Today, I want to talk about emotions and how sometimes when we have hard emotions we can react in a way, that after some reflection, we may not be so proud of. I want to talk about how those emotions arise, why they show up, and why we react so emotionally. I also want to talk about how you can use this knowledge to make yourself a priority and practice self-care with purpose. It is all about handling your emotions and how to ground yourself in emotional integrity.
Firstly, what does emotional integrity even mean?
It means that when you are reacting to the world around you, you are doing it in a way that lines up with who you are and who you want to be.
The tricky part about this is that in times of stress, of being threatened, of feeling rejected, or when you are feeling resentful or unsafe and overwhelmed (which is all too clear after the year and a half we just had) is that you go back to your old coping skills from childhood or youth.
Why do you go back to old coping skills from childhood?
Because your brain and your mind go back to a default place. It remembers what it was like to survive something that felt really threatening. And when you feel threatened your body holds a lot of pressure and stress. Being in this prolonged stress response can cause you to react emotionally. In a way that takes you back to a younger traumatized version of who you are. And reliving this younger version of yourself can cause your emotional reactions to be juvenile. It feels like you have stepped out of your adult role and jumped into this other role.
This is how you create those reactions that you are not really proud of when you look back and reflect on them. But, by having more emotional integrity you can get grounded in the moment and react in a way that is really in tune with who you are and who you want to be.
How can you have more emotional integrity?
You need to remind yourself in those stressful times that although you are adapting to this stressful situation, it’s still really stressful. The stress is not going away, you have just increased your threshold and your ability to manage the situation that you are in.
Self-care is important, we say this a lot. But it is true. Self-care needs to be very tactical, purposeful, and you need to be really focused on it.
One way to regain some emotional integrity and commit to self-care that is purposeful is to journal. Here are a few things you can ask yourself:
- Why am I reacting in this manner?
- What does this remind me of?
- Where’s my emotional integrity?
- What do I need to do for self-care?
By journaling, you are finding the emotional slippage and regrounding yourself in emotional integrity. You are uncovering your triggers and discovering how it is different in this situation that you are currently living in versus your situation a few years ago. And, this work might be something you have probably done a lot of work on in the past, in your healing journey. But you’ll want to go back and do some different work, do it again in order to gain new insight into your current situation.