I was minding my own business, doing whatever unimportant thing I was after, listening to a little country and heard the meaningfully dramatic tones serenading me with “Pour me something stronger than me“.
I stopped in my tracks and realized, wow, how many times I felt that way. Connie Britton’s song hit a chord personally and musically.
Face it. We all, at some time in our lives feel like we’re challenged with something that feels like more than we can handle.
I get it. I’ve been there. Divorce. Challenging stuff with kids. Death of friends and family members. Car problems and accidents. Horrible weather. Illnesses and conditions that burden our time and patience. Work pressures. Doom and gloom in general.
But we have to check ourselves with rational mindful thought to break the pattern. No amount of alcohol consumed by me during any of those situations really helped in any way. In fact almost all of them were complicated further with the self abuse that I suffered or the bad judgment from my sometimes “effit” mentality when I was drinking.
To get myself to a rational state, it’s not always easy. I get caught up in the heat of a moment or aggravation and it often takes me a little time. When I get it together, I try to ask myself , what does it really matter right now? Does the situation threaten my life? Is the situation in my span of control? Will it matter in three years?
If it’s outside of my ability to control (like the weather, things happening in far away places, etc.) then I need to let that go. Whether I’m religious, spiritual or neither I believe we only have just so much emotional energy to invest.
My contention is that if I learn to manage my emotional energy like a bank account, sorting out where I’m spending my emotional capital so that I avoid the negative emotional investments, I will eventually make headway on this.
There was a philosophy that I heard long long ago and I don’t recall the source, that suggested we picture our minds as a long hallway of doors. And behind each door is a
An example of what and how I’ve changed something. I backed off the desire to monitor Facebook constantly. In the past I checked multiple times a day, now it’s maybe once a week. It’s gone beyond fun ways of keeping track of family, friends and acquaintances. It’s more like a shouting match of nonsense that I found myself spending time and effort on, only to realize the emotional investment was accomplishing little to nothing at all and frequently left me disappointed and drained.
I also started to better organize my online accounts. I had multiple email addresses. About six to be exact going back many many years for various reasons. Keeping track of them and all the spam that came in was a bit of a pain. So I’ve paired them down, consolidated them and spent some time actually sorting through the spam in each to ‘unsubscribe’ to most of what I had accumulated.
I actively attempt to be mindful and purposeful in my real life. I wish I could claim to be good at it, but I’m working on it. What do I mean by that? I try to take a little time, generally while walking the dog, to disconnect selfishly from our household and think about ‘what can I improve’ and ‘how can I do something better’ and prioritizing ‘what matters now’ and allows me to unplug for just a few minutes. The wife uses meditation as one of her means of disconnecting and I try to respect that time she takes.
Another area that I mentally work through regarding my emotional investment is with my adult kids. They are living their lives independently. They are good people and they are human. They are different from me and they have their own foibles. I love them incredibly and, as much as I want to inject myself in their lives, I have to let them be. When they moved out, leaping into the unknown world at large with futures I couldn’t predict or shelter them from, scared me. It scared me for a long time. It’s taken a number of years for me to cope with.
Even though I still have the title of parent, my role as a parent has had to evolve away from what they needed as kids, to one of being a guide and mentor on call. Don’t get me wrong, we sometimes have very tough conversations, but I try to couch my input with ‘this is what I would do’ or ‘this is my logic’ or ‘maybe look at things from this viewpoint’, rather than blast them with the dictatorial parental mindset. And I try to express it constantly that in spite of how much I may disagree with whatever their choices are, I will always love, care and wish them the best for happiness.
My point is that we all may feel those”Pour me something stronger than me” kind of moments, but we all have the ability to evolve to the point that very little is stronger than us and the urge comes less often.