Editorial notebook

Getting in tune with emotions

I had a pretty rough October, mostly for personal reasons that I won’t quite get to in this article. However, if anything good came from it, it’s that, overall, it was a fairly insightful month for me. I learned to get more in touch with my feelings, to become attuned to the diverse range of emotions I felt, and to handle things optimistically with dignity and self-respect… Look, I’m probably the last person who should be giving advice about life—I’ve never thought that I was particularly good at it—but I feel it’s important to express the things that were running through my head during a time when I believed things wouldn’t get any better.

I tend to dwell on my problems, so much that there’s no way it can be healthy. I let them consume me—they flood my thoughts and dictate my actions. I knew I couldn’t let that happen this past October. The one thing I told myself early on was to pretend nothing was wrong, and to continue my life as normally as I could. That isn’t to say I completely ignored the issue afflicting my life altogether, but it definitely helped me define the boundaries in which it would influence the rest of my life. At first, I felt out of my element—I’m always the type of person who tries to tackle problems head on, before they get any worse, but this “kind of distancing” myself from my problem really helped me come to terms with it—it showed that I the one was in control of the situation, and not the problem.

My temperament has never been the best. I’ve always tended to lash out at sources of stress in my life, whether they be things or people. I’ve never seriously put much thought into how that one minute of anger in the heat of the moment could seriously impact my relationships with others. This past month, I really learned how to wrangle that, and realized that getting angry ultimately only makes things worse. In my situation, by not getting mad, I had everything to gain, and absolutely nothing to lose. It really made me conscientious of how my emotions impact those around me—and I realized that I don’t want it to be in a negative way anymore. The people around me, and my relationships with them, are way too important to sacrifice because of one minute of anger and frustration.

I’ve never been hesitant to talk about my problems with people I care about; in fact, it’s what keeps me from losing my sanity most of the time. Now, there’s a time and place for everything, and talking about problems is no exception— don’t make it the crux of every conversation you have, but realize that opening up in a way that you feel comfortable with can help magnitudes. If the root of your problem stems from another person, this advice still applies. Constructive conversations can easily come from a willingness to sit down and talk about differences in a productive manner—it’s a non-confrontational way to solve so many issues.

If there’s one thing I want you to learn from this notebook, it’s that you control your emotions… not the other way around. You choose how to best handle what life decides to throw at you, and make do with the cards you’re dealt. It worked out for me—granted, things aren’t perfect, but I’d say I’m in a much better place right now than I was at this time one month ago. Take grasp of the negative things in your life, and use them to push yourself forward, learn about yourself, and become a better individual.