What a beautiful gift. They deepen and enrich our lives like nothing else. They can take us to the highest heights – but also to the lowest lows.
Just like the waves of the sea, the waves of emotion deep within us are in constant motion. They calm when the winds of life send you a gentle breeze, and they agitate when a turbulent storm rushes in. Feelings may wash ashore and simply wet your feet, or they can crash so hard that you could lose your emotional balance.
So, what do you do when waves of emotion swell and head straight for you? Should you turn and run? Or ride them out?
Ride or Run?
The problem with running from a wave is that it will often pursue and overtake you.
As with literal waves, getting pulled under and tossed about by your feelings is a scary thing. The harder you fight the current, the more exhausted you become.
By the time the wave ebbs and you pick yourself up again, another one is on its way.
As time goes on, for lack of strength, you can’t run as fast and you get pulled under more often. You find yourself repeating this cycle over and over. In the end, if you don’t make a change, you may even drown.
There is a better way to handle waves of emotion.
Riding them out allows you to stay on top, in control, and not be pulled under – no matter how enormous the swell may become. And you can learn how to do it!
How to Ride Your Waves of Emotions
We don’t have an inborn instinct about how to manage our feelings and achieve emotional balance. Being able to identify and manage our emotions is a learned skill:
1. Observe the waves – The first thing you’ll have to do is get a feel for your waves of emotion. Watch them coming and going, learn to name them, and recognize the differences.
2. Understand their source – Emotions just don’t magically appear out of the blue for no reason. You have to figure out what triggers them. Sometimes, their source isn’t very obvious. You have to investigate and dig deeper, exploring them without judging before you ever react.
3. Accept them – You can’t stop the waves of emotions. They’ll continue coming, wave after wave. It’s how you’re wired. Therefore, accept that each one of your feelings is valid. It tells you something about yourself. Once you accept that they’re part of you, you can simply let them flow and respect how you feel in each and every moment of your life.
4. Harness their power – Emotions have enormous power – tap into it! Even negative emotions can teach you something. For example, anger provides you energy and motivation. Fear affords you alertness and endurance. Harnessing their energy slows down the waves of emotion. You no longer fear them because you can use them to your own advantage. You are no longer helplessly at their mercy.
Achieving Emotional Balance
Remember, with every emotion, you have a choice of responses. Ignore it, explore it, or fight it. Of course, every option carries a suggestion with it for how you could react. But you don’t have to act on those suggestions. There are always more ways to respond. It’s completely your choice.
Look at your choices and ask yourself: Is how I want to react going to help me or hurt me?
Think about it carefully – observe, understand, and accept. And then pick the reaction that will allow you to harness the energy from your emotions to come up with a positive solution for yourself. One that will benefit you long-term and help you achieve emotional balance.