Henry David Thorean rightly said, “ Not until we are lost that we begin to understand ourselves.”
Have you been anxious, stressed, disoriented, confused, and depressed lately. The days have been feeling too long and monotonous and you don’t have the strength to go through them. The world seemed gloomy and you just want to curl in your bed and deep dive into your thoughts and want no one to disturb you. You are having extreme mood swings and clearly, you don’t have an explanation for it. There have been burst of emotions during different times of day and you feel that something is wrong with you but you are not able to put a finger on it exactly. If you have been experiencing this all, then let me tell you we both are sailing in the same boat and it’s pretty normal. We, humans, have a tendency to consistently try to make ourselves or others “feel better.” We are driven by compassion and empathy, but these two can often be misdirected, and instead, we project our idea of “okay” onto ourselves and other people. This leads us to believe that whatever is happening is just in our head and it’s better to avoid the feelings rather than face them.
What Stress Feels Like?
What would it look like for us to simply feel whatever it is that’s coming up for us? When we are sick, we know to take medicine to feel better. But what if we are emotionally sick or in pain? There is no medicine to take. There is no concrete action that is always available to us. But often, seeking out a solution to our pain will simply cause us to put off the inevitable process of feeling our feelings.
When things go as planned we feel happy, content, and comfortable. We appreciate ourselves for the effort and hard work we have put in that boosts our self-esteem. But life doesn’t always go as planned, does it? Occasionally it throws a curveball just to test our patience which in turn creates anxiety, panic, and stress. The current pandemic has definitely done that it has pulled the carpet from under our feet, the carpet we had become so comfortable with. The uncertainty that dawns upon us now is taking a toll on our mental health. All of us are trying to adapt to this new normal so to say. But are we really adapting to it?
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Are we accepting whatever is going on around us as it is? Are we acknowledging that these are difficult and unprecedented times and it’s okay if sometimes we lose control? Are we actually comprehending the changes that are happening not only in the environment or the physical world? But it is us who are being affected the most and are undergoing maximum change. Are we actively processing all this and allowing ourselves to show up for our emotions is what makes us stronger and heals us.
Is this comfortable? Absolutely not. Is it vital for our emotional growth? Without a doubt.
How often do we respond to the question “How are you?” with a simple, “I’m fine,” or even, “Not great but I know this just for a time being—so I’m fine.” But are you really?
This constant need to show the world that you are fine and nothing is wrong with you or rather just presuming that no one will understand how many times have we just shut ourselves, dug a deep hole of emotional despair, and crawled deeper into it with no intention of coming out of it as we have forced ourselves to believe that it’s better this way rather than being stigmatized by the people around us.
How to Get Away With Stress?
We must start to shed the shame that surrounds not being okay. We must let go of the notion that if we are feeling the pain of any kind, we are weak or doing something wrong. We need to accept, introspect and allow ourselves to feel then only we will be able to heal completely.
You are not alone in this dysfunctional way of thinking and feeling rather most of us go through it from time to time. It’s how most of us have been raised, conditioned, and told is “normal.” Normal is fine, but healthy is a different story.
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How can we learn to let go of the narrative that we must not run from or distract ourselves from our feelings in order to be okay again? Those feelings aren’t going to go away—not now, not ever.
There are definitely actions you can take to release yourself of emotional pain or self-centeredness, but most of those actions have an element of focusing on yourself before you start focusing on others.
It is okay to shout. It is okay to cry. It is okay to feel pain. It is okay to feel scared. It is okay to feel uncertain. It is okay to feel grief. It is okay to feel lonely. And It is definitely okay to not be okay.
Yes, it will pass. Yes, it is impermanent. Yes, it is just a phase of your life and it will get over soon. But still, it is required you to honor your emotional experience by being present for it, not by distracting yourself or avoiding it with every fiber of your being.
Just for today, show up for whatever you’re feeling and remember you are not alone in this. If your career and education are the reasons behind your stress, get in touch with the Mindler Experts and start with online career counselling today.