The Emotional Edge – Goodbye Basketcase, Hello Best Case

by Shannon on February 24, 2012
What's your emotional edge? Basketcase or best case?

We are women, and yes, it’s true,

Women are emotional.

This can be our biggest downfall or our largest advantage.

From a young age, as girls, people expect us to show our emotions. Then, as we get older, the tides shift a bit, and the world begins to suggest to us that

Being emotional may, in fact, be a bad thing.

When we believe these messages the world conveys, we begin to wonder if maybe we should hide our emotions. Afterall, if emotions are bad, we certainly don’t want them to get in the way of a successful career, finding love and all of the other things we desire in our lives.

This is crap. And here’s the reason why.

While being overly emotional can create problems for us if we let it, emotions themselves Are. Not. Bad. In fact, not only are they not bad, but they are, in their nature, very, very good.

Emotions serve a grand purpose for each of us. They keep us safe and align our lives with our values and with our greatest truth. They keep us aligned with our soul, with our most authentic self, and with our purpose.

Our emotions can give us a big advantage in school, professionally and in life.

Some people like to generalize that all women are emotional and, therefore, have the potential to turn into an emotional basketcase if the appropriate situation arises. But here’s the thing. It’s not our emotions but rather our often misled and sometimes irrational reactions to the emotions that can make us basketcase-prone — or not.

The great news is we get to choose how we react to our emotions. All of them.

Basketcase or best-case, which will you choose?

Emotions can put us on the emotional edge, or in turn, they can give us an emotional edge that can help us become more successful and happy in all areas of our life.

Will you choose to be on edge or to have an edge – basketcase or best case? And what the hell is the difference, anyway? Well, let me tell you.

Let’s start with the Basket Case.

The basketcase gets on edge in tough, confusing or emotional situations.

  • She feels out of control and, sometimes, hopeless
  • She doesn’t stop to recognize what she’s feeling
  • She simply reacts to her feelings, never stopping to consider the facts
  • She takes these situations very personally
  • She feels stuck, with no way out of the situation or how she’s feeling
  • She immediately goes to worst case scenario
  • She blames others for things that are going wrong in her life
  • It never occurs to her to try reasoning with her feelings.

But you can’t help it, right? Feelings are feelings. They just are what they are. You can’t help them, stop them, or control them. And they’re valid. You have a right to feel how you feel. And on top of that, she was really mean or he broke your heart or (fill in the blank.)

Yes, your feelings are very valid. In fact, they are always valid, and you are absolutely right to think you should be allowed to feel how you feel. The thing is sometimes our feelings are misplaced, so the feelings are valid but they are not accurate for the current situation.

As a basketcase, we either don’t understand or don’t acknowledge this detail, and we let our emotions take the driver’s seat, letting them steer our decisions about how we will react to the situation in front of us. No questions asked, we let them rule.

Then there’s the Best Case. The best case girl tends to have a very different reaction to the same tough, confusing or emotional situation and that is what gives her the edge.

The best case girl catches herself before she gets on edge.

  • She knows things are not always as they first appear
  • She recognizes there are two sides to every story
  • She stops to identify what she is feeling
  • She attempts to de-personalize the situation by looking outside her feelings to consider the facts — asking questions like who else, what else, why else
  • She looks for the silver lining
  • She reasons with her feelings to figure out if they make sense for the current situation
  • She thinks before acting, so she is able to respond instead of react.

The best case girl is destined to be happier and more successful overall, because she remains in charge of how her story will go.

She controls her emotions instead of letting her emotions control her.

"Control your emoions or your emotions will control you." And just so we’re clear, notice I didn’t say she ignores her emotions or hides her emotions or feels shame about her emotions. No.

By controlling her emotions, she takes charge. She learns to recognize her emotions and understand where they are coming from, what’s triggering them, and she learns to recognize the same in other people.

She gets to know how she is feeling — initimately.

She learns to show herself compassion as she begins to understand her feelings and the stories and beliefs within her that her feelings are based on.

She reasons with her feelings to make sure they are appropriate and accurate for the current situation.
And if they’re not, she considers what an appropriate emotional response might be.

She really focuses on staying positive,

giving the benefit of the doubt and considering different interpretations of the situation, always seeking out the possible best case scenarios.

Ultimately, and possibly her biggest saving grace, the best-case girl knows that things that happen in her life that involve other people are almost never really about her but about the other person. She knows and acts out of compassion and empathy and understanding, and she knows that doing all of these things doesn’t mean she has to agree when unacceptable behaviors and situations arise but only understand why they might be happening.

The best-case girl will almost never find herself on edge, at least not for long, because she has seen the edge and prefers to be confidently atop it rather than teetering upon it.

Yes, this is the girl who, when you see her on campus, you find yourself saying, “I don’t know what she has, but whatever it is, I want some of it.”

So that’s it. Basketcase or best case. Which one of these girls rings most true for you? The great news is that, no matter what edge you’re riding right now, ultimately, you get to choose. Every girl can learn to be a best case girl. Are you in?

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Now it’s your turn…just for fun —
Do you know how to avoid being an emotional basket case? Take this quiz to find out!

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