There are so many different methods of coping.
Usually the “negative” emotions (ones that cause pain so, in most people’s minds, are viewed as bad) are the ones that are internalized.
For me, especially in 2008, I’ve found myself internalizing what I’m going through. There had come a point in my life— sometime during this year, kind of in the midst of all of the turmoil of unexpected circumstance—where I just felt like my processing it needed to come to a halt because I felt that the conversation around what was challenging me actually no longer served me.
I know that, for myself, talking about lost loved ones, troubles at work, challenging times and so on can be served through conversations with others.
But I also know that some of my most valuable learning has stemmed from my silence in an experience, and my reflection on how I’m actually feeling on the inside and what parts of me are affected.
There were so many parts of my day that were filled with people asking how I was doing, how I was coping, where I was in my grieving process, who I was talking to about it…and I found myself truly exhausted. And going to the other extreme—talking about none of what I’m going through. I don’t necessarily feel as though that should be the primary exhibition of coping, but I do feel that it should be listened to when needed. We as humans weren’t meant to constantly process and be vocal.
Sometimes being internally quiet will allow us, as individuals, to discover what our needs are and what it is that is causing us sadness.
Another reason I feel that I have internalized so much of it is because there are so many people in my community who are so brutally aware of all of the things that are occurring that I am consistently questioned. And I don’t want to just identify as someone who is going through all of these things, and/or someone who is always suffering emotionally.
I do feel, though, it’s dangerous to be unbalanced in navigating through life and its unpredictability. As with most things in life, everything in moderation. I don’t feel as though excessively verbalizing or internalizing is conducive to prosperity. But what I do believe is that the best thing we can do, in any circumstance—whether it be strange, scary, exciting—is to listen.
Listen to yourself and you will know when it is time to speak, and when it is time to just reflect.
So in my circumstance, I feel as though internalizing some of my storms is of benefit to both myself and those people around me. Like I said, there’s an argument for communicating calm seas—even when turbulence is the only internal weather report.
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger
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