Being Mindful Of Your Emotions
The last few days, I have been witness to a power battle that has erupted over the execution of certain high-value projects. The association that manages our gated community buildings have lost the trust of its residents as they have not been very transparent about money matters. The pent-up frustration has resulted in a barrage of emails flying back and forth between us, the residents, and the association board members.
On yet another occasion, while I was making a presentation to a client, there were frequent interruptions made by one of the client partners. This frustrated me, but there was no way I could shield myself from such difficult people.
I have had similar experiences in social circles when certain people just get on my nerves and leave me feeling annoyed.
During all the above situations, I experienced getting angry, frustrated, judgmental, and a host of feelings I could not decipher. But it was translating into stress, which I knew was not good for me. In the past, I have felt similar emotions while reacting to toxic situations at work. I would come out of meetings which felt toxic, argumentative, and not worth spending time at.
These emotions drained my energy levels and, for two days following the event, I hated to do anything constructive. I pushed myself to work and stay engaged in work, but it wasn't easy. Any attempt to think clearly failed. I would find it difficult to manage these emotions, but do nothing about it. Thinking it would disappear with time, and I would be fine again.
I worked with a coach. I needed help in managing my emotions. I wanted to develop the ability to accept the circumstances and deal with them by experiencing the emotions. Resisting the emotions was causing me more stress.
Reacting to Situations
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear”? ~ Lao Tzu
My coach helped me understand that I was reacting to situations. I wasn’t responding to them. By responding to situations, we make things better for us instead of reacting to them. Being mindful of my emotions during such reactions helped me to pause and respond instead of reacting.
A reaction is the root cause for distress, unclear thinking, and creating a toxic environment. When you respond, it would be a more rounded, controlled, and confident you responding to a situation.
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.” ~ Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon
The frustration and anger I experience results from my expectations not being met. This happens to everyone. All of us expect something from our surroundings, friends, colleagues, work, family, relationships, etc. The intensity of this anger could depend on how attached we are, to what is causing it. When things don’t turn out the way one expected them to be, then it leads to frustration.
Most times, I would blame myself for not meeting expectations. Sometimes I thought I had failed completely and I did not have the ability to meet my own expectations.
Lowering my expectations helped me to control the intensity and frequency of such emotions.
"Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it." ~ Michael J Fox
I remember Marshall Goldsmith's article Can You Let Go?. Marshall talks about how acceptance of certain people, or situations, helps to liberate us from toxic emotions.
I have now learned the art of acceptance. I have lowered my expectations and am mindful of my emotions when responding to certain situations or people. I, therefore, am more controlled and do not react.
The biggest lesson I have learned was being mindful of my emotions and to take a pause. It wasn’t easy in the beginning; it took practice and patience. In similar situations today, I respond more positively and don’t allow my emotions to stress me.