HOW RELIABLE ARE OUR EMOTIONS?

Let not your Heart be troubled’ John 14:1

With all the effects of Covid 19, loss of loved ones, not being able to connect with others in close proximity, unemployment and the atmosphere of uncertainty our emotions can start to waver especially if we have other issues that make us more vulnerable. Extreme grief due to the loss of a Spouse, challenging health issues, not to mention so many more make us emotionally raw.

The key at this time is finding strength and support to manage our emotions. You say what does this mean? I define this as trying to extract from your circumstances what is going well and be grateful instantly for this. Giving Thanks always for all things is the key to a cheerful and light heart. It makes you optimistic and hopeful in spite of what is happening now.

Thanks, can be expressed in words, poetry, song, dance – please find the best expression that suits you. When we do our challenges become less magnified. For those of us still grieving or have gone through grief we go through waves of different feelings – one moment it is a wave that tries to overwhelm and another time it might be one that incapacitates.

What we do know is that our emotions constantly change and respond in different ways to given situations due to a fluctuation of emotions. As emotions fluctuate and can change, this suggests they can be quite subjective and not the best judge of how we might really be responding to situations around us.

As they are unpredictable, we have to understand to learn how to let each given wave of emotion ride and settle, before responding to or making decisions on other events around us.

So far emotions can be unpredictable and can prevent us from operating objectively in given situations. So, they can be deceptive, not in how you are feeling in your loss, but in how you perceive other events around you.

Therefore, our emotions when impacted cloud or veil our rational. So, it is in times of deep emotional challenge that it is important to talk and share with others on how you are feeling so as to get the right help and support.

 Emotions make us or push us to do the most horrendous things especially when your thoughts become internalised and not voiced out to give less life to them. One specific emotion e.g. pain of loss can bring feelings of fear into your life. As loss makes the future uncertain due to the sudden change of life. It is important to try to understand these feelings and that allows us to manage them and not allow how thoughts to lose control.

 Fear can make us take the most irrational decisions e.g. small tasks can become mammoth ones, small goals become impossible to achieve or making the effort to talk to just one new person can make you freeze and lose bottle.

Emotional tumult can distract us from what the real issues are e.g. with all the hidden emotions Covid 19 has brought to nations. Many are unconsciously afraid of where the next pay packet is coming from, businesses being dissolved – no customers, shops being restricted from opening due to legislature pertaining to Covid 19 prevention.

How do we manage our emotions at this time of lockdown? I can only prescribe for you a timeless principle that works for me which is reading my Bible. You can easily download a free copy from App store on your mobile phone or tablet, listen to it audibly. If you have never picked one up this might be your opportunity to do so.

Start reading the Psalms written by David, they are like songs that naturally sooth your soul, perhaps gradually with time you will gain courage to read some of the amazing events and testimonies that happened when Christ walked the earth 2000 years ago.

The word of God has the power to transform your life from the inside out, all you need is faith as small as a mustard seed.

Secondly utilise the support you have around – friends, acquaintances, neighbours and colleagues.

Thirdly perhaps try to explore items in your home or office that are not used, sell on line to make money. Take a closer look at your financial outgoings and see where you can reduce or get services cheaper. The less financial pressure you are in at this time will ease the burden on your emotions.  

Perhaps get a close friend to do the same so you can both motivate each other. If you have children get them to scout for items they do not use. Just start with a few tangible items so not to get overwhelmed – google suitable sites that allow you to do this. Watch out for ones that allow you to display items for 1p etc.

I have just started this weekly series on managing your emotions. Look out for more.

This time shall past. There is always Hope after Loss. Signing off now.  

ISOLATION EQUALS OPPORTUNITY


The Coronavirus shall not steal your health, focus and vision ( life’s work = gifting) in Jesus name.

Self isolation for me and many can be quite scary as it denotes being by your self and being alone.In a society that can be quite lonely at times,especially living in a cosmopolitan city, you can easily wonder what you are going to do with all the time you have.

