right, like a horrible, horrible night's sleep and a bad start to the whole thing. So
Melissa Albers 12:16
yeah, I've actually started to moon. That's what I do with vacations now too. And I put down the expectation that I missing half of my day on the first day, even though it's a travel day, I put that expectation down, because I think it's easier to wake up at a, quote, reasonable time when you're traveling with a herd. And you know, like, if you're just traveling by yourself, it's different, because all you have to worry about is you but yeah, yeah. So that would be another time where I really dread something. It's funny, though, because that dread is what like the proactive state of dread. Like this is an interesting thing to think about. The productive state of dread makes you makes me almost like you will say me, the productive state of dread makes me start trying to control the outcomes. Early. Yep. And by doing that, I'm already pushing a certain energy into that experience, which isn't helpful at all.
JJ Parker 13:21
That's a really great way to like conceptualize dread Is that is that you're trying to assert, and you don't have control?
Melissa Albers 13:31
Right, exactly. Because it's something that hasn't happened yet. Yep. Yeah. Yeah, that's
JJ Parker 13:36
a really good insight.
Melissa Albers 13:37
And you push that energy into it. And it can actually derail a beautiful experience that's about to unfold.
JJ Parker 13:48
Right? So how was her lunch?
Melissa Albers 13:52
It was so good. It was so good. So all of that dread and fear. It was it was it was everything. Yeah. completely wasted. It was two hours. A really insightful, authentic, deep conversation. Well, that's awesome. And at the end, we agreed that we would do it again and not wait so long. Yeah. So.
JJ Parker 14:21
So you like laughing at myself now? Yeah. Like you wrapped yourself around the axle? Or like, oh, he times, right. Yes. Just Yes. just nodded yourself up. And then. Yeah, then you went to lunch? And, yeah, it was great.
Melissa Albers 14:38
It's funny though, because some of these dreads are based on things that have happened to us in the past. You know, like the things that we dread are maybe really deep seated fears, you know, like, like, for example, your boss like
JJ Parker 14:53
like the dentist. Oh my gosh, just thinking one other was like the most common thing people tried. Oh, yeah, going to the dentist.
Melissa Albers 15:02
Do you like going to the dentist?
JJ Parker 15:04
You know what? That's funny because like, I, I do like I totally don't mind going to the dentist. Ah, but like, there's like this society thing where which says like I should dread going to the dentist. So for a while it just was like oh yeah, no, I don't like that I don't see they're just to fit in
oh my gosh, I think like when you don't really have like, yeah, like problems with your teeth, then going to doses? Yeah, pretty easy. Yeah, yeah, my experience is like maybe not everyone's experience
Melissa Albers 15:40
which you've finished, a lot of our conversations with my experience might not be the same. But even though you so you start talking about like one of the things you dread, which is like challenging conversations, right? Or conversations in which they may be challenging. Yeah. And you know, what's funny is my husband has said that many times to where, especially like with he and I like if he wants to say something, he will not say it in the chance that there will that an argument would ensue. Or that maybe not even as much of an argument, but just a debate or something of less than a chord, right? Yeah. And he will put it off and put it off and put it off. But what actually happens for him is he starts to get kind of annoyed and angry about it. But it's only because I have no idea cuz he hasn't said anything. You know, and I have a lot of male energy in that way where it's like, what are you mad about something? What like, but he'll say, I just didn't say anything. And I don't know why I didn't because I always feel so much better when I do. Yeah. Yeah. I think there's a lot of us that are that way. It's like we don't say something, because we think we dread what that would look like. But afterwards, it's like, oh, I don't know, I didn't say something sooner. I feel so much better and easier about the other person. It has nothing to do with the other person. It's all what we put on ourselves and stories we're telling ourselves and how we're making ourselves feel.
JJ Parker 17:13
Yeah, and also, like, from my experience, every time I do have a challenging conversation, yeah. head on. It's better for both both people, like every time, like, No, there's no collateral damage caused by like, not confronting things is way worse than the actual. Yeah, the actual thing you're worried about.
Melissa Albers 17:37
I think it's interesting, because a lot of our pods we talk about the resulting or ensuing feeling or emotion about something. Yeah. But we've never talked about dread. And that was funny, isn't it? Yeah. Because that is such a major one. And it affects us in in so many relationships. And And the funny thing about dread, is it affects us not even in our interaction with others, it affects us so much just with ourselves. Like, yeah, like, if you dread for example, you don't like doing laundry, you dread doing laundry? Mm hmm. You know, take my daughter, for example. She's quite piles of clothes all over. It used to be and now, you know, now it's like, now she gets out ahead of it. But it's like the dread of not wanting to do a certain task. And then watching what that looks like to have that task not done around you. causes another completely different emotion, right? You start getting mad at yourself, you start judging yourself, I feel bad.
JJ Parker 18:38
It's a build up and it just becomes like super overwhelming to the point where yeah, like, to the point where like, from maybe like your perspective is just be like, seriously, all you need to do is like scoop this pile of laundry up and put it right in the washer. It's like the easiest thing. But yeah, for the for the other person is like built up all of that emotion. Yeah, that is a gigantic mountain of stuff to move. Yeah, like, yeah. And you have to, like, help wreck it, you know, we we could talk about like, helping people who we can tell are in this dread mode. Yeah, right in this overwhelm mode. How can we help them? Yeah, when we recognize it, right? Because, you know, saying things like, Oh, it's just no big deal. Just good. Go do it. Right. Generally not helpful. No, in my experience.
