Learn how negative emotions manifest and what motivates procrastination.
Learn how negative emotions manifest and what motivates procrastination.
Dealing with loss is not easy, although its impact is measured by its significance to your life and your identity.
Whatever the circumstance it’s lonely and trying to reconnect with your identity and trying to move forward with your life is a challenge you never anticipate.When you lose a piece of your life that signifies a large part of your identity, repairing the damage requires you to regain control.
Loss presents itself with many challenges and I think the first thing you lose is control over your emotions. For anyone that has suffered any kind of loss can agree, that the arrangement of different emotions overwhelms your ability to process.
Sadness can get burdened by anger, anger can possibly lead to guilt, guilt gets enhanced by thoughts of hope and happiness, then reality kicks back in and you’re back to feeling sad again. The cycle continues on and on as you raise more questions to gain understanding and/or try to move on.
The effect from mixed emotions can cloud your identity. For those that haven’t suffered loss, relate by remembering how it feels when embarking on something new. When you start something new you’re excited and scared at the same time, you’re confident yet hopeful and can feel stressed yet still feel very ready. This constant cycling through emotions cause doubt and confusion. The series of emotions are different but the way they impact your identity are the same – they slow you from progression.
If you’re anything like me, avoidance is your go to. To avoid facing each and every emotion you end up focusing on routine, like burying yourself into work perhaps, or starting random projects that don’t make sense at this particular point in time.
At the other end of the spectrum you have a self-pitying and self-loathing reaction to loss.
Whichever way you choose to deal, the answer isn’t avoidance. You need to line up your emotions and deal with each feeling properly. Reduce its impact by allowing yourself to feel and build up a tolerance, so the next time it comes around you can cope better.
Between all the support and sympathy try and source support from someone strong willed enough to tell you to regain control, to tell you that you can rebuild your life again. It comes across brutish in society but when you’re going through cycles of emotions you need this awakening to break from it.
One thing you should determine is whether you were prepared for the loss or not, sounds a bit silly in a lot of situations but you’ll find understanding this really helps with reasoning your emotions. There’s an odd source of strength that comes from knowing this.
If you were prepared you can put yourself back together much more quickly. Take losing your job for example, you can prepare for the potential of also losing your home. As horrible as it sounds you can almost process the loss before the loss even occurs and put processes in place to help you through it. It alleviates some of the stress however can cause anxiety as you wait for it to happen.
However, when life catches you off guard and side swipes you with loss, you’re having to prepare after the loss occurs. It’s like literally getting stabbed in the back, you don’t see it coming and you don’t know the attacker but you’re left to deal with it after it’s occurred. When loss is unforeseen it is much more difficult to recover, but knowing this gives you the freedom to feel each raw emotion in its entirety. It causes much more stress but lessens anxiety.
Either way, distinguishing your level of preparation, will help you move towards reaching that point of evaluation and reflection. It sounds simple but it’s something you never really consider when faced with loss…it allows you to look at your loss somewhat objectively, allowing your mind to think outside the cycle of emotion.
Evaluate and Reflect
Evaluate your current circumstance, at this very moment evaluate your responsibilities and really pick apart your life to understand your significance within it. Turn to areas of your life that require you to be yourself again, if you don’t get back on track with life what else will suffer? You need this reminder, you need this reasoning to break the cycle.
Reflect on your past and the life you have built, look to the choices you’ve had to make to build it. You’re currently faced with choices even though you may not see them yet. These choices can repair or further break down your identity, taking more parts of your life away with it. For example, choices that result in you lying in bed all day or getting up to seize the day.
You may never be the same person after suffering a huge loss but you can rebuild your identity to a point of restoration. Like constructing new walls that restore old ruins – it may not be the same but it can defiantly be brought back from frailty, to be relished once again.
Remember, it is OK to think about yourself – you need to. To regain control you need to move forward step by step and you must start with reclaiming your identity. Each and every day you work to feel like yourself again is a day contributed to moving forward and filling in the missing parts of your life.
Life is constructed on expectation and emotion, after all it’s what motivates us to act on our goals. So is the reliance/notion of premonition so ludicrous? After all, we do often turn to the prospects of our future to pull ourselves out of despair.
Recently I was caught off-guard by a wave of insecurity and uncertainty, it washed over me suddenly and I felt like I was drowning in a sea of desolation. I couldn’t avoid it, but I pulled myself out of it. To save myself from drowning I triggered some sort of ‘premonition’ to counteract my present uncertainty. What I saw allowed me to navigate my way back to shore, back to my identity. I knew that if I continued to float around surrounded by these emotions, I would drift further away from myself and my aspirations– I needed a reminder of who I was (the past) to rediscover what I wanted (the future).