It’s the 7th week of Lockdown in the United Kingdom,if you are reading this,then you have endured so far.I wonder what your days have been like?Have you created something out of your natural gifts and talent?

Have you started writing a diary that perhaps might become a book? Or are you baking more of those Vegan cakes to order on a larger scale.It’s amazing what our minds can produce when in solitude.Do sever every moment.

I know we have to prevent the spread of the virus and maintain 2 metre social distance yet the word self isolation conjures for me the period l lost my husband.

While l was off work,everyone was away at work, every where was quiet,and l was by myself. Yet l could think much clearly in the midst of the isolation. l was physically conscious of being alone however l could picture what l would like my future to look like.

So to avoid the hidden fear of that period of Grief l have decided to maximise the time l have now off work, to continue writing and explore other ways of making streams of income,on line.The emphasis is to educate and up-skill.

If ever a time, the Coronavirus epidemic has opened my mind to the need to know how to work more effectively on line, than any other season.I can see much clearly the fruits of working from home and working more independently

Being physically present at home enables me to be with my children,manage my own time,keep safe from the virus and also connect with people via Social media.However there is nothing as valuable as connecting directly in a room or real space with others.Social media is the only alternative right now,do learn how to use it.

So every adversity has a silver lining. So l’m saying if you have stopped work or you are working from home, any free time you have is an opportunity to do things you have been putting off for so many years.Perhaps the half written book,the plan to work independently, maximise your creativity, learn a new skill, or spend more time finding what your unique gift is.


Please make use of the time,as the days are short.Appreciate the time you get to be with your family.For some of you there is no reason to run off now to work or school/university.
It is a time perhaps to deal with underlying issues we avoid at home by immersing ourselves in so called work.E.g. Hidden personal grievances,hurts,forgiveness issues etc.

Self isolation raises the issue of Mental Health and how it could impact you.Not speaking for days to anyone can be soul destroying as it eats away at your confidence.

The more we talk or engage with others the more we grow our creative skills.I guess you must know now, that the isolation unit in most institutions of correction in the world, are the most punishing and demeaning for any individual.

So Plan also on how to take care of your Mental Health during this time.Ponder on these tips

  1. Set yourself a daily routine
  2. Drink and eat healthily.
  3. Do some form of daily exercise.
  4. Connect to at least one individual daily verbally or virtually by Social Media
  5. Not communicating with anyone but just your TV box is not good for your mind.Your mind needs to be stimulated by connecting to another human being.
  6. Go for a walk, this is allowed – the outdoor is especially good for your Mental Health.
  7. Open the windows and ventilate your home daily.
  8. Finish reading that book you have been struggling with or pick up one of the various recipe books you have and make a new meal for your family?
  9. Reach out by phone etc to those you know are living on their own or are vulnerable.
  10. Pray daily and confess positive affirmations to your self.
  11. *If you are concerned about your business or job find out on line, through your local authority what you are financially entitled to.*

Remember it is never over until the Lord says it’s over!! Exercise wisdom at all times in keeping well and staying safe.


FINDING THE MAN TO WALK WITH YOU INTO YOUR FUTURE.

The questions to ask yourself now is what do l want? How do I prepare for what l want and how do l get it? Do I want to be a widow forever and how do I walk out of widowhood into a new relationship?

When you become a widow you become officially single even though in the midst of your present Grief you still feel emotionally attached to your dead spouse.The time and length of commitment with each other prevents you from defining self as single at the time of loss.

That’s why you have to work out your grief – each individual works his or her grief differently.This is not easy but it is possible with our internal grit /strength, and the right support around you.

The most important thing during a major adversity is having the right people around you = Good people,to encourage,motivate,be honest and yet kind to you. You have to do what is best for you e.g. be honest in how you feel and talk about it to those available to support you,get out of the house, go walking,listen to positive music,sleep well,rest,do not hide yourself behind too many chores, and for me it was praying and meditating on Bible scripture.

