Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Maintaining Equilibrium

If IQ tests are to be trusted (I have my doubts), I at least have an IQ of 127.  But I am more proud of my EQ, which is 116 (again, if that online EQ test I took is legit).  I am a balanced guy.  LOL.  Anyway, I really think that it is more important for someone to have a strong emotional equilibrium to survive in life than raw intelligence.     

The past days had been an emotional roller coaster ride for me and people around me.  So, I have to remind myself of the principles I live by that helped me maintain my equilibrium.  That’s why I decided to write this.  (And also so that you can pick up some pointers or encouragement). 

Taking deep breathes

I always find taking short deep breathes helpful when dealing with heavy emotional situations.  It does steady your nerves to help you think for the better.

Think logically and practically

There is a danger in becoming more attached to emotion than logic.  Emotion clouds sound judgment.  Thus, in critical evaluation, emotions should be ignored.  Especially in bad situations, since bad situations bring bad emotions.  And in these bad situations that we need our decision-making to be in its most effective.  Therefore, we should be able to train ourselves to discard the emotions that the situation can bring.  Logic and practicality should reign supreme to get us through that bad situation.

If we see the situation through a practical eye, we would easily see that feeling that particular emotion would not help us at all.  Thus, that emotion is illogical.  Example, a friend asked me once, “Are you miserable?”  I replied, “I don't know... But my feelings are irrelevant. Emotions per se can't change reality. Thus, to feel miserable is illogical.

Indeed, what you feel won’t change the situation you’re in.  When you hit rock bottom, how can the feeling of self-pity or depression help you get up?  You might say that what I’m talking about is difficult or impossible because emotions are outcomes of situations.  Indeed they are, but I refuse to let them stay like that.  Again, emotions can’t change the reality you’re in.  What emotions can do, though, is to fuel you to a goal… or hold you back from a goal.   Therefore, if a particular emotion will hinder you instead of driving you to a goal, then it is definitely necessary to remove it.   Again, if you hit rock bottom, how will self-pity and depression help you get up?  Isn’t optimism a better assisting emotion to help your climb back to the top than self-pity?  “Since you’re now in the bottom, then the only way left is up.”  Thus, FORCING yourself to be happy and optimistic will help you recover than sulking in depression.  Laugh to pull yourself together.      

It’s hard to do, I admit.  But, really, the logic of this argument works, right?  Thus we should practice putting logic above emotion even in small things, so that it would be easier to do this method in bigger and more stressful scenarios.  

“Divide your life”… Retreat to other activities and interests…

There is a problem with revolving our whole life around something.  People tend to make school, or a relationship, or a career as the center of their lives, that when this fails or crashes, their lives crash with it.  Because they made THAT as their whole life.

There is a merit if, at the start, you had “divided” your life – or you had realized that your life is actually “divided” – into different aspects.  Then if you fail in one aspect of your life, you would take comfort that you are doing well in the other aspects.  Or if one aspect disappoints you, you can retreat to pour your energy to the other aspects to get rid of the frustration.  By this, at least, you release your frustration by doing something worthwhile or productive in your life.

That’s why it is necessary for someone to have a wide area of interests and plenty of activities to keep him or her active.  Activity is good therapy.   

“Don’t take life too seriously, we’ll all end up dead anyway…”

I encountered that quote from a college professor (one of the best teachers I ever encountered in my schooling life).  Indeed, it doesn’t matter how we lived this life, or what we obtained in this life, we will all end up as bacteria food in the end.   Bottomline: life is short and everything is just temporary.  Therefore, we should get the best out of our lives.  To live life to the fullest.  To be worthwhile and productive.   To seize the moment.  Thus, it’s a waste of life when you feel bad about living. 

See things as they are… be at peace with the facts that can’t be changed…

Again, think logically.  See things as they are.  As the definition (by Wikipedia) of reality goes: “[it] is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be.”   And reality is something you can’t directly change.  There’s no use being bothered with things that you can’t have some sort of control or influence over. 

And also, don’t raise your hopes on what can become.  Rather, just objectively see the situation as it is in the present.  Sounds like the cynical mentality of Thomas Covenant (don’t know him? read the books by Stephen Donaldson) to you?  Well, it does have some sense in it.  The lesser the expectations, the lesser the disappointments.   

Just be at peace with reality.  Be at peace with facts that you can’t change.

And the first (and most important) fact you should be at peace with is…

The Universe does not revolve around you.

In life, you will not get all of what you want.  Things will not always go your way.  Creation is not here to please you.  Murphy’s Law (if something can go wrong, it will) will always apply.  And, yes, life is indeed not fair.       

The sooner you become at peace with this fact, the sooner you’ll feel better and be less prone to disappointment.   As soon as you accept the fact that the universe does not revolve around you, then you will be ready to accept that…

The Universe revolves around God!

Everything is created through Him and for Him.  That everything that happens within Creation is by His sovereign will and for his glory.  And since the Universe revolves around God, then we should definitely put Him in the center of our lives.  It is only right to do so. 

a.) God’s wisdom is perfect.
b.) Whatever God wills is always for good, even if it doesn’t look good through our own eyes (which are limited by time and un-omniscience.  God, however, transcends time and is all-knowing).
c.) Nothing happens by accident because God is always in control and nothing frustrates God’s plan.
d.) Everything He does for His children is for their ultimate good.
If we do believe in all these facts, we can see that God will not disappoint or frustrate those who put their trust, hope, joy, and love in Him (Those, however, who put their full trust, hope, joy, and love on things of this World will surely be disappointed and frustrated, since the World and everything in it are temporary and imperfect).   Then, if so, isn’t this enough to strengthen us emotionally and mentally?    Isn’t this enough to go “Hakuna Matata” with our lives?                

To be able to have a good equilibrium, there must be a strong foundation that would help us avoid getting emotionally off-balanced.  And that foundation is in God and in God alone. 

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