An emotional journey is similar to a physical journey. If you’re going on a long hike, it’s wise to bring enough food and water to enjoy your journey. Or at least eat and hydrate yourself before you leave the house. You wouldn’t be hungry, thirsty and tired and say to yourself, “Yeah, let’s take that hike now.” You’d want to be properly prepared.
The same goes for an emotional journey. Sure you could push yourself to make the journey, the same way you could push yourself to finish a hike even when tired, thirsty and starving; but pushing yourself like that would inevitably require a longer recovery period than if you simply waited until you’re properly prepared. So if there’s something you’ve been meaning to do, but it feels a little emotionally scary, ask yourself, “What would prepare me for this? What can I bring with me on my journey to make sure I’m able to enjoy it and take care of myself along the way?”
As I’m writing this, I’m preparing myself to reach out to someone for help. Not desperate “I’m in need” help. Simply, “I think this would go faster and be a lot more fun with you on board, want to create a win-win?”
I want to be in a good feeling place, so I started making a list of the things that would help me feel confident and ready to be my best. I’m looking for the emotional equivalent to being well-rested, having comfortable hiking boots/attire, a bottle of water, and a hearty snack. If I have all these things, hiking is easy and enjoyable. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Making peace with either outcome. When I reach out to someone for something important, I want to be OK with getting a yes or a no. That means reminding myself of how many other things are going well, and how this is not that vital. I can be perfectly fine even if I get turned down; because if I get turned down, it means this probably isn’t my path of least resistance. So if it doesn’t work out, I can let it go and trust that the Universe is guiding me toward an even easier and more enjoyable path.
2. Focusing on what I’m sure of. I’m not certain of how this person will respond, but I am certain that I’m very good at what I do. Even without this person’s help, my end of the bargain, the part that I’m great at, is more than good enough to rendezvous with someone who can compliment my skill-set and help me take things to the next level.
3. Reminding myself what’s important. I don’t need to write the perfect email. I don’t need to present myself in some flawless way. I can just be me and share what I’m looking for, and why I think it’s a win/win.
After I made my packing list, I decided to take a break and come back to it when the timing felt right. The next day I was able to send the email from a much better place, and the response I got was very positive and has helped me achieve the forward momentum I was looking for.
Honoring our emotions, and giving ourselves the tools necessary to enjoyably navigate challenging circumstances, is a huge part of practicing self-love. It’s not very loving to force ourselves to do something we don’t feel ready for yet. Nor is it loving to hold ourselves back from an opportunity to connect with something we desire. The loving path is the one where we work with our emotions to understand what’s truly important to us, and find a way to harmoniously allow in our new desire without sacrificing other things we care about.
So today I invite you to explore what’s important to you when embarking on an emotional journey. Once you’ve created your packing list of things that allow you to enjoy the hike, it’s easier to remember to bring them along. And when you have everything you need with you, you won’t be leaving anything important behind.
- What is something that you keep putting off because you’re anxious or afraid of what might happen when you follow through? What’s the realistic worst case scenario? What’s the best case scenario?
- How could you prepare yourself to handle your worst case scenario? What could allow you to see it as no big deal?
- What are some of the side effects to your best case scenario? How can you prepare yourself to handle them in a comfortable way?
- Knowing what you know from answering the first three questions, what do you want to pack with you before you follow through on what you’ve been putting off?
Feel free to write out your answers to the questions in a comment below. I’ll get things started by sharing my answers as well. 🙂