Everyone gets angry, sad, hurt, upset, stressed or frustrated. No one can feel happy ALL the time. What happens, though, when those emotions begin to dominate your days and nights. It isn’t just sadness you are feeling, its rock bottom sadness for 4-5 hours a day. It isn’t just anger you felt, but a rage that builds from deep within until you wind up exploding on someone or something. It’s a stress that causes you to lose sleep, lose focus, and end up sick from a weakened immunity. Whatever it is, you feel miserable.
Each person who demonstrates these kind of somethering emotions is running a pattern. Once identified, a pattern is a predictable and recurring set of emotions and actions.
Here is an example –
1) Someone hurts your feelings with a comment.
2) Hurt turns sadness and you begin to wallow in the comment.
3) Wallowing leads to the thoughts “Why do I care so much about people…” and progresses and opens memories of previous people who hurt you.
4) Anger arises as you begin to wish you were never close to people to begin with.
5) Anger then leads to depression as you focus on all of the hurt and sadness felt in your life.
6) Depression leads to a feeling of helplessness that you will never be truly happy or in control of your emotions.
7) Helplessness leads to hitting rock bottom, and spending a day or two wanting to stay in bed, avoiding people, or becoming cold with those who are close to you.
8) The loneliness eventually leads to a resolve to get out and be with people again.
9) Life moves forward again until……. and the pattern begins again.
While you live out your emotional cycles, you are not only in a lot of pain, but feel there is no one to turn to, and no where to hide. As often as it happens, you still need to work, go to school, tend to your children, volunteer at community functions, spend time with your family, and more often then not – these patterns either destroy what is around you, or it destroys you as you attempt to manage things without anyone knowing how out of control you are really feeling.
You may feel that your emotional patterns are unchangeable, and out of your control. But what if you were to understand what it is that triggers the pattern to begin with. What is the core of the issue?
Here is an short exercise to help you discover the root cause, which, if identified, steps can then be developed to handle the real underlying problem.
1) Focus on the last time you felt emotionally out of control. What occurred before this happened. Describe in detail how you were feeling, what thoughts were running through your mind, and what you were focusing on. Then recall the different “stages” you went through in your range of emotions and actions.
2) Take note of the next time the same range of emotions begins. This will take a lot of effort – but it IS possible. Look at yourself from an objective point of view and ask yourself what is it that I am needing, thinking, feeling, telling myself, etc. Write it down. Again, write down the different emotions as they come.
3) After this, compare what you discovered for the first and second scenario. What is similiar between the two events? The more you do this, the more you will identify your pattern of emotions and behavior. Then, go back and ask yourself “What is the REAL reason my emotions headed this direction?”
I have identified that it is usually one of three things:
1) A belief – something you tell yourself over and over (and at some point, this belief needs replacement!)
2) An action that needs to be taken (someone you need to talk to, a commitment you need fulfill, etc)
3) A need that needs to be met (wanting attention, love, validation, etc.)
This is by no means an easy task, but it is the beginning of a journey to reach emotional mastery. Once this journey has begun, your quality of life can improve rapidly, helping you live with greater happiness.
As a coach, my job is to help you unleash your greatest potential within, so you can become a stronger Muslim. Emotions can certainly be overwhelming, but with some simple tools and techniques you would be amazed at how significantly you can change, and in a short period of time. These exercises are meant to help you gain some insight, but for most, will not be enough to make a permanent change.
For those of you who do the exercises, please also email me or post your comments below on how this has benefited you, and what suggestions you may have based on your own experiences. I look forward to your comments!