I could feel the tightening in my stomach worsening. I put up a smile and stepped out of the room to leave for a short break. After mindlessly scrolling through my phone looking for succor yet still feeling sick, I went to the washroom, sat on the floor and let it out whilst muttering “God help me”. It felt like such a release when the tears came out. Barely five minutes late, I washed my face and returned to work.
This really happened to me some days back. I was in between feeling inadequate, feeling hurt, feeling disappointed and angry.
Are there days you feel overwhelmed with a barrage of emotions? Hurt, anger, frustration, pain all at once or back to back it feels like it’s all happening at the same time? If yes, this blog post might help.
- Identify the source: One of the things I have found really helpful in navigating my emotions/how I am feeling at the time is asking myself at different points “Temi, are you okay?” and then I proceed to answer “Yes or No”. I follow up my No answer with “why No?” and I mentally run across images I might have just seen, a conversation I seem to be replaying, what I must have heard that might have triggered something, and basically searching my mind. Asking myself these questions help me identify the source of my mood switch and the feeling of overwhelm.
- Name the emotion: Another thing I do is ask myself what about the source is giving me concern. I label what I am feeling – anger, disgust, jealousy, disappointment etc and ask myself what about this source triggered this emotion. Now, I know exactly what I am dealing with.
- Acknowledge and Question the feeling: Here, I accept that I am actually feeling this way and almost let it wash over like a tide – the rise and the crash, and then I ask myself if it is a valid feeling (I will provide a practical example of how I walk through these steps later on). Am I magnifying this feeling? Is this feeling more linked to an external or internal factor?
- Reach out to God and Reframe my thoughts: I stay silent with my thoughts, go to a quiet place and pull up my journal or notes on my phone and write how I feel. I can also just plug in worship music or instrumentals only and ask God for help and tell Him what I am currently feeling. I look up scriptures that speak to how I am feeling. This shifts my perspective.
- Converse with my friends: I send a message or voice note or respond truthfully and in detail to their post or a message or a call. Talking through my feelings actually helps me a whole lot. As I talk out loud, I am able to identify more of my pain point at the time.
So let me give a practical example – As I am doing chores, I feel like my mood is low and something seems to be onmy mind. Here’s how my conversation with myself goes;
“Temi how are you doing, are you okay?” Identifying the source
“No, I am not, something is on my mind. I feel weighed down in some way”
“Okay let’s run through what you’ve seen, heard or though about recently”
“Okay. I just got off Instagram and saw that xyz has a new job – an executive role and launched a book”
“Oh okay, what about that bothers you?”
“I just got rejected on a job application and I have an unfinished draft I can’t seem to finish”
“So you are jealous? and still dealing with that hurt or rejection. You also feel like you have been lazy and you picture being in xyz’s shoes?” Naming the emotion
“Yes.” Acknowledging the feeling
“Why else might you be feeling this way?”
“I just had a fallout with a close friend and it just feels like things aren’t working well at the same time” Further questioning what I feel
“Is this xyz’s fault or there’s some things you are telling yourself you need to rework?” External or Internal factor
“No, it is not xyz’s fault. I need to know that xyz’s success does not negate mine. Also my fallout with my friend is not direfctly linked to the emotions that seeing xyz’s picture has evoked” Reframing my thoughts
“What can I do about this right now?”
“Log off Instagram for a while, quiet down and journal, talk to the Holy Spirit” then I remember a scripture on God having plans for me which reminds me not to compare with another person’s journey. Reach out to God
Receives a text from a close friend, “how are you doing Temi?”
I respond, “I am okay, just been feeling frustrated and like life isn’t going as planned”
Then I proceed to discuss with the friend. Converse with my friends
Now all these steps don’t happen every time in a 1-5 order, but I have found that all or a combination of some of them help me navigate my down moments at the time.
Hopefully this helps.
P.S: I read something from Adaora ‘Lumina’ Mbelu yesterday that liberated me
“because you don’t get to choose the lesson that you want to teach others, they get to decide what they’re learning from what you’re sharing.
Yours is to let the message flow through you.”
I have let the message flow through me, it is up to you to decide your lessons, and share with me please how you navigate your emotions.
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