I often find myself in a cycle of self-judgment because of my lack of emotional constancy.
Someone once told me that emotional constancy was something to strive towards, and without truly understanding what it was or why it was valuable to me, I let it make me feel ashamed of the intuitive way I respond to things.
I now have a deeper understanding of what emotional constancy or stability is and understand that my expansive emotions are not a weakness but a strength that I can harness for good, I like to call them my superpower. But with great power comes great responsibility, and so I take it upon myself to work on the ways I allow my emotions to be incorporated into my daily life.
We all work so hard and want to do better for our families, for our communities and for our world. But often that drive, and passion leads to intense and rapid burn out. You can see it everywhere, in the corporate world with “quiet quitting” and in education with the current deficit of skilled teachers available to populate our classrooms. We often put ourselves, and our needs at the bottom of our to do list, when we should be prioritizing our emotional stability and rest. (More on rest specifically in a later article)
Western culture links productivity to our worth and fulfilment, which leads many of us to an unsustainable work lifestyle. But what if you started from a place of emotional stability leading to contentment rather than allowing instability to flourish in the week of urgent productivity?
When I saw this list, I felt the need to share and extrapolate on it for our community.
1. Unsubscribe from urgency culture
Take a breath and offer some space before automatically responding when you are called upon. We are so interconnected with technology literally at our fingertips, that when a text, email or other crisis appears, the instinct is to fix and solve as quickly as possible.
Take a minute to check in with your own well-being first. Are you emotionally and intellectually in a place to respond? If the answer is no, honor that you need more space before a reasonable response can be offered. You are not ignoring. In fact, your response will probably generate a more authentic and thoughtful solution when approached from a place of emotional constancy.
2. Don’t make assumptions
Because of our human ability for imagination, we find ourselves to be thrilling storytellers. But often the stories we tell ourselves are not always true.
In Buddhism there is a term, prapañca, which refers to the illusionary, repetitive and even obsessive mental proliferation that takes place in our minds. Prapañca can stem from many things but is often derived from deep anxiety and fear of the unknown.
“Your boss asks you to come by for a chat. Your brain starts swimming. Did I miss a deadline? A meeting? Did I say something offensive? Am I going to get fired? I’m not good enough for this job anyway. I’m definitely going to have to move back in with my parents!”
Instead of spinning tall tales in your head, begin from a place of curiosity. If you are wondering why someone did something, ask. If you were wondering why something happened, seek answers.
3. Speak your needs
We all walk around with personal expectations of ourselves, as well as expectations of those people around us. Whether in your work life or personal life, we mustn’t expect those around us to be psychic. People cannot support us fully without understanding our needs, and they can’t understand our needs until we tell them.
4. Find ways to give back
5. Get comfortable saying no
Set up clear and unmistakable boundaries. Someone dear to me once told me to find “wild freedom within firm boundaries.” It was so contradictory to my understanding of boundaries previously. How could I find freedom within them? But in learning how to respectfully uphold my boundaries, I found the space to really let loose when it came to things I value.
Find strength to say no to the things that deplete you, leave you feeling uninspired or divert your energy away from your true priorities. Boundaries protect you and allow you to fill yourself up in safety.
6. Spend time in nature
Go outside, put your feet on the earth, feel the sun on your skin, wonder at the beauty of nature, let exploration take over. Being outside and grounded allows your nervous system to completely reset. It’s even more powerful if you go without your phone.
Allowing your personal constitution to unwind, release and relax, will allow for more of that desired productivity during work time. You must fill your own cup, and doing so is especially beneficial when outside in honor of the earth.
7. Learn to regulate your emotions
I am reactive, I feel big feelings and often get all the way to a 10 before realizing I’ve even started. Work on finding ways to pause and conscientiously choose how to respond, rather than allowing your fight, flight or freeze to react for you.
Taking that pause gives you a choice: the choice to respond in a certain way, at a certain time, and with a certain intention.
8. Dedicate time each week doing something you love
Here at the Creative Revolution we have a deep appreciation for taking time to imagine, create, and innovate.
It is vital to our survival as humans to allow for unstructured time to play, to be, to explore, and to work on projects or activities that lift us up. You must take time to work without a connection to your value as a cog in the system.
You don’t need to have an end goal, you just need to have time to enjoy the journey.