The latter was the only exercise that gave me the daily emotional lift i needed in my spirit. My day started with prayer and ended with prayer.It still does.

Prayer can be done anywhere,in the park while walking,in the privacy of your home,on the train quietly and in other incidences where fear tends to grip you e.g. at work when feeling over whelmed etc.

‘Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication,with thanksgiving,let your requests be made known to God’ Philippians 4:6

When i was a child i always confessed that i wanted to share my adult life with a male companion in marriage after surviving the ravishes of a broken home.

So in widowhood i reignited the same vision.My main request was to meet a decent and spiritual/God fearing man, who was financially self – sufficient, with a vision for his future and was confidant in himself,also one my children will gradually respect and accept.For this to happen i had to create room in my mind,in my physical space and daily routine.

Becoming single again can easily get you into bad habits such as waking up whenever you want,not keeping your home tidy,no meal time routine,overspending,having no time curfew for people to visit your home and hanging unto friends that just want to talk and waste your time all day.

So i decided even in my grief to maintain the routine i had while my late husband was still alive for my children and i.This made it easier for me to incorporate additional improvements such as a healthier food content,more exercise,less crowds, selecting just a safe set of close friends around me and focusing clearly on the needs of my children.

I also transformed my living space,making it newer and it certainly looks fresh.I removed all old furniture that reminded me of our past and replaced with contemporary fittings.Thank God i was finally able to afford my renovations.

Each step of the way i sought God’s counsel in prayer once i had written my specific plans and objectives.Each materialised in season.It has been and still is an amazing journey.

Meeting a new companion to walk in my future at the time was a distant dream, yet l hoped and prayed continuously that this would come to past.

For Example, what would my future companion look like and what qualities did l want in him. Then I took this into my prayer closet.

This means to those of you that are not Christians, praying (talking) about my listed needs to God in private.

After 5 years of being widowed i began to feel i was ready emotionally to seek a new relationship.Exercise kept me physically and emotionally strong so i maintained a rigid routine of walking,cycling, pilates and eating more pulses and less red meat.

I explored the best social setting in which to interact and socialise.

I opened myself to invitations to weddings, birthday parties and small social gatherings. I found it too obvious to attend single church events as they were full of much younger people.

The former strengthened my confidence and courage as l was able to socialise without being accompanied.

Yet I was comfortable enough to enjoy such outings. I learnt the importance of loving my own company. This is key when you want to start another relationship.

The trap we fall into unconsciously when we have been married for many years is to get used to having a male companion with you at all social events. So, when you lose a spouse you can feel like a part of you is truly missing.

You must gain courage to step out to interact in natural settings again. Once you succeed at the first attempt it feels less scary to do it again and again. Sometimes the company of a friend really helps in the initial stages.

When unsuccessful strides are made at these settings it is important to explore other ways of meeting people. A most popular option these days is online dating, a mind field for many yet the way of the world currently. This would require stepping your Courage up a gear or two.

It is important to confide in someone you trust when you start navigating on line dating as this person should guide and give you perspective etc.Perhaps one who has previously succeeded via this medium or Coaches/ Mentors in this area.

The most important thing is to decide which site to go on – as there are so many. What helps though is there appears to be sites that meet most needs. E.g. Widow/widower, Christian, Professional etc This narrows the demographics for you.

So, if you are a Christian perhaps narrow it down to Christian websites. Word of warning though, not everyone on these sites are who they say they are, as many hide behind a screen and spout fake platitudes. So, listen to the content of their replies and how they answer your important questions.

Be very cautious not to form imaginary emotional ties in your head before meeting the person. Do not chat too long (after 3 to 4 weeks of chatting) you need to arrange to meet them in a safe and public space. The initial meet also requires another level of Courage – just remember to tell at least someone of your arrangement/venue of meeting your blind date.   

