By Sanah Thakur
If I received a Riyal for every instance of poorly handled emotions I have witnessed, (both through my experience and by watching others), I could retire today. In my brief time on this planet, I’ve have had the pleasure of watching phones being thrown across rooms, mirrors punched into, glasses broken, cupboards emptied, pillows ripped open and other such inanimate objects being destroyed. In the name of frustration, baseball bats have left decorative cracks on fancy cars, tyres left punctured, expensive jewellery plunged into deep waters and shallow waves of words thrusted onto rock solid egos. Sadness has excused overeating, over spending and overly delayed deadlines. Joy is never blamed because there’s no such thing as too much celebration. Fear tells tales of messages ignored, calls diverted, social media snooping and verbal obscenities blurted virtually, orally and mentally. ‘Crazy’ emotional outbursts have been normalised by the media, whether it’s song lyrics, music videos, gossip channels or autobiographies. Memes allow us to giggle at these ‘uncontrollable’ moments and trademark the behaviour for personal identity branding. While we might have accepted the narrative that ‘this is just the way I am’, do we really want to be at the receiving end of such behaviour? When you think about the answer to that, you almost immediately realise there’s a need to make a few changes.
I decided to look back into some of my own unhealthy emotional reactions and consequential narratives that I used and still use today. As a young child, I was often coaxed into a joyful mood by being bought toys when I was upset. This translated into an older version of me, spending money on useless items to feel better. If anyone decided to interrupt my shopping sessions, I would roar at them with my excuse; ‘I deserve to buy myself something nice because I’ve had an awful day’. Another common behaviour was storming out of rooms in anger or raising my voice unnecessarily to get my way. While these may seem like appropriate responses we are ‘allowed’ to engage in, I’ve often found that they’re extremely unproductive in resolving the emotional discomfort. More times than common, these responses actually end up affecting people around us and create further discomfort in our lives. What was the real point of spending my money when I came home regretting everything I bought?
The issue I wanted to raise through my column today was the uber coolness with which we excuse some of our worst behaviours. Emotions can be exhausting and confusing, hormones triggering different reactions and chemicals whizzing past in your mind. I totally sympathise with that. Yet extensive research into emotional intelligence has consistently proven that changes can be made. Reminding oneself about the real objective of emotions (i.e. for survival) can help us make a conscious decision to alter our emotional ‘personalities’. I will expand on the possible solutions to this issue in the next column, however I want to leave you with a small activity. Being extremely objective and honest, look back at the emotional responses you’ve had in the past two years and write down two lists: one including all the responses you believed were healthy and another including all responses you felt were ineffective and unhealthy. We’ll visit these lists next week.
No matter how we react, it’s good to remember that life doesn’t stop because we’re having a bad day or remain stuck in an emotional state we refuse to get out of. Let’s work to get rid of this excuse, because honestly, when was the last time punching a wall solved anything?
The author can be contacted on Instagram @sincerelysanah
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