Now I’m not talking about a supernatural power gifted by Gods. I’m referring to an ability that’s contained within all of us, a way we can construct an image of our future to save ourselves from the negative emotions that we suffer from today. We all have the opportunity to foresee our future, but we must first delve into the past.
Now imagine that I’m literally floating in a cold ocean of despair, the longer I bask in uncertainty the further I drift away from who I am and what I want from life. The longer I stay still the less I feel. I become more and more numb to the identity I worked so hard to build. I needed a reminder of who I am, quickly.
Our minds have the power to relive any emotion just by delving into our past. I can literally think of anything from my past and relive the emotions associated with a memory. For others there’s a trigger, a song perhaps, a picture or a smell even, we all have it.
These emotions dictate our future; we construct our future by wanting to feel more of, or in some cases less of what we have felt and experienced in our past. This is how we trigger a “premonition” – we get in touch with our emotions. If we have the ability to feel and relive the past, then we should be able to feel and get a glimpse of our future.
The more you feel from your past the more you understand about your future. I remembered achievements, I remembered positive comments and words of encouragement, I remembered great times in my life that I wanted more of.
The more I remembered the more I re-constructed my future. I used these emotions to re-build the vision of a future I wanted – so clear that it felt like a premonition. Action was almost instantaneous as I awoke to my present, I knew there and then what I needed to do to make that future a certainty.
Turning to certain emotions in our past can highlight our aspirations, and it was by generating this premonition that alerted me to my current actions. One thing we must understand is that we cannot control the past nor the future, we can only manage them by taking control over our present.
Having re-envisioned what I wanted for my future, I was then faced with a choice in my present: to either sink or swim. I could either continue to remain still and sink into the sea of desolation, or swim my way back to my identity and manage the future I envisioned – no waiting around for rescue, no waiting for the current to change, just me and my own spirit with my future in sight.
Ever had that little voice inside your head whisper the truth about the things you really want, but have the perception of risk and expectation silence it? That voice that wants you to explore opportunities and encourage you to take action, is the voice that may just guide you to the life you really want. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense on paper nor to everyone around, but that little voice could very well be your potential talking.
I remember back when life never felt exciting, I would spend more times talking about the things I would change rather than changing them. I often found something to complain about and I’d let a lot of things irritate me.
I would literally have to schedule time to enjoy my life, for instance holidays and moments with friends and family. I remember thinking to myself, “happiness can’t be limited to small increments of time.” I felt like I was failing at life.
Initially I thought money was the answer so I worked harder and made more money. That didn’t work; I was still unfulfilled, I just had nicer things around me. I tried getting into a relationship, but I think companionship back then made it worse, because it placed me onto someone else’s idea of fulfillment because I hadn’t figured out my own. Each attempt at finding happiness and fulfillment through expectation and ideology, that little whisper in my head became more frequent. The more I ignored it the more depressed I got, the more I listened to it the more fear I held on to.
That persistent nag kept insisting that there is something better for me to pursue, that there is something genuine out there for me to connect to. Small everyday frustrations would lead to huge outbursts of anger, quiet moments of contemplation would lead to distraction and procrastination. It became evident that I could no longer ignore that little voice inside my head, the one telling me the truth, because I was no longer feeling nor acting like myself. I was not happy with the life I had built.
When I first quit my “secure job” to move abroad everyone thought I was crazy and at some point even I thought I had lost my mind. I can’t even tell you how much I doubted myself when I had actually made the commitment to change my life. To make a better life for myself and face the truth I was battling was difficult, because overtime I learned to ignore it. When you get good at a indulging a certain behavior, undoing what you’ve learned is a vulnerable process. I’ve since learned to trust my own instincts and have become more confident as a result, because today I’m more open and honest about what I want.
Whatever risk, whatever doubt I had in my mind, listening to that little voice brought to light the stuff I was really unhappy with. Listening to what I really wanted from life has brought me more success and has made my life easy to live. Life feels full and I actually enjoy waking up in the morning, I’ve even been led to a career I’m passionate about, something I thought I’d never discover.
Every challenge I came across taught me more about myself than I have ever knew before, because I was forced to rely on truth. When I gave everything else up that’s all I had left. I built confidence and self-belief from the ground up I feel and I know why it’s a journey people must take alone. When you liken it to running a race, it’s the runner that has to jump over the hurdle, no one else.
I’m not suggesting that you need to make drastic choices, but allow yourself to be curious and discover possibilities. Don’t let your spirit give up just because you think there is no hope for something better. Try listening to that little whisper more often and you might be surprised by how much of your life your missing out on.
