Entering into the world of academia again, although enlightening, is quite time-consuming. Thus, I find myself overdue to write my blog. Beyond my frantic search for time, being a student has reminded me once again just how costly education can be (I am thinking about the numerous books each student must buy… After all, we are told not to share.) Whether spending in euros or dollars, the process of unnecessarily parting with my money leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This is not dissimilar to how I experience unnecessarily parting with my emotions.
In previous blog postings, I have discussed repeatedly how emotions are triggered or caused by our thoughts or perceptions. Thus, if one is able to have awareness of one’s thoughts and to reframe one’s thinking successfully, then ideally one should be able to adequately manage one’s emotions. Right?
Well… I believe even the best amongst us might not be able to pull of the feat of always successfully managing his or her emotions. In effect, at some point in our lives, we will all struggle with being emotional spendthrifts.
Now, this is when you might say, D., what do you mean by ’emotional spendthrift’? To put it bluntly, we waste our time (read here: ’emotions’ and ‘energy’) on people and/or situations that are nonbeneficial to our self-growth. And why exactly do we do this (and you know that you do…)?
Well, the reasons are many. Oftentimes, they stem from repetition compulsion, i.e. the unconscious act of reenacting past traumatic experiences, perhaps with an unconscious hope of a different outcome. (Please note: the word ‘trauma’ is being used in with a more generalized denotation.)
Take a look at your past (and perhaps present) romantic relationships. Are there any similarities in the personality types of the people you have chosen to share your intimate time? Is there something familiar about the way in which each of your significant others have treated you? Do you ever find yourself wondering at the end of a relationship, “Why in god’s name do I keep doing this (i.e. date the same type of person, get into the same kind situation, etc.) to myself?
Emotional Capital: Keep on keeping on…
It took many years for me to understand my behavioural and thinking patterns (a.k.a. repetition compulsion) in relation to others as well as to myself (and I continue to learn…. Trust me!) 😉
Throughout the years, however, I began to recognize and acknowledge that I spent a great deal of my time in emotionally futile conversations and situations to my own detriment, physically and emotionally. In essence, I was allowing others to lure me into conversations and/or situations that ‘took away from’ rather than ‘gave to me.’ I had a just keep on keeping on mentally towards myself and the person in my life.
I believed that if I continued to endure, then I might be able to change (read: danger! warning! achtung!…) the situation, person, and/or myself for the person. I was unwilling to accept the reality of my relationships, and thought if I gave more of myself, then all would be well… And so I gave and gave and gave. It took me a long time realize that I did not examine whether or not the other person was giving too, or rather whether or not I understood myself to be receiving.
So, you might ask at this point, What did you give, D? Well, I thought I would make a list and even ask for suggestions for what other people have given in their relationships that has left them feeling/having/being a lot “less than,” rather than basking in the wonders of feeling/having/being “more than.”
Ten Things That I Gave That Increased My Emotional Deficit:
- Physical Space
- Physical Self
Ask yourself, what have you ‘had’ (chosen) to give (up) in the name of a relationship? What are you giving (up) right now?
It is what it is….
I may have mentioned this before in a past posting, but when I first arrived at McLean, I made a sign for my office (a.k.a. the expressive therapy studio). The sign wasn’t an artistic masterpiece, it was fairly simple and on it was the sentence, “It is what it is…” In general, I believe this sentence summarizes well how to look at and to accept reality. It’s basically that old idiom “There is no use in crying over spilled milk,” but in plain speech.
Do I regret having given the ten things listed above? No. The reality is that in any relationship one has to learn how to strike a balance with the other person. It may mean giving more of yourself at times, or for the other person to give more. And the fact is having given so very much of myself (perhaps to an extreme), I had to learn how to achieve a balance-I am glad to say that I am solid path to do so and I am enjoying balancing my emotional checkbook. Especially, when I realize that there is a surplus of positive emotional experiences. 😉
What I am writing about is when you are the only one who is giving and you know it or sense it. It can also be about when both people are giving, but neither gives what the other person needs or what the relationship needs.
Like all creatures, human beings are given an enormous amount information through their bodily experience. For example, if your skin becomes too hot, your brain understands to send the appropriate signal to get the body to move away from the source of the heat.
Finally, information can also be gathered from the body in emotional situations. For example, when you feel constantly and inexplicably tired (or get headache, or some other suspiciously psychosomatic ailment ;)), when dealing (e.g. having to talk, confront, spend time, etc.) with your relationship(s). Your body allows you to know what ‘it’ (the situation/ the reality) is for you. Your body tells you simply if the situation that you are in is either…
GOOD or BAD
After that the issue is simply one of choice.
How wisely will you spend your emotions?
To whom will you give them?
How will ‘it’ (the situation, etc.) benefit you?
To what end?
Well, I leave you to it here… but a small gift of Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone.” –Best of regards, D.
“…Oh, Well hold up
I ain’t no cheap thrill
Cause Miss Badu is always comin’ for real
And you know the deal
Everytime we go somewhere
I gotta reach down in my purse
To pay your way and your homeboys way
And sometimes your cousin’s way
They don’t never have to pay
Don’t have no cars
Hang around in bars
Try to hang around with stars
I’m gon’ tell you the truth
Show and prove
or get the boot…”
( Lyrics from “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu, taken from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/erykahbadu/tyrone.html)
Next Time: Men… and other thoughts.
Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue. You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: email@example.com. She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr