Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Is Your Emotional Status Reason for My State of Emergency?
By Micky Wolf
Had a text a couple of days ago from a friend who lives in the Deep South. At the time, that wasn’t the best place to be. The governor had issued a state of emergency. One mighty intense and sprawling storm was in the process of cutting a huge swath through the area where she lives.
From sea-to-shining sea, any of us residing in the United States (or most anywhere else for that matter) can find ourselves in the uneasy circumstances of upheavals in the weather. Be it rain, wind, hail, snow, sleet—or in some cases a combination of all—we are wise to take cover. Seek shelter. Wait it out and be safe.
For some people, an uproar in the meteorological conditions is one thing. Far worse, for them, is the day-to-day challenge of living with another human being who can be counted on to be unpredictable, indifferent, or unhealthy in the way they express their emotions.
Feeling angry? Yell. Or break things or people.
Feeling sad? Complain. Or play the victim.
Feeling fearful? Nag. Recite verbal litanies of concern—about anything and everything—over and over and over again.
These are often referred to as the hard emotions. And no wonder. When these begin to stir in our head or gut, we may be hard pressed (pun intended) to know the best way to handle them without turning them inward—never a good idea, especially over the long term—or spewing them akin to a torrential downpour, in the direction of whomever dares to enter our space.
What then, are our options?
Hopefully, our first choice is to be honest with ourselves and note areas where we could change our behavior before we implode on self, or explode all over those we love the most.
If we’ve not had much “practice” in expressing our emotions in a healthy, more loving manner, maybe, just maybe, we need to declare a personal state of emergency. Not the kind that sends us to the local hospital (or those we care about). Rather, the kind that alerts those near us to the fact we are struggling.
Struggling to be honest, authentic, real—but in a way that doesn’t bring emotional, mental, or physical harm upon self, or others.
My beloved and I both grew up in homes where expressing emotions was—emotional. Translation—unloving and unhealthy. Depending on the particular family circumstances that meant, yelling, finger-pointing, or profane language were dispersed on a regular basis with little thought or consideration as to how those actions and behaviors were impacting the children.
We vowed to be and do the opposite. To the degree we had to learn to find the balance. How? When necessary, we aren’t afraid to say something like the following: “I’m having a moment. It’s not about you. It’s about me. I need a little time to press through it.”
Sometimes we need to involve one another in regaining our peace. And—almost always—we need to involve God. From the get go.
Apart from Divine intervention, there’s no way the storm raging across my friend’s state could have been diverted to a less populated area. And there was certainly no way the intensity of the storm could be thwarted by human mediation.
Calling for a state of emergency given the weather conditions was wisdom.
Maybe the same could be said for those occasions when the ‘weather of our emotions’ is beginning to stir up a storm with the potential to unleash devastation of another sort.
Now that’s something you and I can take responsibility for and direct in way that leads to a less destructive outcome.