I remember in psychology learning about trauma and its effect on behaviour and it was always that word I held onto – behaviour.
I remember thinking how certain people around me showed signs of past trauma affecting their behaviour, such as: their lack of self-worth, their struggle to control emotion and their inability to connect with their true identity.
I also remember how people were discussed, as if the trauma was attached to their identity, even my psychology teachers blurred that line between identity and behaviour. Misleading the class to think trauma affects who you are rather than how you behave.
I remember someone in particular, someone in my past that taught me so much more about trauma than any psychology class ever did.
Like many, this person turned to drugs for release, I remember meeting this person at their worst and getting a glimpse of who they are at their best. Probably the most difficult friend I’ve ever had. Not difficult in the sense of dealing with their addiction; it was just difficult trying to meet the person hidden behind the drugs and trauma.
This person really helped me understand inner conflict and the negative impact it has on one’s life. Escape, even though just for a moment was the only peace this person could experience. To escape from trauma and becoming numb to their identity.
I learned a lot about how trauma works through my interactions with this person.
Please note, anything I mention in this post is my own perspective.
I started seeing trauma differently after this person opened up to me about their experiences.
Traditionally I feel people still think that trauma shapes a person’s identity, as if the trauma is well and truly embedded into who they are. However, I couldn’t help hold onto the word ‘behaviour’, and through my interactions with this person, the distinction between behaviour and identity became much clearer.
This person was often led to believe that change and breaking through trauma was near impossible, because they too were understanding that it was their identity the trauma had affected; believing something was wrong with them and not understanding that the person they actually are is just hidden.
This person believed that they are who they are and that’s it. I felt their Shrink decided to focus more on the trauma itself rather than spending equal amounts of time nurturing and speaking to the true identity hidden beneath it.
The more I interacted with this person, I began to understand that trauma is like a dark cloud over their identity, the drugs acted like an umbrella protecting them from the downpour of emotion.
When I saw this person engage in their passions and tap into their talent (which is how we crossed paths), and work towards things that made them feel alive, I saw no sign that this person was suffering from trauma. I saw this person for who they actually are without the negative effects of their past.
It was after meeting this person I discovered that very wide line between identity and behaviour. I understood that trauma does not reflect someone’s identity. Unfortunately my friend was led to believe that the trauma they had faced was a part of who they were and that there is no escaping it. Yes it will be forever a part of their life but by no means should anyone be led to believe it’s a part of who they are.
One day I hope to obtain the necessary skills and funds to investigate this further, get the education and conduct professional research of my own. For now, I hope my message will help others dealing with trauma, or have people in their lives suffering from it, understand that underneath the trauma is an individual trying to clear away the clouds and roam free to pursue life as the person they truly are.
I never felt I’d post this topic because it’s a part of life that I had never really understood before. Sometimes during moments of happiness, when I’m feeling most content, surrounded by loved ones or in moments of reflection, I experience some sort of emotional conflict. Even during some previous relationships, I’d encounter a feeling that my mind is drifting into an unknown alternate reality, where I’m overcome by a feeling of loss; sometimes hit with a slight panic or sadness, even though nothing has occurred to reason the emotion. It’s like I’ve disconnected with my present and it’s very bizarre.
I spoke to an old co-worker of mine, from my life in New York because I always remembered how spiritual she was and how obsessed she was with astrology. So to gain insight I sought out her advice. She suggested that maybe it was my past life trying to remind me of something, or perhaps a glimpse into an event that may occur in my future. Although an interesting perspective, it wasn’t a reason I felt comfortable with. Call me a skeptic, but I had to come up with a more rational explanation. However, she wasn’t totally wrong, her insight triggered my understanding; by looking into my past and confronting my hesitations about the future.
When I meet key moments in my life, when life seems to be working out and when things are simply right, I sometimes can’t help feel that I’m about to lose something. That somewhere down the line some sort of loss may occur: losing a loved one, losing money, losing control or even losing my passion for my work. There were many scenarios in which I could potentially encounter loss so my mind would trigger feelings associated with it, even though no loss had taken place. Loss was perceived, it was like I was anticipating some sort of universal balance as a result of things working out in my life.
I reckon this occurred because of one of the following two reasons:
1. Preparing for Contingencies (known): Every direction I take in my life I have carefully calculated, by doing my research and planning for any contingencies, things I know that could go wrong. I can’t help it, I’m a marketer so it sort of happens innately. So experiencing emotions in anticipation for a loss became a coping mechanism. So if loss was to occur, I’d be prepared, I‘d be ready to handle it, because I was taking care of it emotionally, ahead of time.
