Thanks for following the post from last week. I got quite a few good comments and questions. Generally, I can deduce that having and maintaining mental poise is somewhat like trying to grasp the wind; something intangible. Having mental poise and controlling our facial expressions have to do with ‘influencing our countenance.’ The word influence means to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something. Like we discussed last week, mental poise has to do with ensuring that your (negative) thoughts do not show up on your face. But how do you achieve that? How do you influence your countenance when it is influenced by how you feel per time?
If we are given five concrete steps to build a house, knot a tie in different styles, tie our shoe laces, style our braids, tie that ever-so-stubborn gele (Nigerian head gear), apply makeup or navigate our way to a particular destination, we could probably more easily work with that; something tangible (Google Maps and countless Youtube videos for everything make this abundantly clear). But how do we have and maintain control over our feelings which are ever changing, sometimes engulfing and unexplainable…seemingly intangible?
I am not here to tell you that there is a set down principle or a hard and fast rule to keeping your feelings in check. I’m only going to share a couple of pointers (in no particular order) that I know to be true and am trying to put into practise myself. Hopefully, they’ll point in you in the right direction and give you a very good head start.
1. Decide: I have found that about the most effective tool to effect a change in our countenance or feelings is the ability and resolve to DECIDE! We’ve probably all heard the famous saying ‘If you want to change direction from where you are, move your feet, you’re not a tree.’ No matter how you feel, who has upset you, how much you don’t want to be at a party, etc., you have the power to decide that you deserve and want to feel better. I have found that when you so decide everything else falls in place to favour you. You literally train your mind to start thinking this way by default.
2. Feelings are in motion: you must realise that how you feel at a particular moment will change…possibly in just a few moments. Your feelings are continually changing; they are e-motion; in motion. You therefore cannot afford to base how you respond, behave or present yourself on something which is ever so fleeting. Like is said, your emotions are babies or infants, they should be strapped in the passenger’s seat no matter how loud they howl.
There are times when my husband is doing my head in. I feel like I’m going to explode at that time. ‘Doesn’t he get it? How can he? Can’t he see that he’s hurting me?’ At those times I feel not speaking to him is the best solution for both of us. However, in recent times, points 1 and 2 have kicked in a whole lot. I decide that I’m not going to get myself worked up. I’m not going to be bothered when he’s sleeping so well. I’m not going to become an angry, unpleasant, grumpy and ill-mannered person because of external factors.
I remember that whatever it is I’m upset with him about will change. It may not change there and then, but with good communication (which I can’t do when I’m mad) and prayers, he will see what I’m trying to say and do all he can to avoid hurting me. When I think this way, I’m able to concentrate on the good, play with him, love about and have good and productive conversations.
3. Edit your thoughts: be careful what you listen to, what you read, what you watch and what you talk about. I know this has been over flogged, but it is because it’s true. Think about it, have you noticed that you watch some movies sometimes and for the next few hours or even days you are depressed? There are some conversations you engage in or merely hang around and you become quite irritable. Maybe the conversations touched on a matter that you are sensitive to. You read a magazine or an article on a particular topic and you are angry the rest of the day. I know this has happened to me, especially with conversations. Filter and edit your thoughts, just as you would filter and edit when picking out what clothes to wear.
I hope this post has been helpful to you. I’ll share three more points next week. Be sure to look out for it.
Have a great week!