I’ve always found that my patience seems to be most tested when my energy is at its lowest. It’s no surprise that we become irritable and difficult when we’re tired. This may be a slightly jumbled post, as I have a lot of thoughts that I’m trying to sift through today.
The problem is, I’m always tired. I’m always low on energy or close to it. The times when we most want to be angry and lash out are amongst the greatest challenges in life.
When we’re happy, well-rested, well-fed and at ease, we can weather almost any difficulty in life. Yet, there is no challenge there.
There is no achievement in remaining cool when it’s easy. It’s about staying calm when life is throwing everything it has against you.
Whatever it is that wears us down, the only way to truly keep hold of our faculties, to keep our own desired integrity, is to be ever-vigilant of our own feelings.
It’s a strange thing to talk about, for some. There are many and varied societal expectations on emotional expression. In some cultures its quite taboo, whereas in others its very open.
Here in Australia it can be mixed. It is worth understanding that everyone has their own unique manner of expression, but there are many amongst us who refuse to engage with themselves at an emotional level.
I’m not saying that people should always and forever pour out their deepest feelings to the world, but there must be a balance between that and being closed off. Before one can even express themselves to the world, they must be honest.
I’ve had a lot of experience with this. It starts with the decision – the choice – to be honest with myself. I need let myself feel whatever I feel, and understand that there’s nothing wrong with emotions.
It took me a long time to not feel guilty whenever I feel anger, or resentment, or jealousy, or any number of negatively-connoted emotions. There is no pride in refusing to allow myself to feel something, in stifling any kind of emotional response.
In anger, for example, it is better that I experience that anger so that I may understand the source of it. If I do not want to be angry, or to hurt others because of it, I must deal with its source before I can hope to beat it. Stifling anger itself is an unhealthy form of avoidance.
Recently I’ve attempted to approach most circumstances in life with equanimity. It is a key part of the philosophy of life that I pursue.
This kind of attitude of calmness and perseverance is not to be confused with an emotional disconnection of any kind. It is about dealing with difficulties by responding to them thoughtfully instead of impulsively.
When something bad happens, rather than reacting immediately, it’s better to ask “how could this have been worse?” or perhaps even “does this really matter?”
Things rarely seem so bad when you look at them in a different light, from a different perspective. The end of equanimity is to allow the bad perceptions we have of things wash over us, and thus deal with anger and negativity without letting it consume us. It ends if we let such negative perceptions get the better of us.