Ok, necessary disclaimer of not knowing it all checked off the list in last post. Ahh, sweet release.
Ok, so let’s get back to this whole concept of high comms, Step 2. To refresh, the following is what I wrote in my original post:
“Step away from your emotions to open your awareness. We can’t share what we are/think/feel without first being able to de-cloud ourselves from our emotions. Only then can we actually see objectively what we are/think/feel, and subsequently communicate that. This takes practice fo sho, but is also completely and totally achievable.”
So what the heck does that mean, right?
I’m talking consciousness, peeps.
Friendship. My Middlebury girlfriends and I are still tight after all these years.
Not some bullsh*t fluff word to sound like I know what’s up. I mean significant, in-the-moment self-awareness. Knowing what we’re going through and why we’re going through it, while we’re going through it. Identifying what’s behind our emotions when we’re actually feeling them. So we don’t have to be ruled by them.
For instance, this past week on my flight to New Orleans, I enjoyed my delicious omelet, then thought it wise to hit the bathroom, and check my teeth for any wayward spinach. So I’m in there, you know, getting all close to the mirror giving my grill a good once-over, and no kidding, I realize I have a crack running up my front tooth. A crack. Up my FRONT tooth. Yeah. I texted my experienced friend the moment we landed for advice on this type of dental issue. In a well-intended attempt at comic relief, she used the phrase “big gaping hole,” and I effectively went tumbling into visions of rocking the skydiving summer boogie tour as a Jeff Foxworthy joke. Holy sh*t. Yup, full freak-out had officially arrived.
Thing is, I knew it. I knew exactly what was happening to me. Not saying I was able to instantly turn it off, but at the very least, I was able to see my fear and know my swirling brain and rising temperature were because of it. Relate at all? Swirling brain? Rising temperature?
Anyway, that awareness is what we’re after. Being in the know releases just enough weight to help us imagine the possibility of a beautiful new fake tooth, and think of a more constructive plan of attack. Basically, instead of letting myself be victim to my own stress, I could think clearly enough to act clearly as well. When I landed from that leg, instead of a ruined reunion of tears and panic, I had mentally pulled myself back from the ledge, greeted my friend with a legitimate smile, and had an appointment for 3pm.
Obviously, this is not about the dentist or the appointment or the crack in my tooth. It’s about recognizing our destructive emotions in response to our destructive thoughts that can lead to destructive actions, so we can reframe them into constructive thoughts that give us constructive emotions that lead us to constructive actions. Follow? Sounds textbook-ish, but I tell ya, this concept’s magnitude is found in the details. Turns out my tooth was a quick fix that my cool new NOLA dentist was able to do for me right then and there. No more visions of gaping-hole coaching. No more panic at that thought. Instead, I ended up quitting nail-biting cold turkey and got to walk out of there hotter and more confident than I was pre-freak-out.
So what’s your current emotional upset? Why are you having it? What’s the fear behind it? What is your fearful inside voice saying to you will happen? What are you doing as a result of that thinking? And here’s the kicker… what would you do differently if your fear were not true? How realistic is your fear anyway? Most of the time, we fear the worst-case scenario, but when we get right down to it, it’s either ridiculously unlikely, or downright impossible. Our mission is to realize it and relax.
The key to this type of awareness… is practice.
Every time you find yourself emotional about anything—sad, mad, panicked, whatever—pause, and ask yourself those questions. Having that specific thing to do when it hits is the key to shifting away from the unpleasant freak-outs. With that, upset automatically transforms into a fun little investigation. Don’t be like Scooby and Shaggy though… be like Velma, cool as a cucumber with ghosts flying by. We can pull the scary mask off our old Mr. Withers and save the day too.
(With my freshman-year college roommate, and expert dentist-appointment-maker, Lena. :))