Emotionally speaking, of course. If I could understand my emotions one hundred percent of the time, something like manna from the heavens would spring from my forehead, and the tears of joy that accompany complete acceptance would nuture the next generation of seedlings. I truly believe that. Hi, I’m Paul and I’m an alcoholic.
Rumination: My emotions are quicksand.
When an escape artist goes underwater all bound up, he knows one thing going in: don’t panic. Recognize that natural reaction and then fight it like the devil. When I’m in a mental tailspin, I always and immediately over-correct. This affliction in no way is unique. I believe every human on the planet at times chooses fight over flight or vice-versa, then instantly regrets it. Thankfully, I’m not an escape artist. And I’m not underwater. Not literally.
Which means there’s no time factor. There’s no need for instant action. Nothing’s on fire, except maybe my brain. So instead of blurting out the first defensive, cutting, angry, selfish thing that lets everyone know that I’m right and they’re wrong, I could keep quiet for about five seconds and take a breath. Not an arrogant, condescending, sigh-laden breath, complete with eye roll, but a head-clearing quick sweep of the old thinking. Then, say something useful and constructive. Let the rope slip off my shoulder.
I absolutely love the fact that I think 5 seconds is plenty of time to center myself, because that’s just crazy talk. I’m knot on the beam. But what I can be is willing to say and do the next right thing until the dust I’m kicking up settles.