Tuesday, March 12, 2013


How's everyone doing this week?

Last week was hard for me.  I felt like my emotions were out of control.  I knew exactly why I was stressed and upset, and I knew exactly how it was affecting me, but I was struggling to keep it together.  On Wednesday around lunchtime I headed to the gym for a weights class + running and it was like the harder I pushed myself, the angrier I got.  Normally workouts make me feel better as they do for most people, but it was having the opposite effect.  Later on that afternoon I reached out to a friend and asked if she would get dinner with me.  We had a wonderful dinner complete with wonderful conversation and it was a great, last-minute break in routine that was much needed.

Recently I've been thinking about the concept of recognition and how it relates to feelings or a state of mind.  Many people tend to act on feelings or emotions which can end in disaster.  I try to remember to act rationally instead of emotionally.  With email and text these days, it is so easy to put your feelings into a computer or mobile phone screen and send away without considering that you aren't just sending them to another screen, you're sending them to another person.  Acting on emotion is so easy that you might do it before you realize that you're doing it.  Where recognition comes into play is that you make yourself stop for a second and get a quick reality check.  Here's the thing though: recognition isn't really a solution for a problem.  However, it's still an important step because you're making yourself more aware of your surroundings.

Here's an example:  you're at the office, the phone is ringing off the hook, you're getting emails left and right, and people are barging into your office every five minutes.  You feel like you're going to lose it and you're about to let out some frustration by selecting one of your emails at random and responding to the sender with a heated reply.  But you stop yourself.  And you take a breath.  And you realize that you're stressed out.  And you say to yourself, "I'm stressed out.  And it's making me go crazy."  Do you necessarily have a solution for that moment?  Maybe not.  But you've acknowledged that you're stressed and you can see how it's affecting you.  In a matter of seconds you've become more self-aware.

My point is that the concept of recognition is important.  You may or may not know why you feel the way you do, but you know that you're feeling something.  A friend recently called me for advice because she is feeling frustrated about a situation, and that she knows exactly why she's frustrated, and I  told her that her recognition of the problem was a big step in itself.  She sounded a lot better at the end of the conversation so I think it helped.

Our emotions can take over very easily, but we cannot let them consume us.  We are not our anger.  We are not our sadness.  There is more than one side to us all, and it would be unfair to let an emotion define you to the rest of the world.  In our society that is constantly on the go, it's worth taking a moment to be a little more self-aware.  Those emails can wait.

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