Signing off now – there is hope after loss!

THE PAST

I have learnt from my life experiences that the ability to forgive self and others is a spiritual gift. Our pain and life disappointments can make it difficult to let go of the past to forgive. Sometimes we try to forget yet never really forgive.

The act of Forgiveness is to be expressed and exercised in different situations.For example when hurt from loss, when others hurt us unaware, personal pain that creates guilt or not letting go of our past.

We have to find a way to forgive ourselves first and hopefully forgiving others will come gradually.Some hurts cut very deep,seemingly impossible to move on from and forgive.Yet hurts that we do not let go of affect our ability to move forward in to a stronger future.

The loss of a spouse can create feelings of not being able to forgive and yet a need to find absolution from it. The feelings of being abandoned by a late spouse can result in carrying issues that you can not let go of.

Nearly 7 years has passed since my loss, i have only in the last few months been able to verbally express that i forgive my Spouse for passing away and leaving me with two children to raise by myself.

I was not aware i harboured such feelings until i confessed my thoughts at that moment.Since then I feel free from the unconscious burden of guilt i carried.

I have constantly prayed for the Lord to give me the gift of forgiveness – when you experience this it enables you to voice hidden grievances you are not aware you hold.Memories of pain start to fade gradually.

Forgiving allows you to move on naturally and it opens you to hope,love and Joy.

This gives you a natural expectation to live and plan for a new future.

Signing off now,there is Hope after loss.

THE INTENT

To survive from the deepest grief there must come from your inner core an expressed desire termed the conscious intent.

The intent to live a life, a different life from the one you had with your late husband must come from you. If not, you will find many reasons for not wanting to wake up in the morning or not see a reason to continue living.

In the previous blog the focus was on setting a daily routine in small steps. By 3 month -6 months this should be hard clad and working at least to a schedule of twice to three times a week.

The next thing now is to start focusing on self, look at yourself and examine what you want and how to get what you want for your future. This will have to start with defining who you were before when your Spouse was with you, and who you want to be in the future.

Start with your perspective of self – how real have I been to myself in the past, and how real can I be in my future. The question is what do I really want, what makes me really thrive in my life and what are my likes and dislikes.

Refining and reevaluating your potential to earn financial value for your skills becomes more important as the sole bread winner for your home.

Open your mind to other ways of making other streams of income that doesn’t have to be a 9-5 job.Perhaps earning from home,maximising automation = technology/your computer.If you are not in the know acquire a new skill as mentioned.

Make a list of skills you have,pick each one and how to modify them.E.g. I had to examine the work I was doing at the time my late husband died, looking closely at my role and honestly pick from the varying segments of what I really enjoyed.

After doing this I decided to enhance my skills in that area by study, self development, refreshing current skills and exploring alternative avenues of expressing it away from my paid job.

So, if it’s talking to people or counselling people,that you enjoy perhaps start in your local community by setting up an on line coffee chat using many of the free on line packages.

Or set a group up of like-minded people recovering from grief in your Church or local club on line. With the Covid 9 lock down around the world you can create on line content on your specialist areas e.g. Art, engaging older people, fitness etc

This is not always easy – as you will be stepping out into the new and this is where you must be strong and courageous. You have to draw from your inner strength that is what has enabled you to survive adversity to date.

From this self realisation should come a certain amount of hope – a feeling of having nothing much to lose but to gain.

Immediately you step to discuss your intentions with another person it starts to come alive and real.

I was fortunate to be able to return to a Group I had started before my late husband passed. Though it was not completely spiritually relevant to my current situation , it gave me a focus and time to pass the baton and closure, plus confidence to explore another venture in which to help people.

A hobby can soon turn into a stream of income by refining your skill and making it current to your market audience.

The giving of your time to something you love, to fill others and this gradually heals the hollowness of loss.

Signing off now – there is always hope after loss.