What is wrong with me?

Fallacy of the "wrong" question

When you are feeling bad, asking yourself "What is wrong with me?" seems like an important question. It is not. It is the wrong question altogether. Let me explain...

I used to experience free-floating anxiety whenever I was alone. Free-floating anxiety is when you don't really know what is causing your anxiety or making you feel bad. Even if you do have a vague sense of what is troubling you, you can't put your finger on what it is.

In this situation the question "What is wrong with me?" seems like exactly the right question to ask.

The logic goes like this:

"I feel bad; ergo, there is something wrong with me."


The logic goes like this:

"I feel bad; ergo, there is something wrong with me."


This logic seems irrefutable. As I am feeling bad for no reason at all, there must be something wrong with me, right? Furthermore, there has to be something in my thinking that needs to be fixed.

Well, yes and no. If the situation has been going on for a period of time, you obviously want to start doing something differently. This does not, however, mean there is necessarily anything wrong with you or even your thinking.

Going beyond the question

What you need is an alternative explanation to why you are feeling the way you feel. Here is the one that I found.

Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't in my thinking at all. Perhaps the reason I am feeling anxious is that I have been neglecting my emotions and not giving them the attention they deserve.

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With this explanation, the above logic is no longer irrefutable. I might be feeling the way I feel and it doesn't mean there is necessarily anything wrong with me. There might not be anything that needs to be fixed.

If this theory holds true, all you need to do is to start paying attention to those emotions and really allow yourself to feel them. The good news is, it is very easy to test this.

For me, this theory turned out to be true. As I learned to tune into my body and experience my emotions, the free-floating anxiety dissipated.

If you need help getting in touch with your emotions, I highly recommend The Kiloby Inquiries. This is what I personally used and what has helped a number of my clients.

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