Welcome to the 18th issue of Inward Ventures, my weekly share of what I’m working on and fiddling around with. I share thoughts and ideas I come across in my continuing quest for self-improvement, productivity, and education for myself and my coaching clients. I strive to excel in my writing, creativity, and, well… LIFE. Thanks for being here. Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks.
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This message speaks to me, and I wanted to share. Maybe you’ll be able to glean a nugget or two from this. Enjoy!
Can’t be happy all the time
It’s a worthwhile destination, but as humans, it’s impossible to live there.
I know this on an intellectual level. Still, I find I have to remind myself of this often.
Identify emotions in others and self.
Doesn’t seem too hard, right? How is this worthy of a puny bullet point, much less a whole paragraph?
I’ve recently come to see how I habitually respond “I’m fine,” when asked how I’m doing (and I’m anything but fine.) It’s a knee-jerk answer. I don’t think of it as lying or covering up. In the moment, I see it as making polite conversation and I don’t want to:
be a downer
cause anyone stress by them worrying abt me
admit aloud that I’m NOT fine
There are likely more reasons, but that’s enough to get me started on the consequences of the habit of downplaying emotions. Thank you Gina, for this insight 😘
[NB: Seeing this kind of behavior as a HABIT is a compassionate point of view; which are is critical if you want to make lasting change, this is the message in my book! Just about ANY habit can be changed or modified, right? Consider thinking about changing a character/personality trait. Seems pretty daunting in comparison!]
My response isn’t unique. I think most people are in the habit of downplaying how things “really are.” If we’re constantly doing that, it makes perfect sense that we’re going to start to lose touch with how we’re truly feeling.
While Manson advises recognizing others’, it’s my preference to stick to identifying my own emotions. It’s pretty easy to play pop psychologist and assess others, which can lead to judgment and misunderstanding. #nothelpful
I’m inclined to say, “It sounds to me like you’re getting frustrated, is that right?” which allows the other person to identify and share with me the emotion(s) they’re actually feeling because honestly, I’m just GUESSING.
For me, I prefer it’s better to focus on identifying my own emotions, making sure I give myself some time and space for that. I may have to start rambling a bit (ME, ramble?!) in this thought process. How am I feeling right now? as I write this; I move from the MACRO to the MICRO:
I’m feeling kind of BAD.
what kind of BAD - sad, anxious, scared? ANTSY
What am I antsy about? my ROAD TRIP has me anxious
Why am I anxious about the trip? HM, well it’s not the trip, I LOVE driving, road trips, and traveling in general! It’s the packing and all the things I think I have to do before I leave.
Hmm, I don’t feel anxious I guess. I feel pressure, yeah that’s it! to get things done before I leave.
Ok, I feel PRESSURE about tomorrow. No, not tomorrow, I feel pressure about today! Today is the day I hafta get all this sh*t done.
Now that I unpacked ALL THAT, oooh unpacking sounds so much better than rambling, right?! I see the obvious: self-imposed pressure.
If *I* am the one putting pressure on the situation, I am also the one who can remove it. #duh
There is nothing that NEEDS to be done, only things that my perfectionist self would LIKE to have done. Big difference. Whew!
Not all emotions have to mean something
Just like life often serves us a shit sandwich*, not because we deserve it but because that’s the way life is, ie: NOT FAIR, sometimes our emotional operating system serves us the equivalent of a shitwich* ~ a weird emotion that doesn't really make sense crops up and presents itself.
It doesn’t mean you’re defective or a freak and you need therapy if you’re feeling sad for no reason right now. It doesn’t mean you’re depressed or hormonal or repressing anything. You can just be feeling low and that’s that.
*I’m not sure the origin of my shit sandwich expression. I’ve been using it for years, and just added it to my official personal dictionary on Grammarly.
When not responding at all is the best response
I’m a fan of turning popular notions on their heads, so to speak, so I really like this idea.
We’re urged to MAKE A DECISION already! That not responding is a response in itself (implying that it’s lame.) I like his suggestion though and I’ve considered where refraining from responding IS the best response.
If anger is present, I prefer to let cooler heads (theirs or mine.)
If I’m rushed. I don’t want to succumb to pressure and say something “just to say something”
I can be impatient, and waiting to respond (while difficult) helps give me clarity
When something is over and final, and my response would only serve to “have the last word.” #moveongirl
There are more instances, but as above, that’s a good start for thinking about hitting the mental Do Not Respond. Especially if you’re from New Jersey.
So whatcha got for me? Email me or comment below, I’ll gladly respond in more detail. As always, I promise I will do whatever I can to be there for you and to support you. HIT.ME.UP. I mean it! 🙌
Thanks for sharing and forwarding my posts and emailing me questions and little wins ~ you guys are the best! Keep the mail comin’!