Tuesday, July 21, 2009

emotional eq

There's this thing they call 'the emotional ladder'. Kinda like a gauge for moving from one 'place' to another. I like the idea...mostly because it's easier to have something to shoot for than it is to stay mired in the muck. Like tryin' to kick your way out of quicksand, only to find that the more you kick, the deeper you sink.

Not so much fun.

So if this emotional ladder is in any way an indication of 'where do we go from here', then moving from despair to anger would be a step up, yes? I mean, really...what feels 'better'? Despair or anger? I'll pick anger every time. Anger gets me off my fear-driven pity-pot. It gets me moving, like the ol' fire under my arse, forcing me to move it or get burned. Yea. I choose anger every time.

Trouble is, if ya stay there for too long, it can drown you as fast as the quicksand. Don't want to stay in anger a minute longer than necessary. Use it to get you moving, but move on past it too...on into...

Doubt? Even that's a bit of a jump. From anger to doubt is skipping about 3 other steps on the ladder. But does doubt feel better than anger? Not to me. Maybe it's just old habits, but the anger seems to feel better than that gnawing doubt that can chew up my spirit, like a starving dog with a slab of beef. Still...one must consider the steps and see what one can do to move through them as quickly (and painlessly!) as possible.

Maybe the ladder looks like this (okay. If you must know, this is not my own. I got it from a book I happen to think of as my own personal bible. Today, it was essential that I whip that puppy out and have another look...)

Let's say that the top of the ladder is Love/Joy/Empowerment/Freedom/Appreciation. In other words, that's as good as it gets on the emotional scale. No arguments there.
From there (downward) it looks like this:

2. Passion
3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness (not to be confused with Joy...)
4. Positive Expectation/Belief
5. Optimism
6. Hopefulness
7. Contentment
8. Boredom
9. Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience (oh brother. I'm good at these!)
11. "Overwhelment"
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger (there it is!)
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness (BIGFATICK!!!)

So then, if we can move up the ladder, step by step (there's no rule that says you can't skip a few!), then maybe it doesn't feel so bad as we're doing it. I mean, if you know that you're not gonna stay wherever you are (emotionally and otherwise) for any length of time, doesn't it make it more bearable? Like, when you're really, really cold, and you keep reminding yourself that pretty soon you'll be inside, next to a blazing fire, warming your tootsies and drinking hot chocolate, somehow being that cold is more tolerable, yes? What if we could do the same thing when we feel like crap?

I'm wondering about all this, as I sit in my anger...but vacillate between it and fear. Fear is alllll the way down at the bottom of that ladder. And I'd much rather have a foot on the rung 5 steps up. Not the best of choices, but then...I'm the one who's apparently in charge of how long I keep my foot there...or take another step.

Oh brother.

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