Finding Emotional Strength – A short story
When it came to finding emotional strength it all seemed good as I accelerated my speed looking to finish top in my age-class. This was my seventh year running the difficult Volcano Race in Hawaii. The course ran along dangerous trails, and across open lava fields around the most active volcano in the world.
This year I had trained hard, and it was paying off. We were just about to enter the lava field, and I could see the lead runner ahead. Suddenly I heard a runner coming up behind me very quickly shouting, “right, right, right”.
I realized he was probably new to the course, because running too fast, or passing, while entering the lava field increased the chance of tripping and being shredded by the glass-sharp lava.
I quickly glanced back, and noticed that if he didn’t slow down he would run right into me on this narrow part of the trail. Up ahead I saw a large embankment on my left, and realized I could probably run up it, let him pass, and then back on the trail. Judging the distance, I increased my speed and hit the bank just in time to let the runner pass.
Everything was going well, until my right foot landed on a buried rock. The combined force of gravity, angle of the rock, loose dirt, and sudden shifting of my weight was no match for my ability to stay upright.
Within seconds I went from looking to win the race, to wondering how I was going to get out of this crater and back to civilization. After the initial shock of landing hard, my first thought was to get up and keep going. Getting up was no problem, but continuing on was another.
As a dedicated trail runner, I had fallen many times before. This time proved different because the pain was instantaneous. I suddenly realized that if not broken, I was at least in for a long recovery. Tearing off my shoe and sock, I could see the outer ankle and foot turning purple and swelling, but no signs of a broken ankle.
Still under the rush of adrenalin, I decide the best move was to get out and to an aid station as soon as possible. After ten minutes I saw an aide station, but kept going because the pain had turned into anger.
All I wanted to do was catch up to the stupid guy and push him off the cliff. Although I didn’t get a good look at him, in my mood any runner would do…
If you are wondering, I never pushed anyone off the cliff, but I did finish the race in the top ten percentile. For me this was quite extraordinary, because the remainder of the race was run on a badly sprained and swollen ankle and all the while finding my emotional strength being drained.
Finding Emotional Strength – The Moral of the Story?
Sometimes any emotion, including anger, can turn a negative into a positive, and help us stay focused. As they say emotions aren’t positive or negative, it’s how we react or respond to them.
Getting Angry + Finishing Race = Good.
Getting Angry + Pushing Someone Off A Cliff = Bad.
Emotions like anger, fear and joy seem more conducive to focus, while frustration, resentment, and depression seem to make it harder to focus. However since emotions are a part of us, we all need to learn how not to get sidetracked while finding emotional strength.
Finding Emotional Strength: What can we do?
Look beyond the day to day, and try to look at the big picture.
This way you will get a better perspective, and find ways to use emotions to our advantage.
Get outside, exercise, take a day trip, or get some fresh air.
Our perspective often changes when we get out of our daily routines, and spend time observing nature or doing things away from our regular activities.
Call a trusted friend and let it all out.
Sometimes talking or venting can help relieve stress and built up emotions. It is often other people who can help us deal with our emotions, and give us ideas on how we can use our emotions to make positive changes.
Change your focus to another activity
Sometimes doing another activity can help you see more clearly through your emotional state. We can also do other activities which are better suited to your current emotional challenge. There’s nothing like hitting a punching bag to relieve anger, or smacking around a tennis ball to let out frustration.
Seek professional support
Sometimes we need to admit we need help and look outside our typical alternatives. Seek out a pastor, counselor, advisor, life coach, doctor or psychologist. They may just be the thing we need to help us find our emotional strength.
Finding Focus and Emotional Strength Conclusion:
Finding Focus is important, and using emotions to stay in focus can help us when other things fail. It may seem odd that we need to use our emotions even while finding emotional strength. However being able to use all our God-given attributes is what makes life enjoyable.
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