The year 2020, so far, has been majorly defined by uncertainty, thanks to you-know-who (read Corona, not Voldemort). Job losses, political uncertainty, mental health deterioration, etc. are just a few side-effects of this uncertainty. When it comes to our own homes, yes, we have got plenty of time to spend with our family members. But I should admit, too much of anything can take its toll. Excessive family time can also stress us all out. There have been reports of a rise in intrafamilial conflicts, domestic violence, just to name a few. As humans, it is only natural to crave for our own space, which may also not be possible with all family members constantly at home.
These are trying times for all of us around the globe. Emotional conflicts have shot past the roof (my superlative version of ‘gone through the roof’). One thing I have been learning in the past few months (and still am) is that no one can be our constant moral support more than ourselves. To be honest, I am a single kid to my parents and have been learning most of my lessons the hard way. That’s okay! Emotional Intelligence has always been my weak point and after months of crying and brooding, I have taken it upon myself to not depend emotionally on anyone, family or friends. Yes, for those of you struggling mentally and emotionally, it is tough. Take it slow. I had been taking a couple of courses on managing my emotions and I thought, why not share with the people who are needing it in the current circumstances? Prof. Charles Manz, in his book Emotional Discipline talks about channeling your inner theater (your mind) in the right direction.
When I speak of managing your emotions, let me make it clear that it does not mean to suppress your emotions. Emotional suppression is like trying to stop a volcanic eruption. Managing emotions is more about how you react to certain situations without letting your emotions get in the way. Be it at work or home, emotions can wreak havoc, if not managed well. Emotions are an integral part of any living being.
If you know people who are emotionally disturbed or distressed, try to ask about their well-being time to time. Many of us have grown up with the notion that certain emotions are acceptable and some are not. And when we train our mind to reject certain emotions, we fail to resonate with the people who are undergoing those emotions. At times, I have failed to understand certain temperaments. I kind of judged people around me, in my ignorance. But I don’t do it anymore. Emotionally intelligent people have a great deal of understanding over their emotional range. It is okay if you are not there yet. EI is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are born with it. Some of us have to work on it and get better with time. No worries, I belong to the latter category. Frankly, I am only in my twenties and I have a long way to go.
In Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, there is an emotionally intimate conversation between Laura Dern’s Mary March and Saoirse Ronan’s Jo March. When Jo confesses to her mother about her fight with Amy, she does raise a question every child would like to ask his/her parent. Here’s an excerpt from this heartwarming scene-
Jo: What is wrong with me? I've made so many resolutions, and I've written sad notes, and I've cried over my sins... but it just doesn't seem to help. When I get in a passion, I get so savage. I could hurt anyone, and I'd enjoy it.
Mrs. March: You remind me of myself.
Jo: But you're never angry.
Mrs. March: I'm angry nearly every day of my life.
Jo: You are?
Mrs. March: I am not patient by nature. But with 40 years of effort, I'm learning to not let it get the better of me.
Like aforementioned, this is a dream conversation I would like to have with my parents too. But some have the privilege of opening up to their elders, some do not. So, you’ve got to embrace the fact that you are on your own when it comes to handling your emotional conflicts. Your support system can only facilitate the process to overcome your emotions. You are your own superhero. And that folks, is called emotional acceptance. And just like Mrs.March reveals, it takes time. There is no shortcut to conquering your demons.
The first step in managing your emotions is not becoming your emotion itself. You identify your emotion, do not let it define you! For example, I am angry. This is anger. There’s a difference between the two sentences. Once you do that, half your battle is won. Here are two points that could help you protect yourself from your emotional vulnerability-
- Do not take any stuff personally.
- Detach yourself from all forms of negativity.
I constantly chant this to myself, like positive affirmations. Try to minimize conflicts in your home, in your own style. I try to stay quiet, regardless of whatever is being said to me. I then go shut myself in my room. That is my coping mechanism. Everyone has their own coping style. Try to find yours. Trust me, life may not be easier instantly, but life would definitely be more positive. So, what are you waiting for? Go, embark on your journey of emotional freedom!