Running ahead of ourselves
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
I’ve been enjoying watching the antics of spring lambs, here in New Zealand. The twins in this photo are chasing each other and in their playfulness, they swap the lead often. This made me think of how facets of our human personality will compete for dominance.
Sometimes we attempt to outrun parts of our personality when we think there are only certain acceptable traits to lead with. Often the personality traits we run ahead of are the ones that would benefit from a change in the lead role, particularly our emotions. Emotions are not good or bad, they just are. When we understand emotions as ‘energy in motion’ the lead position becomes interchangeable in a healthy way.
What do I mean by this?
If we consistently want positivity to be the leading position of our emotions the negative feelings will continue to chase us — as an extension of ourselves — and we can experience overwhelm.
Emotional overwhelm occurs when the intensity of our feelings exerts more control than our capacity to manage them sufficiently. It’s that fearful feeling of losing the ability to function; emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Overwhelm is a symptom of stress, anxiety, and depression. Overwhelm can also be caused when we fail to achieve an unconscious goal to keep ahead of any negative feelings.
Love, joy, contentment, and gratitude are favourable emotions to live our lives by but, they don’t always have to monopolise. Sometimes allowing sadness, anger, fear or disgust helps us to fully identify a situation we are experiencing.
Research suggests that making happiness our only goal in life can actually make us miserable. Studies reveal that people who experience a variety of emotions are able to make better-informed choices with their thoughts and behaviour — and potentially feel happier.
When we run ahead of an undesired emotion, there is also an opportunity to allow that feeling to take the lead for a time. It is not a competition, but a collaboration that allows all facets of our personality to run ahead of ourselves, in turn.