Life is full of ups and downs. Even worse, these are inevitable. When the going gets rough and we go off course, we often lose our emotional barrings or even worse… spiral into a life crise or mental break down. These things happen! And I am not here to tell you that they are wrong. In fact- I believe expressing your emotions is important, however, I also believe that having control over your emotions is important and key to being successful.
Things won’t always go according to plan, and when things crash and burn…what is your autopilot reaction? Freak out! Cry, hit something (hopefully not someone), lock yourself in the bathroom, sob in the shower, hole yourself in your house for days or hide in bed. We all do it- yes that includes you dudes. I have met my fair share of men who embrace their emotions- which is great!
Both men and women can relate on their respective experiences with coping with life’s setbacks and accomplishments. However I have noticed two characteristics in both men and women that result either in over-coming said speed-bump OR starting from scratch and giving up on yourself all together.
1. The Emotional Downturn:
Letting your emotions rule your life and losing control.
2. Fueling the Fire:
Letting your emotions fuel your desire to take control and motivate.
I can honestly say that up until a week ago I would have categorized myself in the first group, and in the past I would say I lingered between both of them. From my perspective, it takes hard work and an incredible amount of self-assurance and confidence to be in the second group. So how did I get there?
Learnt It The Hard Way
I woke up last Monday morning to be notified by a reader (and friend) that my blog, my personal space that I identify myself with (my blood, sweat, and tears) had stopped working or (the better guess) it was shut down. I had only been awake for a few minutes before the large crack that was in my wall of self-employment and independence had soon spread so large that the bricks came tumbling down into rubble. “Time to start all over again.” I squeezed myself into a ball hoping it was all a dream. I hoped that I would wake up from the nightmare by squeezing my eyes really tight and letting the tears run down my face. I know it all sounds dramatic- but the wall of strength that I was building within myself came crumbling down and I couldn’t hold on to it much longer.
What was I going to do? I felt like I was in a demolition zone as all my hard work had been piling up around me and due to my inability to focus, was bulldozing everything I worked so hard for. When I get into these moods I tend to push away the closest people around me- out of frustration with myself. I didn’t want more feedback- I couldn’t handle more ‘areas of growth’ as I knew that I was fucking everything else up. I just wanted to scream “I KNOW I’M SUCKING RIGHT NOW, PLEASE FEEL SORRY FOR ME AND LET ME HIDE FROM THIS HARSH WORLD.” I was hugely disappointed in myself, and having a major pity-party.
During a discussion with one of my guy friends, he was frustrated with me of course since he knows my potential, and under his own stress he finally snapped and told me that just because I was a girl it didn’t mean I could allow my emotions to rule my life and send everything I worked for in a downward spiral. What next would be considered typical for an emotional girl such as myself. I cried a lot and told myself how much I suck. Well- I’m definitely a sensitive soul but I am also very smart, intelligent, and capable. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to hold my own being the only woman in a male dominated industry/company. I instantly frustrated the people around me as they saw me crumble underneath the pressure instead of rising up to the occasion to really test my strengths. I understand that frustration as I get frustrated when I see strong people fall by the way side at the height of stress or when things don’t go particularly to plan. The weight of the prior weeks had finally took its toll and I sat in my closet to sulk, but mostly to distract my mind from spewing negativity and bringing me down to a worse level than I was starting with.
At first- I was pissed off. Who wouldn’t be? Who would want to hear the truth, and who wants to be called out like that!? I sure didn’t. My ego was flared up, red hot, and ready to bulldoze anyone and everyone who got in my path to self-destruct. Then, something miraculous happened. After taking time to digest what he was saying and the space to cool off, I found level-headed Jamie again, and realized that he was right. He was right. “You were right OK!” Yeeesh.
Choose to ACT, Choose NOT to Break-Down
In my defence being emotional and crying helped to some degree. It helped me to express my pent up frustration with myself and it allowed me to zero-in on what was causing me to fail and be unhappy. The first step to finding control over your emotions is to take responsibility for your own failure. That is the first step in taking control over your emotional state and turning it into a tool to help you succeed.
Learning how to step outside of yourself to analyze the situation helps you take a logical and level-headed approach to finding a solution for the circumstance. I honestly think we all have a part of ourselves that always knows the answer to our problems. Have you noticed that you are great at giving your friends advice but not yourself? It’s because of your perspective. If you look at your situation as if it was someone else you can find an encouraging way to help yourself. I do this all the time by talking to myself on paper. Sounds ridiculous but it honestly works wonders!
You will fail, and you will fall down. The strength it takes to get up and fight for your dreams and the things you love is learning how to not sabotage yourself. Ultimately when you fall down and you choose to stay down, you are choosing to not believe in yourself which comes from a low level of self-worth and confidence. Am I saying my level of self-worth is AMAZING, that anyone’s is? Of course not, in fact it’s something that everyone needs to constantly work at.
If you can’t find your own solution, ask the people who are encouraging and want to see you grow in the direction of your dreams. Don’t go looking for help from people who are going to discourage you and tell you to do something different. The people who won’t allow you to give up on yourself will be happy to help you find creative solutions to your circumstance.
Do I believe in giving up? Never. The most successful people I know pressed onward no matter how many times they faced life’s hardships and setbacks. They approached their failures as feedback for what not to do. When you narrow the things you shouldn’t do it allows you to see the things you should. Then: Execute!
“Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined how you handle setbacks.”
Choose to take ACTION over INACTION. Life is a continuous progression, so you need to always move forward… otherwise you will get caught in the tidal wave, crash, and eat sand. Keep swimming, keep pressing onward, keep fighting. Don’t give up before the miracle.