Guide To A Life Of Balance….
There are days when my security and confidence is replaced by a wave anxiety, shame, discontentment or frustration. Like clouds, they roll in off the horizon predicting a coming storm. Time and time again I ignore them. I push back the feelings and charge forward. I don’t have time for the rain. I have a child I need to nurture and teach. I have a career I need to manage. I have a house that needs to be cleaned and dishes that need to be washed. I need to exercise and find a new way to sneak four servings of vegetables into a meatloaf. I need to just keep going. The sky darkens, the clouds grow heavy, and the downpour begins. I am left drenched, in my yoga pants.
Isn’t this the story for all of us? Despite reprieves, here and there, we have our hands full much of the time. Emotions seem to come at the most inconvenient moments and threaten to disrupt the intricate balancing act we have in progress. We label them “negative” or “bad” to imply they are something to get rid of or avoid. We ignore them or gloss over them with tip #4 from our guide to self-care. We can try, but our efforts to shoo back the clouds are futile. In and of themselves emotions aren’t good or bad. They alert us to something happening under the surface. With great effort we teach our children to stop and name their emotions. We guide them in handling sadness, anger, tiredness, frustration, and so on. We don’t call them bad, rather, in our little ones we can see them as they are- truths to be dealt with. Our responses to our emotions hold the value of positive or negative, not the emotions themselves. It’s nothing revolutionary, but often we extend wisdom and grace to others while failing to apply it to ourselves. We tireless work to run from or ignore the coming rain and end up overwrought or completely shut down from what has become an undefinable ball of feelings. Thus, fears of being overly emotional can become self-fulfilling.
I spend more time telling myself I shouldn’t feel something than simply acknowledging that I do. As elementary as it may seem, I have begun to retrain myself to stop and feel my feelings. I hate crying, but I have had some good cries. Locked in my closet, I have let emotions of fear and loneliness burst forth. Then knowing what I need, I have been able to deal with them and authentically engage in self-care. There have been times when I have begrudgingly faced my feelings of shame and “mommy guilt”. They have served as important indicators that I am prioritizing things that aren’t truly important. Shame and guilt have highlighted areas where my value and worth has been tied to the appearance of good parenting, optimal health, and spirituality. They have beckoned me to examine if there is depth beneath the surface. Frustration, being rooted in my desire to control something I was simply not meant to, calls me to let go of undue pressure that will leave me drowning in stress. These feelings urge me to come inside and take the needed steps to stay dry because the rain is coming. They protect me from getting off kilter when life’s stresses head my way.
Emotions are beautiful indicators toward balance. They can be quite messy. Demanding to be seen, they will leech out in unexpected areas if they aren’t acknowledged. However, they aren’t bad for existing and we aren’t bad for feeling them. After long periods of running from them, facing deep-seated emotions can seem dangerous. It may take help from a friend or a professional. I have needed, and still need, both to help me decipher tangled feelings. Balance is the reward for doing so. There is peace in realizing emotions aren’t waiting around the corner, ready to create havoc in life. Let them guide you toward balance rather chase you into chaos.