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Finding Emotional Stability: The Storm before the Calm

Finding Emotional Stability:  The Storm before the Calm

Like it or not, things often get worse before they get better.  A tickle in your throat can be the first sign that a cold is on its way.  Hitting your arm or leg usually results in swelling, then bruising, and finally it heals.  The same is true in regards to our emotional stability.  I hate to break it to you, but we don’t pop out of the womb emotionally stable individuals.  If you’re seen a toddler in the midst of a temper tantrum, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Or how about the adolescent who boldly refuses to follow the advice of parents or guardians.  It’s easy to get frustrated by the storm, but instead let’s consider 5 benefits of the storm that are necessary in order to reach the stability and calm we desire.

storm27707/Pixabay.com

1. Provides a Much Needed Wake-up Call

Most of us live extremely busy lives and often only have time to deal with priorities.  Emotional health doesn’t always make the priority list.  However, a lack of emotional stability CAN derail us more than we realize.  Just think about those mornings when you don’t feel like getting out of bed.  Or when you can’t bear dealing with a problematic relationship so you choose to stay home.  Perhaps even when we decline an invitation because of the unwanted consequences it may bring.

Emotional instability provides the wake-up call we need.  Those with anxiety issues will tell you that when they can’t sit still or sleep well, health becomes a priority.  Likewise, someone suffering with depression is desperate for an energy boost and motivation.  And anyone who experiences anger outbursts leaves an aftermath of destruction that craves peace and calm.  Sometimes, our problems are warnings.  Imagine hearing words through a megaphone announcing, “This is not a test!  This is a real warning that change is needed and it is needed now!”

2. Gives Us a Gentle Push in the Right Direction

While wake-up calls are an important part of emotional health, too much of a good thing usually doesn’t help.  The megaphone approach might help might once in a while, but who wants to hear that on a regular basis?  In fact, an approach that is too strong can have the opposite effect and result in no action at all.

It’s often that gentle nudge or push in the right direction that has longer lasting results.  Have you ever seen the look on a parent’s face when they need to discipline a child but can’t.  The child may never hear the words, “knock it off.”  But they sure can feel them!  When we start to become unsettled by negative emotions, ask yourself if this is like mom or dad’s “look” gently pushing in a better direction.

3. Allows Potential Friends & Lovers to See the Truth

When we make purchases in life, we often wonder if something is worth the price.  Will this tool last a day, a year, or a lifetime?  If we knew how long it would last, we could be more certain of how much we are willing to pay for it.  But, since most of us lack the ability to see into the future, it becomes guesswork.

The same can be true of engaging in new relationships.  Whether it a new friend or a potential lover, we would love to see what the future holds but usually can’t.  So, once again, we’re left with guesswork.  And it doesn’t help that in the beginning of relationships, people often hide their true selves.  They tend to show the other person what they want to see.

Emotional outbursts in a potential friend or lover allow us to see beneath the surface.  They do allow us to peek into the future.  They take away some of the guesswork.  This is not always a bad thing, but it does tell us how a person handles stress.  Do they start crying or shut down?  Do they begin yelling, cursing, or throwing objects?  Does some type of verbal or physical abuse begin?  While it might not be pretty, it’s better to know what you’re dealing with and the storm can definitely provide needed insight.

4. Creates Motivating Memories

Remember the time that xyz happened?  Unfortunately, we all have some memories that we would rather NOT remember.  Those times when we lost our cool.  Or those times when we majorly embarrassed ourselves saying something we should not have.

Those bad memories can actually be motivating at times.  They serve to remind us what types of behavior we don’t want to repeat.  I recall assuming that someone had decided I wasn’t worth his or her time.  When actually they were in the midst of a personal crisis and couldn’t muster up the energy for anyone.  That experience has caused me to give people the benefit of the doubt and not assume.  I now verify facts before jumping to conclusions most of the time.

5. Develops the Skills Needed to Help Others

“It’s not all about you!”  Although we may not like hearing those words, they are true.  Every problem we have or lesson we learn is not just for our benefit.  Life experiences are often meant to be used to benefit others.  Once we have learned to overcome a particular downfall, we are equipped to help others do the same.  My experiences struggling with depression have often helped others struggling with it too.

Some people go as far as writing a book or officially changing their career in order to help others.  Such extreme measures are not always necessary though.  Pick up a phone and call a friend who has been having a rough time.  Be willing to talk with someone you run into who is experiencing a difficulty.  You’ll be amazed at how the right people just happen to cross paths with you when you have what they need.

Reflection Questions

  1.  Are you struggling with emotional stability today?  If so, could this be a sign that something needs to change?
  2. Do you have any memories that motivate you NOT to do something again?
  3. Does someone need to hear your story so that they can be helped with a similar problem?

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