How comfortable are you with your emotions? Are you the type of person who knows they are there but sweeps them under the carpet? What does it take for you to pay attention to how you’re feeling? When coping with a chronic or life-altering diagnosis your emotions are not simply reactions; they are a barometer for your life. Ever notice how when you are confronted by one emotion it seems to peak its head out multiple times shouting “Here I am…do you see me?”
Yesterday I was working on a piece of art. I couldn’t get the results I wanted and I tried over and over again, hoping to make progress. Finally realizing I was frustrated I put the piece down and proceeded to go answer e-mails. I received a group of e-mails that I found frustrating. When I read the third crazy making e-mail I recognized that feeling of frustration. Now what was I going to do? I could ignore it or deal with it. If I ignored it I felt it would haunt me like a ghost and keep showing up and that becomes a nightmare.
Once I identified the experience of frustration I was able to get myself centered and ask myself what is frustration trying to show me. What I discovered is that I was too attached to the outcome of both the project and the situation discussed in the e-mails. I could do something with that information; taking a step back and giving the situation the opportunity to unfold and find it’s own solution would serve me well. I also needed to understand that I have only so much control over certain things and that trying to prove otherwise is fruitless.
Where is all this going? If frustration hadn’t kept showing up yesterday I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to confront it in the emotional mirror. I would have kept banging my head against the wall and that would definitely impact my health. Giving myself new coping mechanisms, healthier ones, relieves a lot of stress. The other gift is that if I recognize the emotional impact of things earlier, maybe I don’t have to keep having the Ground Hog Day experience before creating a healing environment.