What if you are not going crazy?
It’s a diagnosis we so easily hand out to ourselves and others any time emotions burst out uncontrollably. Or when we react to something in a socially unexpected and agreed way. Going crazy, nuts or neurotic are some of the not so nice judgements we use to describe this behaviour, and unfortunately the adjective tends to become a “part of us”. One that we hate, we’re ashamed of and know that we’re judged for.
Everyone shows different symptoms when something isn’t quite right. Some people hide like hermits, others have a crying fit every hour and some overindulge. Getting really angry and yelling for no real reason is also a common sign. When it comes to you, you might feel a constant and unexplainable tension or almost unbearable stress that makes you beep your horn angrily in traffic, send the woman at the cashier to hell or aggressively take things from your kid’s hands instead of patiently asking for them.
Whichever is you, odds are that your environment will react with shock, a lack of understanding, harsh comments and rejection, at which you’ll react with denial or defense, or perhaps you’ll sink into guilt and self-hatred knowing that you’re simply never going to be strong enough to control this “monster” within you.
I repeat: there’s a number of symptoms signaling that something’s not ok. But none of them necessarily mean that you are being crazy.
It is a lot more likely that you simply lost balance and you’re not where you’re meant to be. Maybe you want to do unrealistically much, or you’re trying to please conflicting expectations. Maybe your work is causing you remorse or you are losing yourself in your relationship. It can also be something as basic as your diet or lack of restorative sleep.
Whatever the cause, here’s some common mistakes we tend to do when we’re out of balance and some tips that you should follow instead to win back control over your emotions and behaviour.
1. Do not blame others
Sure, it happens that you are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. People do encounter rude helpdesk assistants or are sometimes snapped at by an upset family member. But if tense situations, quarrels and conflicts are a frequent part in your life, or you have the impression that the whole world conspires against you, there’s a high chance that there’s something in your energy that contributes to these instances happening.
2. Don’t accept and don’t do name-calling
“What can I do? I’m hysterical, neurotic, over-sensitive and impossible to please”. With these comfortable diagnosis I’m free of the possibility and responsibility of change. After all, that’s who I am, I was even told as a child there’s nothing I can do about it. If you identify yourself with your bad habitual ways of thinking and behaving, thinking of these as “attributes” and “traits”, you won’t leave much room for improvement.
3. Don’t be “good” like others expect you
You have a prestigious job, beautiful house, sports car, wife, kids, dogs – you have NO RIGHT to be unhappy. If you feel that something isn’t right, do not allow other people’s envy and the guilt you are feeling over this to stop you from facing your emotions and gaining clarity. You can easily find that for all this wealth and abundance you are actually paying for with your soul in a horrible work or marital situation. I know this is extremely scary but sometimes you can’t avoid questioning the core beliefs that serve as the foundations to your life, and instead leave the situation, even if that move is received with complete incomprehension.
6. As you might have heard already: when in a hole, stop digging.
Just because you wanted it doesn’t mean it can’t totally suck! Or perhaps it served you well for a while, but the time has come for something new. We often insist to our past decisions because of vanity or fear but if you are being 100 % honest to yourself, you must admit that things need to change. Don’t be afraid to step out and let go!
5. Don’t change before you know WHAT EXACTLY needs to be changed!
This one is super important. Often quitting feels easier than changing. You don’t want to think, you don’t want to listen, you don’t want to discuss, you just want out. Unfortunately though, if you fail to understand the underlying reasons that lead to malfunctions in certain areas of your life, it’s is quite possible that you’ll attract the same situation or person, obviously in different forms, and sooner, rather than later you’ll find yourself in scarily similar settings.
Fine, so what you should do instead?
1. In every situation where you experience a lack of harmony, examine your own role and responsibility.
Then be concerned ONLY with that. Byron Katie’s super simple method is a great aid for this. Just simply ask:
Whose business is it that the lady at the cashier is upset? Hers.
It is more than possible to finish the story here and stay grounded and joyful, even if she’s yelling horrible things into your face in the meantime. But if you react with anger and yell back, that will immediately be your business. The sooner you learn to take full responsibility for your emotions and behaviour instead of blaming others, the more permanent peace, strength and harmony you’ll gain as a reward.
2. Stop calling yourself and others names!
There’s no such thing as “lazy”. There’s only habitual things you do in certain situations. If you still think you are lazy – just to stick with a simple example – start gathering counter-evidence! Write a list of all those instances when you show enormous efforts or finish something even if it’s hard. Thinking of your habits as traits is not only wrong because then you won’t want to challenge them, but also because everything you believe about yourself will subconsciously control your actions. It is much more useful to think of such traits as “bad habits”. That still won’t make it easy to change them, but the task will immediately feel less hopeless and more doable. Just decide on who you want to be and create habits that support becoming this person!
3. Think of the situation - and also your misbehaving - as a blessing!
Instead of shaming yourself for unwelcome reactions take this as a chance to learn and grow! Life wants to show you that there’s something you don’t see right, you are not being consequent about, there’s an excess or a shortage of something important. This is a powerful and benevolent force, and you’d better cooperate instead of resisting it!
4. Face the situation, and be brave to say what you want.
If tension has become constant, it’s almost certain that you cannot avoid a change, as your situation is becoming unbearable. It can even happen that life will simply stop offering you a choice for ignoring its signs all this time. Illnesses, break-ups, getting fired, just to mention the less tragic ways life can put a sudden end to an unsustainable life-cycle. Courage, awareness and regular self-assessment can help avoid becoming a passive victim of such forces.
5. Start being more authentic!
Clarify your most important values and start organizing your life in a way that your thoughts and actions are more aligned. Do not keep inner conflicts, hypocrisy and unworthy compromises.
What can you do if your loved one “is going crazy”?
I know this is hard, but try to not react with more anger to anger. Try to separate yourself emotionally, and to only react to the facts instead of the accusations. Look behind the snapping and see the inner fight, lack of balance, desperation and call for help, and offer your help if you can. For example, you can reassure them that they can talk to you openly without you getting upset or judging them, or if they are overwhelmed, offer some practical help so they can take a break. Not many things can come as a bigger surprise than the person I’m yelling at calmly telling me “listen, I can see you suffering and I want to help. How about we both calm down and find a way to work this out together?” Oh, and you can also send them this article of course.
By the way, this all counts for you too! For a soul out of balance the best remedy is open and honest understanding (when they don’t have to be careful not to hurt the listener with their honesty), acceptance and loving calmness.
I hope I could help and next time you find yourself in a similar situation you remember to implement some of the tips above.
In the meantime, here’s three questions for you to think about:
Right now where do you experience some lack of balance in your life? What is it that you have too much or too little of? What steps you can take to change this: today, this week/month/year?
Also, I’m preparing to do a 30 day-long authenticity challenge which is designed to help redefining our values and aligning our actions for more balance, inner peace and integrity. I invite you to participate and grab your free downloadable DISCOVER WHAT TRULY MATTERS FOR YOU playsheet.
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