There are two things that completely unhinge me. A threat (either physical or psychological) to my family and someone wrongfully accusing me of a hurtful act. When both of these happened to me last week it took me to what I call my personal hell. This mental state is probably common amoungst us all and we all have our own individual triggers that take us there. So how did I manage to continue to function as all this unfolded. What did I learn about self-management to navigate out of hell and get on with things.
Here is my list of survival techniques:
1. feel the temperature rising: know you are getting emotionally heated, understand that this is affecting you, do not try to kid yourself that you are ok. You are not, you are fragile and emotional; knowing this means you are dealing with it and have a level of regulation and self-management. To ignore it risks it building up like water behind a dam; which can burst and cause all sorts of trouble for you and those around you. Once you are aware of the situation you can start to gauge how close you are to “losing it”, hitting out or behaving badly. For me I felt emotions rising up to the point where I needed physical distance from the source of trouble. Although I did say some things that I now regret I managed to limit my loses in terms of upsetting those around me. Talking to someone often helps you say out loud how you are going and allows the issue to become more objective.
2. SELF-CARE: be gentle on yourself. In my hell everything I was solid on tended to be questioned. But I did not judge myself to be “bad” I simply accepted that this is part of being human. “Shit happens” and it is happening to me now, is what I said to myself. With my emotional self under attack I engaged deeply in my intellectual work (consulting), this was great and used a part of my brain that had capacity. I did manage two coaching sessions as well but this took more energy then usual. My advice if you are in your hell is to do activities that keep you engaged in life but do not draw too much energy. Sitting around drinking beer would not fall into this category.
3. your can’t “fix” this: in my Hell all seems hopeless but I know I must pass through a point of total not-knowing-ness to reach a point where I can start to navigate a way forward. Think of a frog holding onto a rock in a raging river. To continue on life’s journey he needs to let go of his safe place and enter the flow of the stream (ups, down bumps etc.). For me I know that to move out of hell I need to let go of my safe rock and enter back into the unknown. I monitor myself and the situation waiting for the time where I see signs that it’s time to plan a way out, this always is preceded by me having to let go of something (something about myself that I’ve been holding onto too tightly).
Lessons from HELL
Going through my personal hell I learnt some of the deepest insights into myself; what I consider as my most cherished values/beliefs. The take way for me is to know and live by my beliefs but hold them lightly and don’t take things so seriously. Holding onto anything too tightly restricts how you can be apply it in the chaotic stream of life and in the end only makes you suffer. Does this mean my values have changed after I come back from hell..?
… not sure..?
Stay well everyone