Thursday, April 2, 2009

Managing Our Emotions: I Lack Courage, Do You?

As I prepared for a very brief but unpredictable meeting recently, one that promised to be awkward, I sensed within my gut a tension, and within my mind a preoccupation with what might come up and what might be won and lost, personally, as a result.

This is a very normal response given the stimuli--a threatening set of circumstances with the potential to knock us off balance for a few hours or the rest of the day or even longer. We all share the same seemingly autonomic response, and it’s based in a primal fear for survival.

Approaching a meeting like this is difficult because not only do we have the activating emotions, but there are the body’s responses to the emotions to consider, for instance, adrenalin.[1] Hence, our behaviour is affected; people will actually see us affected by the stimuli, potentially.

The antidote to this entire situation is to recognise that at times we lack courage, which is one step removed from faith. If we show courage we prove faith.

The right sort of courage in this situation is to take an honest look at the emotions presenting and deal with the primary emotion (the feeling in the gut and the clouded mind) there and then. We can have the awareness that this is going on, and bring the situation before the truth, which is likely to be far less scary.

To be helpfully truthful we must have the capacity to be honest with ourselves.

If we can manage to deal with the emotion logically (now, that’s an oxymoron!) and find ourselves relaxing to a point of being able to smile or even laugh at ourselves in a good way in front of a bathroom mirror, all could be good for that foreboding meeting.

All we have done here is be honest with our emotions, knowing they can have a damaging effect; this takes courage to do because at the time it’s not pleasant, but afterward... I think we know how that sentence ends... afterwards, it’s okay. Things work out well, both for us and the other party. And this is mainly because we’re freer emotionally.

Good courage is always based in good faith. As courage is required and is never faced without fear, so faith when required doesn’t ever present without doubt. Both courage and faith rise up when they’re required.

Honesty, courage and faith: these three virtuous musketeers can assist us (and those we interact with) in any emotional bind. Yet, we all lack these ordinarily.

And this is why we need God and his Presence with us each day, each moment.

There are many scriptural references which can assist us in our fear, for instance, Joshua 1:9 (Msg) says, “Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.” We need to remember this. God never abandons us, only we him. He will give us honesty, courage and faith in good measure any time we ask.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] There is a vast array and varying amount of chemicals dumped into the blood stream from the brain in these circumstances; adrenalin is only one of them, albeit a significant one.

1 comment:

Mark Edwards said...

just what I needed to read. Thanks.