Learning to ride the waves of emotional stability never ends.
I have never been a ‘surfer’ of that kind myself – riding the sea waves and looking for those that have the most thrill and danger, but instead I have a ‘lifeboard’ which has ridden many waves over the decades. I have fallen off my ‘lifeboard’, got back on it, balanced well for a lot of the time, and then caught my foot in traumatic circumstances too. But I’m still learning, and the more I practise and develop my understanding of my own emotional stability, the better I can ride those waves.
We can never anticipate whether our daily lives will be rough, smooth or have a bit of both. What we can do however, is learn to ride those waves with an understanding of our personal emotional stability. It takes time to ‘know’ yourself and how you choose to personally deal and cope with situations, but having the openness to embrace learning about your emotional stability, what you’re good at, and not so good at can take a lifetime. I’m still learning myself.
I hope that by sharing some ideas with you, you too can ride your own ‘lifeboard’ with a little less slipping and falling off, although getting back up and on the board will always make us stronger and give us great lessons to reflect upon. You can use many of these ideas in your teaching too, especially working with colleagues who may at time be struggling with excessive workload, or those students who just can’t cope with exams, tests and assessments. And why should we expect them to cope, as learning isn’t about how great you are at passing exams and sitting the test, but about how you use your knowledge, skills and understanding to shape a happy and healthy life for yourself.
Here are some of my ‘lifeboard’ wave tips you may want to consider.
Lesson 1. Try….not to take other people’s behaviour personally
You know, we are all the same and yet we are all different. We all have the need to be accepted and it’s difficult at times to connect with everyone, well, who would want to anyway? It’s hard to accept that sometimes we just don’t connect with people that we would like to connect with and that lack of acceptance can be difficult to comprehend or deal with. But, the truth is, they way others behave is not a reflection on, or about you. People are generally ‘worrying’ creatures. It may be that they are so wrapped up in their own emotional difficulties that they cannot see passed that particular moment and your acceptance is not even part of their agenda. It’s about surviving the moment or moments, and some moments can be longer than others! This can come across as being self-centred or egotistical, but it’s not your flaw or problem, it just means that they can only deal with the traumas of ‘here and now’. Remember, this lack of acceptance does not make you unloveable or unworthy, it just means that some people cannot look beyond what is happening in ‘their’ world and so become wrapped up in their own turmoil and are riding, trying, to survive a massive life wave. Maybe they’ve never ridden an emotional wave before, so it all become a matter of survival and not falling of the ‘lifeboard’.
Tip: The way others behave is NOT a reflection of you.
Lesson 2. An Oscar winning of performance?
Drama, arguments, turmoil, this and that, he said this and she said that…blah, blah, blah. You do not need to stick around and be part of any drama. Being strong and emotionally stable does not mean that your armour in this scene is not dented. You may want to see yourself as an ‘extra’ in these situations rather than taking on a leading role of peacemaker and negotiator. If you encounter a bad situation and others are prepared to throw insults and their personal anger in your direction, then get ready to mount your ‘lifeboard’ and push with your dignified foot, gently easing yourself away with personal integrity and your head held high. Do not embroil yourself in potential stormy waves as you may get pushed off your ‘lifeboard’. Emotionally stable people can ride these waves with dignity.
Tip: It might be better to be an ‘extra’ rather than a warrior.
Lesson 3. Meet Mr or Mrs Rational (being politically correct!)
Reactions. Some are quick, some are thoughtful and some are just plain hurtful. Have you ever reacted to something quickly in the heat of the moment and then thought that maybe being a bit more mindful of your response would have been a better plan?…I know I have in the past! Well, it’s time to meet my trusted ‘lifeboard’ friend ‘Mr.Rational’. I keep this one for special occasions as it’s often in a safe place, for those times when I am disconnected from him and need him to come to my rescue. Sometimes, as human beings we are not aware of our irrational selves. Being without Mr.Rational may only last a few seconds. You know, that time when it all kicks off, then your intuition kicks in and you look around for Mr.Rational, because you’ve got your irrational head on! He’s often hiding, at the back of your mind, at times like this. We all have a Mrs.Irrational too, but if you just take a moment, literally, just before you react in the heat of that moment, then all might be saved and you know you will have handled a situation with integrity, poise and personal admiration for your actions.
Tip: Check in with Mr & Mrs Rational & Irrational now and again!
Now, as we are encountering stormy weather at the moment and many of you will be wanting to celebrate the new year, let’s take some time to reflect on the first three ‘Lifeboard’ lessons. I do hope you will join me next time for the next three instalments of ‘Learning to ride the waves’ – an epic adventure in the world of emotional stability.
Happy New Year everyone.
Over and out for now.