Drag yourself out of your emotional quicksand ©

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I’m a huge fan of the mind – its power, its capabilities, its complexities, its awesomeness, its vulnerabilities.  I love how it collaborates, on a good day, with the rest of the organs in our bodies to give us opportunities to do the most basic of things and the most magnificent.  Together with deliberations about intangibles, such as the soul, higher powers, the universe, it paves the way for us potentially to live consciously and fully.

We humans seem to spend much time in “do” mode, seeking ways to improve our bodies, our lives, and our relationships in countless ways.  What’s great about this is that we are trying – to be more, to do more, to have more of whatever it is we are seeking.  What’s also great is when things coincide with the universe’s plan for our lives, and conspire to make something happen – though perhaps only when the time is right and if it’s meant to be. 

While these sentiments are positive and life-affirming, here’s a thought:  Could it also be that our lives are lived on a series of continuums?  On the one end, we find the very poor, for example, and on the other the very rich, with the rest of us somewhere along the continuum.  At one end of another continuum are the super fit and super healthy, and on the other, those oppressed by ill health and barely able to breathe.  And so it goes.

When we then have a quest to drag ourselves out of our emotional quicksand, fundamental to our success could be an acceptance of the concept of Control whose continuum has similar extremes as the others do.

The things within our control place us in a position of great power:  We can facilitate, direct, organise, arrange, change, and make things happen in our personal sphere of influence.  We are in the driver’s seat.  This is our bus.  And it is great.  What is perhaps not great is when we misdirect our energies, our resources, and our focus and make extraordinary efforts to drive the bus regarding things that are not within our control, and essentially seek to force outcomes. 

Under whose control are these other things?  Who knows, but more importantly, perhaps, who cares.  If we cannot control something, let us not try.  Let us recognise that we are not omnipotent.  Let us acknowledge that living consciously and exercising the awesome power of our magnificent minds means that even with things over which we have no control, paradoxically, we have control.  We have control by putting ourselves in the driver’s seat in terms of how we experience things, and what we discard and put into a sealed box, while we focus on what we can do rather than on what we cannot do.  We can focus on the ability – our capabilities in all respects, and what we can control – rather than the disability – our diminished capabilities, and what we cannot control.  For example, realistically we cannot control the weather, but we can take along an umbrella in case it rains.

What’s important is to know what we can control and what we cannot.  When we surrender to present reality and find a way to make peace with it, and we let go of our attachment to how things should be or how we want them to be, other paths could open up for us, and we could be presented with new or different experiences.

All this theory is grand.  But precisely how do we drag ourselves out of our emotional quicksand?  There probably are as many thoughts about this, as there are people on the planet.  But here are a few that might also work.  We find a way to disempower the dark pit and see it as character building and as a catalyst, our reverse-bungee jump out of the emotional quicksand.  We deliberate, and we make decisions.  We find ways to do things ourselves, to rely on our own wits and our own resources where necessary and where possible.  This alone can be hugely empowering.  We detach from our original wishes and dreams, and we become open and flexible if new experiences present themselves.  We embrace those.  And we deal with those.  We focus on things, but we are not blinkered.  We do not lose sight of other interests in favour of just one. 

We realise that we are not trees planted in concrete, stuck in one place until the end of time.  We can move, we can be moved, we can go in a different direction, and we can have a different view and a different experience of the world.  We open ourselves up to seeing things from many angles, as each angle has something to offer.  We persevere, but we change tack if something is not working.  We do not keep doing the same thing over and over in the same way, hoping for a different result.  Metaphorically, we do not keep pressing the elevator button; we take the stairs.  We relinquish control over our expectations, including our expectations of how people should behave, and we take things as they come and we accept people are they are.  We realise that nothing is static.  Everything has less of something or more of something; it all depends on which cycle it’s in.  We do all this, and in this way, we have some control over the bus.

Is that all?  Is it that simple?  Yes and no.  The departure point is to find the courage and the strength to grab the bungee cord and start to pull ourselves up, out, into a lighter space.  How do you do that when you are drowning in emotional quicksand, and you cannot see the light and, further, you do not want to see the light?  That’s the not-so-simple part.  Sometimes, from somewhere, for some people, something breaks through the darkness, and they grab the bungee cord.  What’s important is to try to find the life-saving cord in whatever (healthy) guise, and to grab it.  The rest is relatively easy.

By Beba Papakyriakou (PhD) (Psychology)

© The intellectual property rights vest in the author and may not be utilised by anyone without the author’s written consent.  The material in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to influence anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs in any way whatsoever.

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