“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor Frankl
We can either go or grow through life. If we choose to just go through life, we continue to repeat the same thoughts and behaviors that have never really worked for us or our relationships.
If we choose to grow, we examine our thoughts, our emotions, and our behaviors through a lens of curiosity. We drop the judgment and defensiveness so that we can embrace what is and figure out what we need to change.
It is extremely difficult to be honest with ourselves, but without the courage to do just that, change cannot happen.
Rather than allowing ourselves to feel difficult emotions, we often escape them through behaviors that bring us shame and regret. Over eating, spending too much money, consuming too much alcohol, staying so busy that emotions that we need to feel to heal get suppressed, spending too much time on the internet or social media, and exploding on another person are all examples.
If we can learn and practice tools to tolerate difficult emotions, they will eventually pass and we will live happier healthier lives.
Ride the wave is a tool from my book, The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life. Even if you have read the book, it may be helpful to review the tool.
My dad once told me, “Kristin, remember what you already know.” How true is that? We forget so easily what we are not practicing.
Ride the wave.
Emotions are temporary. They do pass. Sometimes we just need to be able to ride the wave and resist the urge to do anything at all. When an upsetting event occurs, if we can just stop for a moment, identify the emotions that we are feeling, accept them without judging them, and remind ourselves that they will pass, we may find the courage to endure them for a little while.
Learning to ride the wave of emotion is a skill that can be learned. Accepting and tolerating the emotion without jumping to a quick fix must be practiced and practiced to be mastered. When you are experiencing difficult feelings, talk to yourself in an accepting and nonjudgmental way. Positive self-talk may go something like this: Okay, I am feeling _______. And that is okay. I am going to accept that I am feeling this way and know that in ten minutes, an hour, tomorrow, I may not feel this way. If I can hold on and endure these feelings without trying to escape them by doing something unhealthy, I know that I will make it through and not regret my behaviors. I can make a decision about what to do as soon as I calm down.
In that small space between the event and your response, remind yourself to ride the wave, and you will, without a doubt, make a wiser decision about how to handle the situation. Remember, emotions make us human. We can experience our feelings and make rational decisions all at the same time. We just need to make sure that we are in a wise state of mind before we respond. Ride the wave of emotion without reacting at all. It definitely is a wave worth riding.
If you would like to dive deeper and learn other tools, check out The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life on Amazon.
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