Hardships and a Container
written for a friend of mine
The concept of handling emotion can be illustrated by imagining the relationship of some liquid and container — a container with a valve and a tiny hole at the bottom. The container represents the amount of negative thought a person can handle at one time. The capacity of this container varies from person to another.
The outflow of the hole represents the rate that negative thought can be digested naturally through time; The valve represents activities that help a person to release the emotions. When hardship arrives, it is like the action of pouring the liquid into the container. The higher the level of liquid, the more the negative emotions aggregated.
Some people experience depression, stress-out or breakdown not because they are unable to handle a single hardship. It is, however, often the case when multiple hardships arrive at the same time. Some negative events in life can range from a rainy day, a low score at college, a setback at the workplace, facing a major financial issue, rejected by some you admire for a while, separating with a significant other or the unexpected departing of a family member.
Learning to handle hardship better, one can always start from being mindful about these invisible mechanisms.
The valve is managed by understanding what activities give you joy. It could be a hobby that you do, a friend that you can talk to, a long-missed vacation, spending time with a family member or an exciting adventure.
The construction of the valve varies from a person to another. By slowly learning what makes you happy and at peace is a good step to master the control of the valve. The hole is managed by learning how to forget, to let go. Practice looking yourself from another perspective and viewing these negative events as any other events increase the digestion rate of the negative thoughts. Simply by acknowledging the fact that negative thoughts will eventually go away helps you to shift your attention to things that you want to and should care most. Finally, the container’s volume is managed by widening one’s thought of the nature of hardships. Hardships are never personal, they will arrive with or without our part-takes in them. Hardships happen to everyone at any age, for every role, and to everyone. If you haven’t heard from others, it is just because people seldom speak of them. Learning the ability to accept the fact that hardships hit everyone now and then and people are just doing fine eventually gives us a confirmation that overcoming challenges in life is something you can do. This will allow you to be more resistant to hardships, and hence the enlargement of the container.
With all these concepts in mind, it is good to also know that there isn’t any universal solution for everyone. Yet, listening to stories of others allow you practicing viewing a negative emotion objectively. To better handle hardships is a solo self-explore journey and we are all doing it together. After all seeking happiness of yours is all that matters.
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