Healthy Mind, Healthy You is a weekly column written by Mental Wellness Coach Cynthia M. Each week, she will share insight on how you can be live a healthier life. You can read previous articles from this column here.
So, October is done, and if you followed the articles on self-care, you are probably taking better care of yourself on all fronts. This feels good, and well done for actively doing more to take care of yourself.
Now, we are in November 2020 where we are looking back at the year that was unlike any other year we have lived through. Aside from just the health risks and change in how we do things, COVID-19 affected most, if not all, our plans in one way or the other. Someone moved to a new place but was unable to start the life they hoped for due to COVID restrictions. Maybe you had just started a business but had to shut down due to COVID, or you were let go from work, or you had to cancel your wedding. I myself had to cancel my biggest event of the year, my book launch, and had to revise all the ways I ran business so as to become more compliant with the new ways of doing business in a pandemic.
All of these were not just setbacks that we can easily bounce back from; they were disappointments that many of us are still carrying and trying to deal with. Therefore, just to offer some help to anyone dealing with these or any other disappointment, this month will focus on some key pillars in dealing with disappointment. These will be vulnerability, strength of character, resourcefulness and action.
Pillar 1: Vulnerability
Vulnerability is defined as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. It is often used to describe the danger one is exposed to. However, when dealing with emotions, vulnerability is seen as a good thing. This is because in order to process our emotions, we have to learn to allow ourselves to express them by being vulnerable.
So how does this happen? I will share three steps through which vulnerability can help us deal with disappointments.
Step 1: Recognize your emotions
When you were looking forward to something and it doesn’t work out as planned or projected, you will find yourself feeling a combination of upset, angry and confused—which leaves you feeling helpless. These are all very uncomfortable feelings, and usually when people feel uncomfortable, they act out by rushing off to some new thing, which means they don’t process anything from what they have just experienced.
Instead of doing this when disappointed, I encourage you to be vulnerable enough to STOP and recognise what you are feeling. This has to happen because many of us just don’t give ourselves permission to feel a certain way. Especially with negative emotions, we tend to push them down and bury them. So, start taking the necessary stops to assess just what you are feeling regarding all that has not happened as you had expected.
Step 2: Acknowledge your emotions
This means you take a conscious look at how deeply you are feeling what you are feeling. Many of us tend to downplay our disappointment, but this stops us from the processing of our emotions. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but allowing yourself to hurt is the beginning of healing.
Step 3: Voice your emotions
Now that you are feeling all the raw and unfiltered emotions, it’s where you start facing them at first by just vocalising them. Find someone to talk to: a friend, a trusted confidant or family member or just your journal. Allowing yourself to talk about these emotions or just write about them helps you deal with the initial hurt so you can proceed to the next stages of your healing.
These are just the first steps of at least seeing the extent of hurt you are carrying. The next article will talk about how to start shedding it off so you can move on without any baggage.
Until next time, remember: when you change your thinking, you can change your life.
Cynthia M is a mental wellness coach trained in psychology. She works with different individuals and groups to help them establish a more balanced state of emotional wellbeing so they can experience a better quality of life.
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