Emotional Maturity: Stop Attending Every Circus You’re Invited to

Most of the time I was the only girl among four brothers. Crying and whining wasn’t really tolerated so I learned to adapt. I don’t know what it is or where it came from but the ability to pack my emotions away became second nature as if I was taking vacations left and right. The older I got the more I realized that it was okay to unpack and be in the moment. Getting in touch with my feelings isn’t a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength.

Being open with myself and my emotions is like a superpower. I don’t solve all my problems but I do acknowledge that they’re there. I’m realizing that acknowledgment of emotions is important for getting through them. Whenever I get angry or overwhelmed or both I go through a series of events internally.

Why am I mad/sad/frustrated?

Why am I feeling the way I’m feeling is always my first question for myself. Growing up I was taught to think then act and adult me is questioning, “am I overthinking everything or being extra sensitive?” No matter if I’m being extra sensitive, my feelings are still valid. Getting to the root of the issue before reacting though results in better resolutions most of the time.

Will I project this emotion?

Being super mad for someone being mean to me, in a public place will demolish my inner peace. It may feel good at the moment but at times my first reaction is the most draining and or damaging and won’t solve anything external or internal.

Will projecting this emotion right away solve the problem or will it just make me feel better?

My mom always tells me, “Don’t feed the animals.”In other words, I don’t have to show up to every conflict I’m invited to and I take heed to that. Sometimes people just want conflict because they want to project their problems onto you. Granted, some situations call for a quick reaction but it’s a rarity. I pick and choose which conflicts to show up to because I protect my peace at all costs. Solving the problem and feeling better right now may seem like the same goal. But sometimes we react to feel better right at the moment but though you feel better you still haven’t solved the problem. Feelings are not facts and winning arguments with feelings is hella temporary. Sometimes to find the most peaceful resolution it’s important to just stew in whatever I’m feeling until I can properly sort it out.

“Not my circus, not my monkey.” – Polish Proverb

What did I learn from this interaction?

By this time I have thought through the issue, the resolution, and I’ve come up with a reaction that I think is both emotionally mature and will bring me and the other person some kind of peace. Sometimes this does not mean that both parties are happy. Most of the time both parties will not be happy but resolving an issue rather I like the outcome or not usually lifts a weight off my shoulder as I don’t have to address it anymore. After the interaction is done I overthink a little bit about what happened. I question why it happened in the first place, what I learned, what I liked or didn’t like about the outcome, and last but most importantly, is it worth the time to keep thinking about it. Usually, thinking about it to the point where it becomes a problem again helps no one. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting to feel better. It’s annoying. My gray hairs may say otherwise, but my thought process has kept me grounded for some time. One of the most valuable things that Woodland Hills did for me was seeing that my middle school self couldn’t deal with her emotions on a mature level and put me in classes to teach me to be a mediator. But who knew the whole time that the most important mediation sessions would be with myself?

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