In my “10 Universal Truths video,” the fourth one is “Feel things as they come”. That’s what I’d like to focus on today.
It is so important that we handle our feelings in productive ways as they arise.
Do you like the way I qualified that with “in productive ways”?
Well, I think there is a two-fold level of importance here. It is very important to handle your feelings as they come up. If we stuff our feelings we end up with stress, strain, body tension, headaches and possibly even put ourselves on the path to unwanted medical conditions (cancers, heart disease, etc.)
It’s also just as important that we handle our feelings in productive ways. Let’s use anger as our example. If you’re angry and you lash out at someone else and hurt them that is not okay. Passing on our bad or negative feelings doesn’t help us and it sure doesn’t help the person we just inflicted them upon. Instead we need to find ways to remove ourselves from the situation so we can diffuse our anger in other ways. Sometimes taking a walk helps. Sometimes we might need to go to the gym and punch the bag for a while until the feeling subsides.
Each of us needs to figure out what it is for us that works. Then, we need to pay attention to our emotions and handle them accordingly. It also helps if you let the people you are close to know what your reactions to some important emotions are and why you do them. This way they don’t misinterpret our actions.
Here’s an example. An otherwise social, loving and fun co-worker suddenly starts to retreat into their office and close the door for days on end. When they do emerge they are short tempered and look unhappy, which is mainly out of character for them.
What would you think is going on? To some on their team it appeared that they were being secretive and “up to something.” To others it appeared that they no longer liked someone or were perhaps angry with someone and/or all of the other teammates.
One day, a bolder member of the team confronted the person to find out what was going on. Come to find out, this is how the person handled stress – they withdrew. Once other teammates knew this, things improved for everyone. They no longer assumed the worst and instead could graciously back off and give their co-worker needed space. They also offered to help out if at all possible so the teammate could get their work load back under control and their stress level down. This in turn encouraged their teammate to return the favor when the tables turned.
A win-win situation came out of a simple communication where the why and how of a situation became clear so others could understand and help.
Let’s face it, in any situation, where we don’t have all of the information and reasoning behind it our imaginations can get the best of us and we tend to come up with something far worse than what the real issue actually is.
Likewise, if you get angry and yell at others who had nothing to do with causing the anger you create an undesirable situation for all involved. Think how you just changed their day for the worse. Also, think about how you just changed their impression of you. Not likely things you want to have happen. However, when we don’t handle our emotions properly this is what happens.
Your life will go much smoother when you pay attention to the things that set you off and your reactions to them. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Right? (Again, I’d give credit where it’s due if I knew – feel free to let me know if you do).
Let’s go back to the first part again – the not stuffing your feelings. Handling them as they come up. Some days we just seem to be at the edge of tears and we have no idea why. Other days it can hit us out of the blue. Many times we will never figure out what triggered our need to release and that’s okay. What is important is to let it happen. Find a way to seclude yourself in your office or the bathroom and let out some of that pent up emotion. You’ll feel much better once you have. If someone notices your puffy eyes, it’s okay. We’re all human. We all have days like that. Chances are you can give them a simple explanation of “I’m not having the best day today, but I’ll be fine, thank you for asking.” They will likely wish you well and you will have just impressed them with your openness, your example of being human and your bravery to let it happen and then push back on with your day and your life. You will likely have just become closer to that person without either of you knowing it.
We are all human. We all have days where our emotions get the best of us. It’s okay. As my daughters dance teacher used to say “better out than in!”
I hope you find quiet times and places to let your emotions flow appropriately. I also hope that you will be kind and gentle on others when it is their turn to do so.
My best to you always,