Emotions can consume introverts. Elation and euphoria are felt intensely and deeply, so are disappointment and devastation. The sparkly, glittery great times are not a problem, of course. It’s the frustrating, overloaded, on-the-way-to-overwhelm times, that trip us up.
I am a firm believer that we are responsible for our own well-being. I’ve written about making your own happiness, independence, love and security. As much as I’d like to say I’ve mastered the art of self-fulfillment, I can’t. I still look to outside sources for company/attention/joy/love/approval/support. I still learn something every day. I suspect this is how it goes forever. As I stumble and learn, I share with you. I get deep satisfaction from that. It makes the idiocy and pain tolerable. It makes my heart and life expansive. The more I share, the more I have to give. Nifty.
More wisdom plucked from recent floundering
I’m going to let you in on two more little secrets that get me through the ruminating sh*tty times.
1. I’m open to everything changing in an instant.
2. I’m open to the exact opposite of what I see as the truth at the time.
Last weekend I had one of those kind of days where I felt like I was losing at every turn. My kids complained/fought/demanded like tyrants, which made me not like them very much, which made me not like me very much. My love life felt unstable. My house with its inability to sell and never-ending responsibilities weighed on me. My air conditioning was on the fritz. My summer was filling up with un-fun activities and a writing opportunity seemed to have slipped through my fingers.
I was feeling trapped and down. Fortunately, a tiny spark from a corner of my mind reminded me that just as things can go in the crapper in a hurry, things can go your way just as quickly. You have to be open to the upswing. It’s far easier to spiral downward than cycle up into lightness.
Buddhist nun, author and teacher, Pema Chrodron, says we are the sky and everything else is the weather. Emotions are like clouds. Everything passes through. Over and over again I have found this to be true. My track record for surviving difficult times is 100%.
I gritted my teeth and silently begged for the damn lousy weather to pass through faster.
I looked for signs that the winds were changing… and found them.
I took the kids to the movies and they were happy for two hours. Ding! My kids aren’t so bad.
My dad called and patiently listened to me kvetch. Ding! Catharsis, relief, I am loved.
A new recipe I made went over well. Ding! I am competent.
I received an email assuring me that my writing opportunity was still a go. Ding! I am competent in a different arena.
What if we look at this backwards, upside down or from the opposite perspective?
I refuse to stew in the same sad/mad/bad feelings for too long. A good friend of mine gets angry with me because when she is feeling mad or sad I always give her the bright side of things or I dole out possibilities for future happiness. She wants to stay surly and fume about how she was wronged. I want her to see the potential for different opportunities.
Perhaps it’s my intuitive way of perceiving things (Myers Briggs INFP). I can’t help but look forward. I also have a fairly adaptable temperament. If something doesn’t work, I switch gears.
Synchrodestiny: a constant state of connecting with all the possibilities that are.
In Gretchen Rubin’s book, Happier at Home, she talks about how we love to make arguments to justify a position but the truth is we can make arguments for the exact opposite stance if we really want to. For example, I could say, I’m a quiet person in a group and then I could list several instances when I was not talkative in a group setting. I could also say, I am very expressive in a group and come up with several examples of when I shared openly within a gathering of people.
The trick is to employ and fortify the positive argument more than the negative. In the case of my sucky Sunday, instead of thinking, My kids aren’t very thoughtful, I turned it around and thought, My kids ARE thoughtful. I then searched for examples of kid cooperation. I remembered how my middle son got everyone in the car to go to the park. I remembered how my daughter always hugs me at just the right time. I recalled my oldest son supporting a statement I made earlier that day. This shift in thinking starts a chain reaction. It moves energy around and creates a new paradigm.
Neuropsychiatrist, Dan Siegel, says that it only takes 90 seconds to shift out of a mood state. If you can change your thought pattern for 90 seconds your emotions will arise and fall like a wave on the shore.
Emotions don’t have to consume. Just let them pass through.
Do you have any wise tricks that help you prevent emotional paralysis? When was the last time you managed/embraced your feelings and expanded?
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