One day I realized I was constantly feeling agitated and disappointed. Maybe I should say that I had woken up to my own pattern, I realized this isn’t who I wanted to be. I had become comfortably pessimistic, seeing the world through a tainted lens, losing faith in people’s promises and living in a feeling of constant disappointment. To be fair, I had reason to feel that way, but I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.
Holding up my life and watching the last 11 years of hard work be devoured by a pandemic became too much. I was viewing the things at work that weren’t done the way I’d asked as a grievance against me. My agitation would slip into anger without notice, and I eventually realized how my energy was affecting others. The burden of carrying my darkness around had taken its toll.
Our emotional and physical state directly affects how we respond to the world and creates filters over our experiences. Meaning we start to see our world through our pains, instead of seeing it through goodness. Feelings such as agitation, disappointment, and the inability to take in new and difficult situations whether personal or global, creates emotional fatigue that will heavily cloud the way we experience anything and everyone that we’re in contact with.
Years ago I had a landlord, who was kind and easy to talk to, unless I had an issue with my apartment; whenever I approached them with simple issues I had to be prepared to be ignored or avoided for a period of weeks or months. There was a how dare I ask energy and an air of offending. I struggled with it for a while, but then I’d realized that I couldn’t walk on eggshells just to avoid conflict. I imagine they’re disappointed a lot with people, if when things come up their first response is defensiveness and feeling frustrated, that’s a them problem not a me problem. I had to remind myself of that a lot.
I’ve been a landlord many times, and when someone in my space needs something, I don’t take it personally – I just deal with it. When we view people and situations as problems, or if we can’t manage our own desire for control, we can end up translating simple adult tasks as an opportunity to be frustrated or blame others.
If we’re experiencing negativity, it’s not uncommon to project it outward. We do it to our loved ones, lovers, family, kids, parents, friends and at work. Some of us may even have outburst with strangers in grocery stores, behind the wheel of our car or on the street.
If we see people and the world negatively, often, we’re losing connection with the feel-good parts of our nervous system. We’ve fallen into a complicated pattern of not dealing, healing and moving forward, and that energy needs to find another source to express our discontent and unprocessed emotions onto.
When were experiencing people and situations as a constant affront, something that makes us feel vigilant and we regularly see the worst in people or situations, it’s a strong indicator that we need to examine ourselves instead of projecting these believes outward.
When I’m regularly thinking that people are incompetent, incapable or unintelligent, I have to stop and go inward. To see what’s happening inside of me, what’s creating my awful perception of others. Even when my desire is to make others the problem, for all intents and purposes, it’s about me. When it’s a one-off situation that’s different, it’s on me to use my words to have conversations that express myself and listen to understand what’s happening.
When I’m picking apart people and feeling doom and gloom all around me, it’s time for me to recalibrate. For some of us we may need a mental health professional to prescribe medication to help pull us from the slump. Or we need to find practices that help our nervous system realign.
I have a few practices that bring me back to me. All of them have to do with slowing down. I LOVE moving my body in high intensity activities, it’s a great way for me to disperse energy, but it’s not a great way to deal with the deep stuff bubbling inside. Learning how to slow down and watch my agitation arise while breathing deeply is one tool I use to settle my nerves and anxieties. Meditation is my healthy elixir, when I step away from it for too long, I lose the capacity to self-regulate and feel love. Meaning I fall easily into feeling anxious, overwhelmed and flustered. I describe my meditation practice as the place I learn to quiet my mind chatter, it takes time, eventually with a settled mind I experience more peace. (see below for meditation tips).
In addition to meditation, yoga, and slowing down enough to pay attention to the simple daily tasks, I connect with other like-minded humans. I spend time in community and listen to what’s happening in my friends lives. I eat healthy, sleep min eight hours a night, and do breathwork.
Emotional steadiness doesn’t come from controlling our environment or the people within it, it comes from our ability to connect with our own darkness as we slow down.
Meditation practices can be immensely healing and while facilitation more peace into your life. Unless it provokes further agitation and discomfort in your body. If you’re in a place of struggle, depression, or high anxiety you may need to go slow with meditation. Find movement based practices, like yoga in a studio with others around (it’s supportive to be in community) to help move some of the darkness. Once you feel like you can sit, with a guided meditation for 1 minute or 2, then slowly increase the during. With the possible goal of 10 minutes.