Letting Go of Emotional Turbulence
by W. Bradford Swift
Let me ask you, are you more
or less effective when you are upset? Do you find yourself stuck
at times in your life by anger, frustration, fear, guilt, and
similar emotions? If so, here is a step-by-step approach adapted
in part from the book, Do Less, Achieve More by Chin-Ning Chu.
1. DON'T SUPPRESS. Letting go of your emotions doesn't
mean to avoid feeling them or suppressing them. Suppressing your
emotions can be harmful to your health, resulting in a myriad
of physical ailments including heart disease, strokes and ulcers.
Instead of suppressing your emotions, become unattached to them.
2. CAUSE YOUR UPSET. One of the most effective ways I've
found to become unattached to an upset is to actually 'cause'
it. Having something happen that results in your automatically
being upset is different from recognizing the upset and causing
it in a responsible manner. You may find it's actually quite
difficult to stay upset when you're causing it rather than simply
being at the effect of it, and it can help you move through it
and reach detachment sooner.
3. WRITE IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM. For many people writing about their
emotional upsets can be a great way to dissapate the energy.
The best way to write about your emotions is to not think about
writing but simply write. Pour it all out on the paper. Let the
words flow directly from your heart to your fingers without detouring
through your brain first.
4. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? Once you've unattached yourself from
the angst of your emotions, you are better able to deal with
what really happened. As Detective Friday used to say in Dragnet,
"Just the facts." What happened is almost always different
from what you reacted to. What caused the reaction was what you
made up about what happened. Someone say, "We're cutting
your bonus 50%," is different from "My jerk of a boss
is stingy and uncaring and let me tell you what he did recently
that proves it." Few people in life deal with what's really
happening -- only the most effective ones.
5. GET THAT WE LIVE IN A 'NO
ACCIDENT' UNIVERSE. Since
we're designed to make meaning out of everything, why not make
up some new meaning about what happened that will empower life?
Notice I said empowers life, not 'empowers you.' Of course, you're
part of life so you're included but look beyond yourself. What
meaning could you attribute to the situation that will empower
everyone involved? One great place to look is what's the hidden
lesson the Universe is trying to teach you. If you've just gone
through a huge upset, chances are that you've been offered the
lesson many other times. Isn't it time to learn it so you can
6. CELEBRATE. That's right, whenever you move through
an upset, no matter how large or small, celebrate the expansion
and growth you've made. As Chin-Ning Chu says, "Rejoice
and celebrate each time your heart is broken. Only when your
heart is broken can the light enter."
This week, try out this simple
and effective six-step approach on one of your upsets and see
if you don't become much more effective at dealing with your
life. The more you practice it, the faster you'll be able to
authentically move through the emotional turbulence of life and
stay on track to living purposefully.
(Thanks to my friend and client,
Eric Miller, for inspiring this Thought Provoker.)