Written with: EMPATHY
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
~ Ephesians 6:12 NLT
When dealing with life and all that comes with it, we are often challenged with some unpleasant emotions. The kinds that make us want to curl up in bed and cut ourselves off from the world. The last thing on our minds is confronting and identifying why we feel the way we feel. It is much easier to pretend the problem doesn’t exist and give in to the vices that make us feel better.
Unfortunately, the problem will not go away by using the denial approach. Yes, days may pass when it seems as if the pain or issue has subsided, but it is only a matter of time before it resurfaces. And then the cycle starts all over again. This is a huge epidemic that gets in the way of our joy and relationship with others and God. To help us confront our dilemma, We have outlined some methods we can all use to help name our struggles. Because we all know, the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem.
~Our Self-Discovery Journey~
Deciphering why we are emotionally distraught can be a complex process. It takes a lot of deep thought and being honest with ourselves. It may even feel uncomfortable, but at the end of the process, we will have something tangible we can completely identify with. And that in itself is worth it. But let’s not think of it as a daunting task. Rather, let us see it as an exciting time to learn about ourselves and grow to the position we want to be at.
For this self-discovery journey, you will need a journal, a pen, the internet, and an open mind.
~Let's Get Started~
Stop #1: Write down the emotion(s) you are feeling.
For those of us who journal, this will be easy. If you are not used to this exercise, grab a pen, your journal and just begin writing. Write down any and every thought that comes to mind. This will allow your thoughts to run free without judgment. It puts what you are thinking on paper where they can be examined at a later date. It also provides immediate relief from all the built-up stress. But most importantly, it is what starts the identifying process.
Stop #2: Write down the situation(s) in which you feel this type of emotion.
In your journal, write down past, present, and potential future circumstances that can stir these types of emotions. Be as specific as you can. This is the key to identifying the root of your pain. We need to know our triggers. It helps us to tie the emotion to various scenarios. And then we can begin to link everything together.
Stop #3: Question why you feel this emotion.
Questions bring forth answers. Examine your emotions and situations and ask questions such as “Why do I get anxious when I talk to my mother?” or “Why does my mood change in the evenings?” You can create a short or long list. Don’t limit yourself. The more data you have to go on, the more definitive your answers will be.
Stop #4: Your analysis.
Attempt to answer your questions. If you cannot do so on your own, Google them and see if the answers there resonate with you. Write down the topics for a more thorough research later.
Stop #5: Research your areas of concern.
This research will help you solidify what you have discovered so far. Read up on what you discovered in your analysis. Take notes on what speaks to your heart and what you can identify with. You might want to grab some Kleenex because tears may flow. You may feel overwhelmed and/or overjoyed at the sheer knowledge that you are not alone.
Stop #6: Giving it a name.
First, congratulate yourself for getting to this step. I know it was not easy, and you invested a lot of time, energy, and thought-process trying to identify what’s been going on with you. You owned your emotions and made great strides to position yourself to move past them. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!
If you’ve done a detailed enough research, this part should be easy. Of the articles or blogs you’ve read, pick the condition that without a shadow of a doubt states what you are wrestling with. This, our friend, is your struggle. You can now say it loud and proud because you own it! It’s yours and its ready to be overcome.
~Beyond the Struggle~
Feeling adventurous? Now that you have the facts about your struggle, no need to stop there. Below are some ways to work towards a solution.
- Prayer – Now that you know what you are struggling with, you can go to God with it.
- Counseling – Talk with a counselor about your struggles so he/she can help you with a plan to overcome it
- More internet study on the issue and resolution – Gain more insight.
- Self-help books – So many books are out there to help with your struggle and ways to overcome.
- Class/Workshop – If you are more hands-on, this option would be better for you.
- Forums – Learn what others have done to rid themselves of the same struggle.
Working through these steps will get you from the feeling and situation, “Why do I allow my ex to change my mood or thoughts when we talk?” to the struggle, “Oh, I’m dealing with a controlling/manipulative person” to the solution, “I need to learn about boundaries.”
Our hope is that you have found this journey to be not only reflective but actionable and obtainable. We want you free. Naming your struggle is an important step to that freedom.
Comment below on some of the ways you’ve overcome. It will help others with their pursuit.