2. Waiting for Failure (unknown): All of us have jumped hurdles in life, minor or major, every person knows that the road to success isn’t a direct route; we hit dead ends, wrong turns and encounter forks along the way. My feelings of loss stemmed from my past experiences, causing the doubt and disbelief in my present and an uncertainty for my future. Not knowing all the details of what could occur made me look into my past losses and we all know that a trip down memory lane can trigger an array of emotions we can’t seem to understand today.
What I had to do was retrain my mind to think in the present. A “what will be, will be” sort of attitude. I may be able to construct and direct my life but there are definitely elements beyond my control. I had to be okay with that and learn the importance of accepting the moment. I continue to remind myself like many others, that life has its funny way of fu***** us around from time to time. Therefore I shouldn’t live my life failing to appreciate the present, because I’m idly waiting for loss to occur. It’s a waste of energy leading to a breakdown of my identity.
The funny thing I noticed was, only when we suffer loss do we generally motivate the spirit to “live in the moment,” why wait for loss to occur when we can make that pledge now and “seize the day.” I decided to beat loss at its game and continually remind myself to be present and to look forward to the positive outcomes of my future. A failure to be present today makes for a loss of presence in the future. Sometimes, as we work forward to the life we design, we charge so fast that we make ruins of the memories we create. We have to stop and capture every moment as it happens, rather than letting the fragments of doubt spoil our chances to live.
Depression is an ultimate loss of identity. All of us find ourselves in a state of depression now and again, its natural; often life has its funny way of knocking us down. When we’re struck, negative thoughts tend to consume us, doubts encourage a cycle of uncertainties that we cannot seem to work through. Regardless of the knock back, the recurring theme is often a repetition of destructive thought. When depressed, we often feel we are trapped in a mosh pit, boxed in and surrounded by disbelief’s that knock us from one bad emotion to another; we feel there is no escaping it, which is where we begin to lose our identities. I’ve learned that you have to retrain your mind. Feelings of depression begin to reverse positivity and halt the motivations that guide you forward – it reverses your ambition. Your identity is shaped by what you want out of life, depression makes you lose sight of that.
Start with educating yourself, most people when feeling depressed will know their depressed, like knowing when you’re lost. You’re not going crazy; you’ve simply hidden from yourself to cope with life’s curve-ball. Start by understanding that you’re heading in the wrong direction; understand the damage you’re causing yourself. In this current state where do you see your life going? I’m sure the result isn’t your dream. Think long and hard about the trap you’re in that’s keeping you from moving on. You’re like a mouse stuck in a maze; you need to find your way to the cheese. However, the cheese isn’t a metaphor for the happy life you crave; it represents the comfort in an awakening moment that there is no further need to struggle.
Begin to externalize thought. Thinking externally helps you to work through and organize your thoughts when you’re in a depressed state. Find a way to regurgitate your thoughts, write them down, paint them, record them, snap them, we have boundless ways to creatively store thought. Reason to externalize your thoughts is so that you can translate your thoughts back to yourself. It’s tough but you’ve let yourself into this state, so you can let yourself out. What caused you to get depressed may have been out of your control but you can control how you deal with it. If these negative thoughts are all you have, then you needed to find your way to externalize them in order to work through them. It allows you to deal with one thought at a time rather than trying to take on your mind all at once.
As you’re pulling negative thoughts out of your mind, you need to find reminders of positive ones. Oddly enough, being stuck in your room not wanting to leave and closing yourself off from the world is probably a good start. Find reminders of what life was, find reminders of your dreams and find reminders of good times. Remembering is a fantastic tool to uplift spirits. Memories are always embedded in your surroundings, if you look hard enough: Clothes, music, books, photos even old receipts – there are so many things that can trigger positive memories and remind you of your identity.
You’ll begin to break from finding comfort in negative thought, as you begin to activate encouraging and engaging positive thought. Reminding yourself of what life was or what life can be will allow you relive. As you relive great moments in your mind, you’ll start to break down the negative walls you feel surrounded by. Glimmers of hope will begin to trickle in. With hope peering in, realizations begin to hit. You’ll realize how lost you are, you realize what you wanted out of life and you’ll find your path. In this realization you begin to want, you’ll want your life back and soon enough your motivations will start filtering in. Use this as an opportunity to source out strength and pull yourself away from the negative behavior that brought you misery.
Depression is just like the sky at night; although it is dark and scary there are glimmers of light. Focus on stars to locate an opportunity. The sky at night represents all that we know and what is yet to be explored and even though it can get overwhelming, you can guide yourself back home, back to your identity.