I’ve written before on how one can start to work toward finding your true north, but like all journeys, there’s more to add. Like I mentioned in that piece, finding one’s purpose or driving focus in life isn’t ever going to be a linear process. The steps won’t look like you think they should. And this summer has brought this to my attention more than ever.
I touched on this briefly in my post on time zones, and the idea that we’re all working within our own framework of success and accomplishment. Social media, as studies show, are starting to skew these things. We’re constantly bombarded with images or stories of the life highlights of others, but we’re unable to see them as such–as just passing moments in someone else’s life. No one’s life is as perfectly curated as their Instagram page might imply. This is what has led me to think more and more about the concept of emotional metabolism.
Emotional metabolism is your ability to process emotions in a way that supports your emotional wellbeing, much like your metabolism supports your physical wellbeing.(Molly Hamill)
Think of the way your body processes food. Healthy vegetables and protein make us sharp and efficient; happiness and positive emotions support and nurture us. Conversely, bad foods with lots of sugar and and things make us heavy and ill; negative emotions like jealousy, hate, etc. do the same. Part of this may be tied to the fact that the stomach is in the solar plexus chakra. This is where our sense of purpose and self is derived; one chakra analysis said it’s like the furnace of the soul and spirit. Our propensity to radiate self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth all come from this area.
In studies unrelated to the chakras, it’s been found that, on a whole, we tend to take compliments quickly, or not give them much thought after they’re given. However, criticism or actions that inspire negative emotions sit with us. Emotional metabolism is all about swapping those reactions. We need to digest the feedback, take what value we can from it, and let it go. Metabolizing disappointment, fear, etc takes patience and mental fortitude. Luckily, the mind is an organ that likes to be challenged =]
Practicing Emotional Metabolism
Every day this week, try to do one of these three things – and at the end of the week, take stock of what worked and what didn’t:
Digest each word of kindness you receive.
When someone tells you “Hey, good job!” or “You look nice today!” or anything that builds you up, accept it and let it sit in your thoughts. Don’t negate the compliment (which we in Minnesota tend to do all.the.time by 1) telling people where we got it and 2) that it was on sale. Why do we do this?!)
By diluting it, you make its effects less potent. Accept positive wishes from others; it will help with the next tip.
Building off of those positive compliments, turn inward periodically throughout the day. When you catch yourself thinking something negative, switch it into something positive. Some people do this by surrounding themselves with affirmations, or just choosing one affirmation or mantra that will calm their mind and keep them focused on what’s fresh, new, and of substance.
Of course, this isn’t an endorsement for toxic positivity. Take it slowly, and don’t berate yourself when you do catch yourself giving in to negative thoughts. Just get back on track.
Eliminate toxic thoughts.
We all deal with elements of drama in our lives. That doesn’t mean you have to give in to it. There are toxic people everywhere, some might even qualify as energy vampires. These people and situations are draining. Of your patience, your goodwill, your ability to heal.
Choose to walk away (mentally, if physically isn’t a choice) from drama, gossip, complaining, everything that doesn’t serve you.
In short: you do you. Don’t let the thoughts or actions of others diminish your light and contributions in this life.
What does emotional metabolism mean to you?