The past few weeks have been emotionally disruptive. Through the disruption, I’ve gotten to know myself better.
I’ve even reviewed some of the lessons I’ve taught, the education I’ve received, and experiences that I have grown from. I’ve been paying attention to my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and guess what I discovered? I’m guilty. I’m guilty of allowing my emotional triggers to sometimes get the best of me. I’m guilty of knowing better and not always doing better. I’m guilty of having the tools, resources, and strategies and still resorting to choices that sabotage my mental and emotional resilience. I’m guilty of allowing emotional disruptions to shake my faith, lead me into doubt and overshadow my ability to cope effectively.
The good news is, I didn’t stop at feeling guilty. I used the awareness to move me toward greater understanding. I used it as a catalyst for self-discovery.
As I explored my thoughts and sat with my emotions, I recognized some pieces of my younger unhealed self, still lingering. Doubts about my abilities still creeping in right before I succeed at a thing. Fear trying to seep in and poke holes in my confidence. Self-sabotage hanging around waiting to trip me up when my emotional progress just starts to flow.
I thought this stuff was old news, healed, and outdated, but that’s not so. The past, but healed parts of me don’t disappear, they just take on a different form to help me grow and remember how far I’ve come. The lessons of the past still remain, even if I have changed. The good news is that I recognize the signs of unhealthy coping strategies because I’ve healed through that journey. I’m alert to the slippery slopes of dysfunctional behavior patterns because I’ve climbed out of that valley. I’m skilled at avoiding emotionally triggering landmines because I’ve set them off plenty of times. The journey is for learning, and that’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.
I own my journey because all parts of it are still me. I’m a more skilled traveler, but a traveler nonetheless.
Emotional disruptions are part of my journey. I will have them, but they don’t have me. Troubling situations won’t overtake me unless I allow it. It is up to me to be in tune with the emotional roads I travel and pack accordingly. By being equipped and prepared, I know I can manage the difficult terrain of life. I feel more confident scaling the mountains and exploring the valleys. I am empowered to walk in faith even if the path seems scary. I take precautions, but I don’t let fear hold me hostage because I have tools.
One of the tools I keep handy is self-discovery.
By taking the time to see me and my life more clearly, emotional disruptions are not as taxing. Through self-exploration I have figured out ways to use my emotions as fuel for my mind, goals, and life. I embrace the fact that my feelings have power and purpose. As I navigate this life, they are here as my divine red flags to alert me to move in one direction or another. They give me the opportunity to love more fully, feel more deeply, and help more intentionally.
As I grow through emotional disturbances, I ask myself a couple of questions...
Why is this thought or feeling here?
The thought or feeling is here, so why not explore it? I don’t run from it. I allow it to be here for me.
To stand in courage and confidence, I have decided that I am the king of my mind and emotions, and kings don’t bail on their responsibilities. Kings don’t ignore the warning signs to close the gate and protect their space. I am the gatekeeper of my mind and emotions. My feelings show up to alert me to danger, move me in a different direction, and encourage me to honor the boundaries of my mind, body, and spirit. They are here for me, not against me.
Through self-reflection, I listen and learn from myself. I notice the stress. I embrace the sadness. I honor the anger because I own all sides of me. I commit to growing from my fertile mental and emotional soil while nurturing the cracked and parched areas back to health.
What is the emotional disruption guiding me to do more or less of?
My mental and emotional energy is a light tower. It is my guide toward or away from something. If I’m having a difficult emotional experience, my feelings guide me toward connecting with others and away from disruptors. Emotionally challenging times are an indicator for me to add more nourishment to my body, increase relaxation for my mind, and limit the stressors in my life. If I’m overwhelmed, my emotions will often guide me to rest, seek solitude, prayer, and peaceful activities.
My mood and attitude give me clues. But if I’m too distracted to pay attention, I don’t listen. I keep pressing forward and hoping that things change without my participation. In my experience, that’s a recipe for longer bouts of feeling stuck and harder seasons of emotional disruption.
Growth opportunities don’t always come in the packages we want, but the gift is in knowing how we are affected and paying attention to where we are being directed.
Wherever you are in your life journey today, look, listen, learn, and lead yourself toward and away from things and people accordingly. Because even during emotional disturbances, we can still become more of who we were designed to be.