By Sanah Thakur
I’m someone who has always romanticised the idea of wailing in despair; often sitting in my bedroom thinking for hours, listening to music to give me answers or expecting the universe to give a sign of opportunity. Unfortunately, much to my despair, this results in no change to my situation. Begging the world to stop just so I can get back on track is a joke that time has no humour for. So how do I fix this?
To every problem or situation we find ourselves in, there are millions of solutions – finding one that suits us is the real struggle. As someone who hasn’t figured a tangible solution herself, there’s no right or wrong answer I can give you. However, I’ve realised that understanding the context behind a problem can set everyone in a good position to figure out the answer themselves. That’s probably the extent of any help this column is going to provide today, so take it for what it is.
When I find myself encounter a negative emotion such as anger or sadness, I seem to get consumed by it. Emotions are biological and designed to keep you alive. Emotional states don’t stay for too long, but our mental interpretation of these states, something we call ‘feelings’ can prolong the state. That’s why, even though the emotional state of anger might have passed, your feelings of frustration, irritation and annoyance linger to hold you back. This is one of the major reasons why we can’t seem to ‘switch’ out of the sluggish feeling and spend our car journeys gazing out of the window in deep, reflective thought. Being aware of the biological experience of emotional states, such as checking our heart beat, perspiration levels and breathing, helps focus mental energy in one place. This way, you can target the fluctuating feelings rather than stay confused.
I also catch myself being incredibly nice to myself, letting the excuses take control of my narrative. There’s no need to take this advice the wrong way and start disciplining yourself strictly; but you can’t just stick to being the good cop. Often extracting yourself from the situation and changing your self-talk to advice you would give someone else, helps. I try speaking to myself as I would if it was a friend or associate who asked for my advice; not allowing the excuses to slide past. And even if you do, just remind yourself that excuses are only your way of avoiding responsibility for the situation. Time has better things to do than just wait for the excuses to pile up.
Currently, I’m trying to follow my own advice. It’s definitely much harder to positively affirm to ourselves that we won’t find ourselves in these situations again. That the next time they do come up, we’ll be more prepared and resilient. But as someone told me today, we can’t choose when we want to be resilient. Committing to yourself and doing something seriously requires following through with what you decided. If we build this illusion that time will wait for us, then we will always believe that we can just stop and wait for the world to allow us to catch up. There is no solution, until we stop wasting time and create one!
* The author can be contacted on Instagram @sincerelysanah
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