Moods come and go, we know this. Yet for some reason we feel the need to resist a bad mood when we feel one coming on. Why is that? Somewhere along the way it’s as if someone told us that it’s not okay to be in a bad mood. It’s like there’s an unwritten rule that says we have to be happy all the time; especially if we are already walking a ‘spiritual’ path.
Coaching has taught me that there is wisdom in all your emotions. A bad mood may be there to tell you something, or sometimes you just need to let it pass.
For me bad moods come on shortly after I let myself get overwhelmed. I have an incredible ability to take on so much that I don’t have time for myself, which is all fine until something goes wrong. At that point, I’m already so short on time that I can’t prioritize what needs to be dealt with first, so I end up in a puddle of my own tears, too exhausted to move. Then I have no choice but to rest, and then I feel guilty for resting. It’s an ugly circle.
Instead of repeating this cycle on an endless loop, I am learning to listen to my moods. Luckily, I have a great coach that helps me as well. And it’s through the coaching process that I’ve also learned the importance of listening to my anger. In the past, I would simply project my anger onto another person, but that wouldn’t get me anywhere.
For example, I worked for someone once that I did not respect. Although a lovely person, I felt that they had risen to a level in an organization without the basic knowledge required for the role. I did not like reporting to someone that I believed was lacking what I felt were basic skills. Years later, during another one of my periods of exhaustion I started to make some connections. It was at a time when I was feeling like I was failing at everything I was doing, because it was all happening too quickly. At one point during that process, I began to think about working with my former boss again, the one who I hadn’t been able to respect. Suddenly, I got very angry thinking about that situation. But when I took a moment to reflect, I realized that I wasn’t upset at my former boss. Really I was mad at myself. Subconsciously, I was starting to feel like a copy of my perception of that person, as if I shouldn’t be in charge of anything because I lacked the basic skills.
Eventually, I was able to step back from the situation. I slowed down and got the support I needed. In doing so, I was able to recall the fact that I have always dealt with competing priorities, and I would be able to again. I wasn’t unqualified.
Listening to my emotions was all I needed. The signs were likely there before, but I hadn’t made the time or the emotional space to see them. I let it get to the point where all I had left was my anger to listen to. I work hard to make sure that I don’t go there again, but on the occasions that I do, I trust that a lesson is coming and I will learn from it.
It’s important to remember that we are all continuously doing the best we can, and our personal best changes from moment to moment. But our emotions are there for a reason, to act as guideposts for how we don’t want to feel. They are there to lead us back to a better place. When we take the time to listen, our emotions are the best teachers we have, with wonderfully insightful things to say.