At times events that happen to us or around make us feel overwhelmed. At these times each of us is caught in a bind, wondering if it is ok to give in to your natural feelings like anger, hurt, frustration etc. that the event has triggered or to try your best to be stoic, dispassionate and pretend to be brave. Often we prefer to embrace the latter, more to prove our own ability to cope rather than let our defenses down and spill out our deepest emotions. There is also the added pressures from the do- gooders around, who whisper gently that one needs to control his/ her emotions and not succumb to fear, frustration, anger, hurt and loneliness. Unfortunately, one cannot be completely divorced of personal emotions and reality demands that expelling pent up emotions is a good way to get rid of unwanted toxic feelings from within.
Hence there is nothing wrong in getting angry, upset, confused or feeling stuck up, lonely, hurt or to give in to a good crying spell. In short, it is perfectly ok not to be ok.
However, there is a risk that by regularly giving in to our negative emotions, we may become susceptible to adopting a ‘poor me’ syndrome. One needs to be watchful against undervaluing one’s self, looking at life from a all that goes wrong and not being able to enjoy the countless bounty one is blessed with. This is the point at which some of us begin to wage war with ourselves by finding fault in happenings that are not to our liking or events that come as a set back or by craving for what we do not have or aspire too. The thinking is skewed; the feeling of not having enough, the tendency to blame self, family, circumstances and fate are all symptomatic of a person at war with himself/ herself.
The antidote to this is threefold:
Do not bottle up your feelings – give release to your emotions. It is perfectly alright to feel down, hurt, depressed, sad, unhappy, anxious, worried and weepy. There are moments when we need to align our behavior with the feelings that are overtaking us. By giving vent to those feelings we are exhaling those toxic emotions and cleansing ourselves from within. The toxicity exhaled will be replaced by positive feelings of hope, acceptance, courage, determination and self belief. It is a cleansing of the mind and body that helps rejuvenate the spirit.
Do not overreact to circumstances – At the other end of the spectrum is a tendency to overreact to unforeseen, unfortunate and unforgiving circumstances that occasionally transgress into our peaceful existence. Since change is a constant in everyone’s life it is obvious that sooner or later each of us will have to deal with pain, fear, illness, failure and death. The problem is when we overreact and see our problems as disastrous, calamitous and unending. Bringing a sense of proportion and balance is the only way to deal with circumstances that we do not want to face but have overtaken us. So while giving in to our feelings and reacting to it without bottling it up is perfectly in order, over reacting and getting emotionally irrational would be a self inflicted disaster.
Find value in your current circumstances – No matter what the circumstance you face, look around and see that there are a people courageously coping with even more calamitous problems. In comparison it would occur to us that we are much more blessed in that our problems are relatively easy to cope with. The best way to cope with any form of emotional pain is to look it is from a point of view of what do we still have despite all that is happened. Seek out value that makes tomorrow worth looking forward to. E.g. a student who has failed can still count on his parents, friends and teachers supporting him despite them possibly criticizing him / her initially. Failure then is not the end of the world but a temporary blip in life. An even more extreme example is the purported reaction of Thomas Alva Edison, whose life’s work was charred to ashes when his house went up in flames. His reaction was, as he said the ‘opportunity to observe the biggest fire he had ever seen in his life’. Subsequently when asked about the loss of all his years of research, he is purported to have quipped ‘ now I can start again with a clean slate’.
- What were the two most challenging / trying/ painful experiences you encountered? How did you cope with it?
- Share with us links or documents of 2 inspirational articles or stories or videos of people who have coped with their most challenging problems. You can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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