“Expanding the space between emotion and impulse action.”
I enjoy listening to and helping loved ones find clarity when they’re going through rough times with partners, families, jobs or whatever. In the same way, I feel blessed to have so many amazing people around me who are there when I need them. Asking for help has never been a hurdle for me and I make sure those I love know they can reach out and do the same but is there such a thing as too much help?
The fine line - asking for help vs emotional freeloading.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I got into an argument and I was thinking this is the end. I went into full panic mode and didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m a sensitive person who often runs away with her emotions. I’m the brightest star in the sky when these emotions are positive, full of love and light! But when it’s thrown off balance, the earth shatters with drama. I impulsively ran to the phone, seeking comfort. I rang three of my closest confidants to no avail. No one picked up. They had company, they were out having a good time, or they were just busy with their own lives. There I was, on the floor, full of tears, and no one to help me with my problem. That’s when it hit me. MY PROBLEM!
I’m so glad no one picked up because it forced me to sit in my shit instead of unloading it onto someone else. Once I realized I was going to have to deal with this myself, awareness began to creep in. I observed my behavioral patterns for what they were. Have I always been this quick on the trigger? Do I always cry this much? I’ve gotten so accustomed to reaching out and asking for help when I am in an emotional jam that I don’t take the time to work it out my own. Was I really reaching out for help or was I just an energetic freeloader?
That night, I made a list of steps to help me expand the space between thought/emotion and impulse action. This ‘space’ is actually something I’m learning to cultivate in my daily yoga practice. We have 10 senses, orIndriyas. They are made up of 5 importers and 5 exporters, Jnanendriyas and Karmendriyas. Creating space between the two is what is needed to reach your center or Atman state. From there you can make conscious decisions from your Buddhi, or unclouded heart. You can read more about the Indriyas here.
Awareness is the key that unlocks positive steps towards changing behavior. That’s the beauty of the human mind, it can evolve.
Put the phone down.
I tossed the phone to the side and decided to consult with myself. If I really wanted to be the kind of person to make conscious choices, I needed to check in and give the answers I sought. I took a deep breath and calmed myself down. I remembered who I was and who I wasn’t.
Write or type it all down.
Writing it down, just as I would text it to a friend, gave my mind the outlet it needed based on conscious choice. This way, I had a chance to say what I needed to and it gave me time to figure it out.
I typed, and typed, and typed like a mad woman!
It’s therapeutic. While you’re fingers are keying away at the pad, you’re releasing energy. I wrote whatever came to mind, just a constant stream of consciousness.
Read it back to yourself.
Once you get passed the fact that you’re a little bit insane, you can start to do the work. I read back all that I had written to get a better understanding of what was in my head. It’s like feeling a pimple on your face but you don’t really know what you’re dealing with until you go to the bathroom and look. I asked myself questions as I read. Most of the time, we answer our own questions when we take the time to ask.
Meditation is a good idea.
I meditated to bring my heart rate down and steady my breathing. I have slipped into a trance and experienced deep journeying during these times. Our bodies know how to enter into that space but we keep it distracted and busy. When we’re mentally, physically, or emotionally exhausted, the mind is in perfect position to let go of all attachments and become what it is; pure energy. However, there are other times I’ll admit, meditation is difficult to achieve because part of me is still attached to feeling in control and finding the answer quickly.
Patience is the ultimate lesson.
Sometimes it’s not about finding the answer but finding the patience. Answers are not always going to come. The practice lies in understanding where you are, learning how to breathe, and be in it. I knew I as experiencing this for a reason. All I had to do was relax and give it the time it needed to unfold. The illusion of control is tough to break but we are much more free once we realize it doesn’t really exist.
Ask for help when you need it.
In the end, everything was fine and I was able to get through it on my own. I didn’t need to ruin someone’s night or interrupt their life to help me deal with my issues. By the time someone called me back, the problem was solved and we could just go back to enjoying our friendship.
Don’t get me wrong, asking for help is an amazing gift. Most people can’t put their pride away long enough to admit they need help. However, there is the other side of the coin. Everyone has their own life with their own mountains to climb. People can support you but they can’t hold your hand as you climb yours. Be your number one support system, check in with yourself and ask for help when you need it.