By Cassandra Sales
In case you missed Part One, you can read it here.
Now that we understand the first step to cleaning up our emotional environment is acknowledging emotions and getting curious about them, let’s explore the next step. I’m going to say something so shocking you may need to pull up the Snopes website to see if it is indeed fact of fiction. Before I drop this truth bomb, you will want to make sure you are sitting down, relaxed, with no breakable items within reach. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. Are you aware that there are actually people in life that like working out? I know, shocking! While I feel like the gym is where souls go to die, some human specimens consider the gym their happy place. How your body crying sweat can possibly be someone’s happy place, is beyond me. However, this drastic differing in opinions between workout fanatics and myself serves as a very important illustration. The lens through which you see life determines whether your glass is half empty or half full. The ability to adjust that lens is what determines if a situation becomes an issue, an experience, or an adventure. The second step in cleaning up our emotional environment is adjusting our lens. Adjusting our lens can best be described as optimism. Optimism says when presented with any situation I’m going to choose to believe the best intentions from the people involved and I’m going to believe in the best possible outcome. While to some optimism comes easy, but to most, adjusting your lens to see the positive is a challenge. I mean just watch the news. News programs actually end with an uplifting story for a few minutes because they know that they just spent 55 minutes discussing all that is wrong in the world. Optimism is a trained behavior that is built through intentionality. You must intentionally pause and choose to see each situation and experience through a best case scenario lens. I’m sure most of us had the viewmaster binoculars as a kid. The ones where you looked through them and you could push a button and see a different scene. Optimism is pushing the button until you believe and see the best case scenario.
So far in the cleanup of our emotional environment we are acknowledging emotions, getting curious about them, and adjusting our lens. The next step is what I like to call the “Bouncer.” No it’s not some amazing trampoline that Josh Flom and his boys could jump on for days. The bouncer is the big beefy guy at the door of a VIP event that checks if your name is on the list. He plays a vital role is how things play out for the night. His decisions determine whether this event truly remains a VIP event or if he is going to let some of us regular folks past the door. Our emotions also have a bouncer. Our emotional bouncer determines what we allow to have a lasting impact on us. The third step in cleaning up our emotional environment is to invest is an incredible bouncer. An amazing bouncer will have several qualities. First, it will understand our values and what is important to us. Richard Carlson is one of my favorite authors, and he wrote a series called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Our emotional bouncer will understand that someone hanging up on you, a client not being ready for an appointment, or the person before you not taking out the trash – that’s the small stuff. The small stuff isn’t what we need to focus our time and energy on when it comes to stress and worry. Our bouncer will also be firm. When the everyday stressors of forgetting to pack our lunch or getting stuck in traffic try to sneak in the door to cause havoc on our mindset, our emotional bouncer will pause them and say “You’re not welcome here.” The thing to understand is you don’t just get an amazing bouncer, you actually create one over time. Each day you will be presented with situations that may or may not have gotten past your bouncer and when the bad apples do happen to slip by that’s when you pause and reflect how you will respond to this the next time. The only way to fail in life is not to learn from the natural consequences of your actions. If you are always learning and growing, then you aren’t experiencing failures. You are experiences small successes. Invest in a remarkable bouncer so you can continue to see those successes.
The final step I would like to share in cleaning up your emotional environment is energy is contagious. The same way that the flu spreads by not washing your hands, your emotional illnesses and symptoms can also spread if we don’t follow proper protocol. There are moments in life where we have hard days and rough weeks. If we don’t make cleaning up our emotional environment a priority those rough weeks can turn into dark seasons. Don’t let the darkness consume you. The same way two simple letters “OK” can cause a negative reaction in me, is the same way three vital words can ignite a passion in my soul. Be the Light. I manage 7 Life Coaches and have almost 50 clients. On top of that I am a mom of 4 kids and occasionally I like to sleep. On any given day I can be presented with negative situations or crises, and how I respond to that will often times determine the outcome because energy is contagious. Whenever I receive a difficult phone call or have to have a not so great conversation, I always pause and tell myself, “Be the Light.” The thing about the darkest is it does not dim your light. For example if you turn on your flashlight on around noon, it doesn’t appear very light. However, if you turn it on right before sunset it becomes a little brighter. Well, if you turn it on at midnight when there is no other light, that is when it shines the brightest. The darkness cannot consume the light. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train ready to run you over. If you feel it is, you need to see step two of adjusting your lens. The light at the end of the tunnel is the energy of people who choose to let their light shine when no one else can. When I am in a circular pool, I don’t care if I was 7 or 31, I like to make the whirlpool. The whirlpool is where you just go around in circles until the force of the water can just make you float around and around. Often times in life we are engulfed by a whirlpool of negativity. We become so overwhelmed with trying to determine how stop this madness that we don’t know where to start. The reality is you don’t need to stop the whirlpool. You instead need to just stand your ground. Standing your ground in the whirlpool limits its power. Energy is contagious so when you stand your ground by being the light, it may inspire someone else to as well. Eventually the whirlpool stops because it has too many powerful forces igniting a change. How do you change your emotional environment? Acknowledge that there are not only two lens in life: seeing the glass as half full or half empty. Instead, create a filter of light that allows you to say “I’m grateful for having a glass.”