Do you have a hard time dealing with strong emotions? Whether they are your own or someone else’s, strong emotions can feel quite scary and overwhelming. It’s not healthy to suppress them and yet you don’t want to let them spill out all over everyone around you…so what do you do?
I’ve never been very good with strong emotions.
Growing up I learned that it was best to suppress them. Unfortunately that tactic only lead to poor health and a dismal quality of life. So I had to find a new way to manage my strong emotions…
One of the best ways to learn to manage strong emotions is to face things that get you out of your comfort zone and into unknown territory.
Believe or not, one thing that takes me into my unknown territory…involves getting on a plane. I LOVE to travel but it absolutely TERRIFIES me to be stuck on a plane. I wasn’t always this way, when I was a kid I loved it. The take off was my favorite part. But as an adult it started to evoke a whole new level of panic. Talk about strong emotions…panic is right up there.
Now before you all start telling me how safe it is to fly, yada yada yada…I know this. I’m not afraid of crashing…I’m afraid of being trapped somewhere I can’t get out of. It’s like when you’re a kid and someone has you in a wrestling hold against your will; they won’t let you go until you stop fighting them?! Ahhhh that’s the worst thing ever!
Strong emotions are like that. They keep you trapped in a position you absolutely don’t want to be in so you fight and push to get out of it. You may exhaust yourself in the process but it doesn’t really get you what you want…freedom.
Funny though because if you just gave up the fight…you’d have that freedom you desire. We know this and yet we keep fighting.
Why is it so hard to just stop fighting?
It doesn’t feel natural to “do” nothing. We live in a society that promotes taking action at all costs so in many ways it seems silly to sit back and allow the chaos. I can only really speak for myself when I say this, but it’s been deeply ingrained in me that if I don’t work hard, I will NEVER get what I want. So to stop fighting feels like I’ve failed. The reality, however, is that by ending the struggle I gain all the power and freedom that I am actually seeking.
How, you might ask?
Once you get to that place where you just don’t have any fight left, you give up your attachment to needing things to be different! All you really have to do to “get it” is ALLOW it.
Flying, while terrifying, is an opportunity for me to practice doing nothing. It forces me to face so many unknown variables…I don’t know how I will feel. It may very well cause me intense panic. If it does, will I be able to control it or will it take on a life of its own? I’m never really sure. All I want to do is fight the overwhelming feelings with everything I’ve got but that doesn’t get me any closer to what I desire. What I desire, of course, is peace of mind and all I really have to do to get that is ALLOW the, literal, tsunami that arises inside me…to pass.
Storms ALWAYS pass. They have a cycle. My tsunami is not going to kill me or anyone else so if I can just sit in the chaos and wait for it to be over, my peace of mind WILL return. The more I fight the storm, the longer it lasts. But when I just allow it to run its course, it does. That’s it! So simple and yet not at all easy.
It takes practice to sit in your chaos but there really is no force needed. There’s nothing you have to “do”. You don’t have to make it go away. It will! All on its own. So I say buckle up and get as comfortable as you can in your own discomfort because discomfort is an inevitable part of life.
What do you do when you have strong emotions? When did you last step outside your comfort zone? I’d love to hear your experiences. If you need help finding your way to inner peace and a better quality of life, let me know. I’d be happy to chat with you.