Tears and Fears

Emotions.  Why do we – or maybe it’s just me- so why do I let them get the best of me?  Most of the time I am a calm rational person.  I can engage in philosophical arguments and most of the time – not all as I am far from perfect- keep it respectful. But then there are the times emotions take over.  I become defensive, loud, mean and it leaves me feeling depressed, angry, frustrated and overall sad.  

This was me last week.  An emotional wreck.  I let my boss get the better of me.  And by Friday night I rode the train home silently staring out the window as tears rolled down my face.  What was I crying about.  I wasn’t even sure and still couldn’t explain exactly why.  But there I was, crying and feeling lost and confused.
I truly am a believer in the fact that although we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we respond.  So why did I respond to a bad week at work, by crying?  I think there are a few reasons.
First, crying is a stress reliever.  When we hold our emotions in, which obviously in a work environment, we have to be less emotional, more with persona of cool and calm.  So crying is a way to let those tightly wound up and hidden emotions out.  Otherwise, if kept inside, they will kill us!  So it seems normal that my crying was a great way to empty those emotions and finally breathe.
But I don’t think that explains everything.  My tears were also a sign of fear.  It is my way of coping with being too scared to change my circumstances.  As noted in previous posts, I don’t really like my job any more.  For the last few years I have lacked satisfaction.  There is no feeling of what I am doing making any difference in the world.  I want to make a difference!  I have so many ideas!  Yet I am so scared to go after any of them!  I talk about it, but I don’t take action.  I plan, but I never execute!  My tears were also the sadness that I feel because I can’t seem to move beyond my fears!
Today I am coming to grips with this fear.  I am acknowledging it if nothing more. I may never be able to move past it, but I must first acknowledge it exists to even consider challenging it and winning against it!  Fear holds us back in many ways.  Sometimes to protect us but sometimes to make us stronger as we stare down the fear and overpower it with motivation and determination.
I am not sure I will power through this fear and conquer it, but I will at least spend some time getting to know it.  Why it is here?  To protect me?  And if so from what?  Or is it here to force me to look it in the eye and move right past it. Maybe tomorrow I will have a better answer.
My horoscope today is hinting at something: “you are in a construction phase, a good time to set the foundation.”  Is overcoming my fears a foundation to making the changes I am so fearful of?

Feelings Engaged

Feelings. Dictionary.com defines the word as “physical sensation not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell.” Is it physical? When my feelings are hurt, I am not physically hurt. So what are feelings? How do you define this word without using the word?

Recently I struggle to describe my feelings and also to be able to explain why I feel the way I do. What causes one to feel sad, lonely, happy, upset, aggravated and every other type of feeling? For the last few months, I have had no reason to feel sad, yet I wouldn’t say I am happy, so am I sad? Can one not be happy but also not be sad? I’m asking lots of questions because the fact is I have lots of questions lately when it comes to feelings.

Yesterday, in a business meeting, where usually I never take things personally, especially since I work fashion retail and there is enough ego in the room already, but yesterday I did take something personally. No need for the details, but having checked in with others in the room, it was a rude comment, definitely directed at me. I don’t work for the person who made it, the person is a peer and someone I don’t interact with much at all, so why do I care? Why let this bother me? Over 24 hours later and I am wondering that myself.

This morning I read a post from my daughter’s blog. She is writing about her travels in Colombia, her Dad’s homeland. The post was about her connecting with her cousins there, primos as she calls them. My feelings were both happy and sad. Happy that she is adjusting to her home for the next year, yet sad that she was. How can I be happy and sad about the same thing? And why in the world would I be sad at all?

These are two examples of many instances where I cannot explain my feelings. I don’t hate my job, but I literally do hate having to go to work every day. I have this desire to step out on my own, but a fear that if I fail, not me, but my whole family would loose their security. Fear and desire. Just like being happy and sad. How does one cope with these opposite feelings?

As we age, do we look at everything differently? I honestly don’t remember having these opposing emotions going on in my head and heart at the same time until recently. Seems when I was younger, I was, most of the time, completely happy. If someone, such as a co worker, said something offensive toward me, I don’t think I lingered on it. I usually said something back or just let it go. When I was angry or sad, I knew why – and so did everyone else. But I knew, I could explain my feelings. But now, not so much.

So do our feelings get exaggerated as we get older? Does our flood of emotions over so many years make it harder to let go of some feelings and harder to clearly define what we feel? I would think as we age, emotions would be easier to understand. Clearer to define. But for me, that hasn’t been the case. My emotions are more of a roller coaster than ever before. Harder to control and harder to not let them control my actions.

Could it be because as we age, life is just happening so much quicker. Is my life just so busy that I don’t have time to fully grasp my feelings? To really enjoy those circumstances and people who make me smile? To understand when hurt and upset, but then to let it go, especially when it doesn’t truly affect who I am.

So for the next week, between now and Thanksgiving, I am going to slow down, breathe deeply and re-engage with my feelings. Perhaps write in my “journal” ( my IPhone notes) and document when I’m happy and when I am sad and more importantly, why. Perhaps a week from now, I will have clearer picture and truly understand what I am thankful for.

First entry. Tonight I’m happy. I am happy because I walked out of class with a student, who was so excited about her future, and so excited to share that with me and ask me questions, like I was some sort of expert! My ego craved that feeling of connection, of mentoring, of helping her understand a little more about the business. It felt good to have her company.

I wonder how I will feel tomorrow?