Last week my drama kids performed so brilliantly in; “The Magic Tree”, all their hard work, rehearsing, and prepping beforehand really paid off! They performed with confidence, and shone on stage, I couldn’t be more prouder of them as their “drama mama”.
As the weeks were building up towards opening night, a reoccurring line that kept being thrown towards me from parents and the teachers was:
“Why are you so calm? Are you freaking out on the inside? You always look so calm!”
I should have been freaking out like an emotionally unstable mad woman. Instead, I chose to be calm, and fought against my natural default setting, which is reacting in an emotionally volatile way. #glasscageofemotions HA!
Although, everything around me felt: busy, overwhelming, and crazy with endless to do lists, I still felt calm, and emotionally stable, heck, I even had the time and energy to smile and laugh as I embraced the crazy!
When we feel pressure, stress, or anxious, we end up emotionally overreacting to things. We may even feel out of control emotionally, and become; snappy, guarded, defensive, and a bit emotionally unstable.
Emotionally reacting can be: volatile, explosive, destructive, and it can hurt others, as well as yourself in the process.
I have both Greek and Italian blood running through my DNA, and Mediterranean blooded folk are known for being emotional, and for being VERY emotionally expressive. I feel emotions strongly, and I used to be quite explosive (volatile) with it, and I would emotionally react almost immediately, and say and do things without any logical reasoning, which hurt many others, and I never benefited from that behavior.
It was destructive, and selfish in hindsight. It may have felt good for a short while reacting in the moment to it, but truth be told, it left me feeling even worse, if not embarrassed for behaving in such a manner afterwards.
Over the years I have had to learn to reign in my emotions, and to calmly assess, and logically process what I was feeling and why, and then train myself to respond in a wise loving manner, even if it meant going against my natural emotionally charged default setting.
Which wasn’t easy to do at first, but it has now become second nature to me. Now, when I have to deal with emotionally stressful situations, I know how to filter through it without it negatively (or personally) effecting me, and then still being able to choose a better response. Which in turn changes the situation around, and positively changes the atmosphere, and influences those around me for the good.
BACK to the week of the school show:
Emotions were running high. Some parents / teachers / kids were emotionally excited, nervous, stressed, and everyone reacts / responds so differently under pressurizing situations, but because I chose to remain: calm, confident, and excited around my drama kids, it made them feel at ease, confident, comfortable, calm and excited for their show.
Because they are under my care, my job as their teacher/ mentor, and leader is to make them feel calm, comfortable, and confident in who they are and what they are doing. If I am losing the plot and losing my mind, chances are they will too.
I also think, because I have been teaching for over a decade, I’ve also learnt that there are so many things that are beyond our control, that we need to choose to let go of. For example: there may / may not be tech issues on the night, costumes or props may break, an actor may / may not be sick on the night…etc,
Those things “fears, and little worries” are out of my control, therefore, I let it go, and choose to be present in the moment with my drama kids, and celebrate the present moments with them.
That’s why the weeks leading up to a show, I felt calm, because I know that I have done my best, and that the rest is all up to God.
Therefore, I walk in confidence, and celebrate the fact that I have the honour of writing and directing stories that can makes others; smile, laugh and feel encouraged, whilst building the confidence of little people! WOW!!!
CHANGE THE WAY YOU RESPOND
Here are a few little key steps that have helped me when navigating through emotional chaos, and have helped me to constantly choose peace, kindness, and joy, even when everything around me feels crazy, and a bit emotionally overwhelming:
CHOOSE TO SEEK OUT PEACE
- It’s easy to go to war with every second person. It’s easy to feel angry, and to respond out of an angry space. YET, when we choose to seek out peace in every situation, we find a quicker resolve.
PAUSE FOR A MOMENT / BREATHE / REFLECT/ THEN CHOOSE TO RESPOND WISELY
- When I start to feel overwhelmed and a bit panicky, I find a quiet little spot somewhere, and I focus on just breathing slowly. That in turn causes me to feel a bit more present, and calmer. I then process what the cause of my stress is, and look at it in a more logical way, and seek out ways to outwork it all in calm manner.
CHOOSE TO SPEAK : LIFE, JOY, HOPE AND CONFIDENCE OVER YOUR SITUATIONS
- When we feel anxious, we can easily start speaking “panic, doom & gloom, fear, failure” over our situations. Which makes us feel more emotionally charged, and we start to emotionally react in panic, when we should instead choose to speak : love, calm, hope, and joy over our situations!
- Seeking out solutions to the things or to our problems that causes panic and stress, can help to ensure that you feel more in control, and like you have a goal to work towards.
LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL
- Easier said than done, right? Holding onto all the “WHAT IF’S” is so exhausting, and is a wasted emotion, and wasted energy. Focus on what is in your control, do it well, and trust that your best is enough, and that God can take care of all the other details and what if’s that consume.
LET LOVE LEAD, LET LOVE WIN
- When we choose to emotionally react to things and others, we are actually choosing to be selfish, prideful, and we are choosing to respond and love others out of a place of fear. However, if we choose to respond to others in a way that leads to peace, resolve, joy, hope, and faith, then that will always change the atmosphere for the good, and it will let LOVE LEAD in our actions.
- One of my favourite Bible verses that was spoken at our wedding is: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which speaks of what perfect love is / and what it is not. This has been my go to verse, that has often reminded me to choose love time and time again in EVERY SITUATION, which in turn has helped me to grow in all things love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.