I had a dummy spit (tantrum) the other day. In my personal venting I shared a bit more, well a lot more than usual about the challenging side of being me. I didn't share this outburst to be calmed down, assuaged or catered to as victim. I opened up for the unselfish reason of showing you that I too have off days and frustration in the path I tread. (You can see my post here.)
Since writing and sharing I have shifted. So now I feel it is important to show you what I did. This is not to say I got it right and you need to do what I do. No it's about not wallowing in nor letting my frustration take over. I know my personality is one that in the past would do the wallowing and it didn’t serve me. Acknowledging and experiencing emotions though is real and valid.
In context my view is that our emotions are a part of our whole self. Setting aside grieving and deep healing as unique more in depth experiences, to be human is to go through emotions of all types. The bright side of emotions are the elevated states we experience. The down side are the lows. Emotions are tricky because they can sneak up on us, particularly if we bury, ignore or disregard their presence. You can be out driving and a certain song comes on and suddenly tears are welling. Or someone challenges you on a minor point in a meeting and next thing you know you are slamming papers down and speaking sternly in response. In these circumstances the emotions are signs that something is wrong.
Some of us are more emotional than others. You know your self. This aspect of self is something that over your life you learn to manage and integrate. Ideally we learn to notice, acknowledge, address and then let go. We also learn to find a baseline of stability, evenness in our being. However, when emotions get in the way of being you then it’s time to pay attention. Then it is important to do something about your experience. In other words the antidote to wallowing is action. But it depends on the action we take.
Dealing with the exceptions
The question for many is what you do with your challenging emotions when your day to day efforts are not working. I notice there are feelings on different levels. Sometimes we can feel and express in a calm manner. Other times the emotions take over. Either way there is an experience and sometimes these become a bit challenging.
When all gets too much, you may need to dive into an emotionally led self indulgent tantrum. My only proviso is not to direct your torment at someone else. It's hard to take that back. It is also helpful to have support as backup.
If you have your tantrum in whatever way you need then what? I suggest you find an outlet to clear your experience. If you stay attached to the emotions even though they have been released you are feeding them.
Clearing with intent
At a higher level, my main intent is to accept what I am experiencing even if I am cranky about it. My other intent is to clear and release what is coming up so it no longer gets in the way. Our emotions are powerful messengers of what is happening to us and so to heed their signals is valuable in the personal growth. What I have learned over MANY years of dedicated personal development is that my ability to clear these experiences is getting shorter and shorter. I know it sounds unconventional because it is.
I also know in the core of my being that I have within in me the capabilty to connect to and experience joy! Knowing this first hand and doing this more regularly reminds me that when I have a dip there is a place to return to. I can almost taste it, see it, grab it. I even just had one of these days recently (see update here.)
I work with emotions in a variety of ways. Usually my approach can fit into a category of mind, body, heart and soul. These approaches are simply what works for me. You will have your own. The key is that I check in intuitively with me on what I can do that will best serve me. I also ensure that I don’t rely on one solution. Why? Well to be honest I like variety and whole person approaches.
Some approaches that work for me
With my head I write. I love writing and for me this is a preferred way of processing how I feel. I open up my laptop journal and go to town. Sometimes I'm not able to see the words through my tears. Other times I push the keys so hard I am afraid ill have to replace the keyboard! Either way I am getting this experience out of me. I don't usually go back to this writing while it is fresh. However for me it is therapeutic and reaffirming later to read what I write knowing I am back to being me. I learn from this experience that whilst I may have dips I know how to get through them.
I talk it out. I don't just write. Sometimes I need a good ear. I have a few amazing friends in my inner circle of trust who really get me. I can talk to them without burdening them. They are like me, professionals in the coaching space. They know boundaries and how not to feed my victim!
Humour is essential for me. If a mood has taken over sometimes all I need is a good laugh. For me I am blessed (sometimes challenged) with a husband who says it is his mission to make me laugh every day. It works!!! Even his bad jokes. Otherwise a timeout with a favourite TV show or movie is great tonic. Some might say distraction. When I am in the place of needing a good laugh I consciously choose this.
My other outlet is exercise. If you saw me on my full voluptuous body you might question that (laughing at myself). I was once an exerciser for sport and training. These days I'm an exerciser for sanity, happiness and balance. My default is walking especially in nature. I also love swimming. Recently though I have found my love of cycling again. In it I have also discovered a new therapy where walking used to fit. I go out on a bike ride for fun! I have fun feeling the freedom, breathing the fresh air and seeing the sights I have noticed how great it is when I'm stuck to just grab the bike. On my rides I have as my only goal to ride the best I can and enjoy the ride. I'm not competing with anyone else.
A key way I get out of the dip is meditation. I saved this for last because it is to me the most important. There are many ways to meditate so I will not go into my personal approach here. The key for me is that my practice connects me to both my heart and the part of me that is wise - my intuitive self. When I connect I am no longer judgmental, critical, sad nor mad. I am able to be in love with being me, being in my life no matter what. I differentiate this from reflection or contemplation. For in those practices I can still be in my head and use such for integration. Whereas in my meditation I am working from a deeper place of heart and soul. It is the indescribable territory of our being that when we know it we are right.
What happens for me is that I am still learning how to sustain my in-meditation feeling outside of meditation. I am significantly better than I was last year, 5 years ago even 10. But like I said above I am human! So I get buffeted by the craziness and ups and downs of the world within which I live. I know I am a sensitive one and if tired or too busy can take on what is around me. And sometimes I forget and need to be reminded. I am still learning to hold the energy all day every day. I guess this is why we get a whole life to learn :-)
What I am getting better at all the time through lessons like my tantrum is getting back to me. By this I mean being whole, being accepting and living toward myself and believing again in what I am doing.
If I am not able to get back to me then that is a sign I need more help! I am the first person to acknowledge this and then I do get help. I have my go to people that I see to help with this work. They are amazing and I do so much more with their support.
But ultimately it is really up to me. I can choose to stay in the emotional torrent or work to accept and move on. I choose the later. I did not always do that so this is a big learning for me over the years. I take personal responsibility for me, warts and all.
What I 'did' this time
So what did I do after my tantrum the other day? Here are 10 things I did in no particular order.
- Wrote about it, then wrote more.
- Did a re-balancing meditation.
- Rode my bike along the bush.
- Watched a girlie chick flick comedy TV show and laughed.
- Had an aromatherapy bath with uplifting bath salts.
- Had coffee with a friend and talked with another.
- Sat outside under the stars at night.
- Enjoyed time with my family.
- Did a heart meditation a few times.
- Listened to some motivating podcasts.
I know, it sounds like I DID a lot. However I didn’t. In each of the actions I took I was fully present in the experience. I was being, even in the clearing of my thoughts.
A final word
So I share this update with you hoping that you might be inspired to find your own secret formula for getting back to you. If you have a dip, accept what you are going through and then address it with what works for you. Take time to look after you.
If your dip turns into a cavern then get some help! Don't wallow or wait.
Most of all remember you are not alone, there are others who get you and to connect on all levels of your being. There is light in all of us even when we are being human!