Melissa Albers 19:32
You don't like that, you know, like when somebody tells you to just go do it.
JJ Parker 19:35
I was smarter saying I will say that to other people, and it's not well received.
Melissa Albers 19:41
Oh, that's funny. Yeah, I do think it's really an interesting topic, though. Because dread is a very strong emotion that occurs when it isn't even just emotional response or reaction that we're that we're avoiding. It isn't even Just not just but it isn't even about the interaction with other people. It is all the interaction
JJ Parker 20:06
with Yeah, it's all yourself. Yeah, it's a very internal thing. Yeah.
Melissa Albers 20:10
And the story you tell yourself, and the story you tell yourself and the story you're telling yourself. So what I really learned and, and I've had lots of conversations with my coach about this too, is, especially when you're like a big picture thinker, or like a low patience person where you're constantly in motion fast, which is, you know, kind of my natural setting, there's a lot of things that I will know is coming up, and I will instantly get some sort of thought or expectation about what it will be. And then I will start to dread it. And, and so then the emotion that I have carrying along with that particular whatever it is, is this feeling of construction, because I think dread is construction. And, and in the creation mode, going forward in situations that have not even yet been created. Construction creates anxiety, stress, and heaviness. So not an energy that's helpful for creation at all. Yep. So I think like, that's the one of the big takeaways that I've had from that experience in the last few days.
JJ Parker 21:20
So we talked about, like, how the, the result like, after, yeah, we'll try something for a long time. Yeah, we go do the thing. After it usually works out. Like just fine. Yeah, like almost every, almost every time I'm actually trying to think of a time where I dreaded a thing. And that fear came true. It almost never comes true. As as far as I can remember, I should probably start a spreadsheet on this. You may already have what analytics. There's probably actually there's probably a lot of study around this. Yeah. I don't know what it'd be titled. turn into reality or something. Run. But you even said it like at you had a wonderful lunch. You're relieved after? Like, he kind of like re handled the relationship? Yeah, like all super positive things. But after Yeah, so people can probably reflect on things that they've dread. In the past. days, weeks, months here. Yeah. And just think about what what happened. What actually happened?
Melissa Albers 22:35
Mm hmm. Yeah, as a way of informing you about like, trying to get out ahead of it next time. Yeah.
JJ Parker 22:43
So like, hey, like, the next time I get this feeling, just remember what happened the last time, right.
Melissa Albers 22:50
And that body indicator is huge. Because, like for me, I didn't actually even use the word dread. I don't think until like a few hours before going, but I was thinking it for a long time. Yeah. But
JJ Parker 23:05
I doubt you are using words like I'm not looking forward to. Yes. I'm worried about Yes. Like, I don't know how to Yes. You know, yeah. handle the situation.
Melissa Albers 23:15
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Especially when it's somebody that you care about, and that you've, you know, that you've been in partnership in some way, shape, or form for years and years, years, that when the stakes are even greater, it becomes even more challenging to have clarity about what it is you're really feeling.
JJ Parker 23:31
I that's, I think that's a key part of this too. Like when we interact with people that we don't care about, right, that we don't like we, yeah, there's usually not as much dread. Right, right. But when it's an interaction with someone we truly care about, that amps the emotion up even more,
Melissa Albers 23:52
right? Like, well, like, take social media, for example. We can say do or be anything we want behind the lens of social media, because we don't really know who our audience is. And we don't really care about any of the ramifications of it, because then you don't have that level of connection. But yes, but then if it's your someone in your home or friend or somebody that you've worked with for a number of years, it's very different.
JJ Parker 24:18
So now that we've uncovered this wonderful new trigger for you, Episode, right, exactly. What are you gonna do like next time you next time you get this this feeling? Yeah. What Yeah, but again, because we get to practice self awareness all the time. What's what's the what's one small thing you're going to do? Yeah, remember? Yeah, the next time this feeling of dread comes up for you.
Melissa Albers 24:44
Well, it's interesting that you asked me that because I already asked myself this yesterday on my way back from the restaurant, because I it was such a feeling of relief. The feeling that replaced dread was this flood of relief and deep contentment and joy and happiness, and connectedness. It was like, I can't even explain how different it was. And I remember thinking to myself, you know, I have control over this, that in a way that I never even realized. And we, I've talked about it in a theoretical way and talking about stuff is never ever the same as practicing. But But I really realized that in that moment, that when that feeling that heavy, like metal disk inside of my solar plexus, when that started to fire off, that I have an opportunity to say, what energy do I want to associate this with right now? You know, because it's really as simple as that. If I am helping in the co creation of this experience, what can I bring? What can I do or be or bring to this that that will afford me to not feel dread. But to add, the very best I have is neutrality. In that moment, I knew I wasn't going to be like, Whoa, but I could certainly go for neutrality and I would feel good with neutrality because it affords things movement.
JJ Parker 26:13
Yep, that's wonderful.
Melissa Albers 26:15
It was it was a really good line. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. Well, we'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.
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