I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends who recently enjoyed a week-long Spring Break. When I asked about how she was doing, she described experiencing a sense of dread just before she went back to work.
She said she fought through her emotions by telling herself that in this economy, she should be grateful to even have a job. Furthermore, she told me that she was behind on grading her exams, but told herself that by putting them off to the last minute, she was able to quickly “jump back into the swing of things.”
After she finished, I belted out, ”That’s bull!”
“Yes! That’s bull.” You know—the stuff we try to avoid when we attend the Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo!
See, I have known my friend for nearly thirty years. True to her early days as our High School Cheerleading Captain, she remains one of the most positive, fun-loving, and energetic educators I know! She loves learning, teaching, and sharing with others—she loves her work!
“I just think your sense of dread was an unconscious message that you put off grading.”
“I don’t know.”
“Think about it. If you were all caught up and didn’t procrastinate, you would have been energized and happy to return to class—as you usually are.”
“Well, maybe you’re right. Now that I think about it, I didn’t feel this way before Spring Break and my negative feelings began to leave once I started grading the exams.”
I could certainly relate to my friend. After all, I recently woke up with a similar sense of dread. But before attempting to bridle my feelings and force the negative ones to be subdued by the positive, I asked, “What is this feeling trying to say to me?”
I had a number of things to do and realized that my sense of overwhelm was an indication that something on my agenda was misaligned. I quickly listed my responsibilities. Then, I shifted, focused on my chief priorities and sketched a plan of attack. Like my friend, my disturbing emotions subsided as I began to work on the things that were most important. In place of dread was a sense of peace—an internal signal that I was back on track. The next day, I woke up feeling rested and excited about beginning a new day!
Take a moment to assess your feelings. Do you feel confused, sad, anxious, or angry or do you feel energized, peaceful, and full of life? Before you overlook, dismiss or even try to control your emotions ask yourself, “What are my feelings trying to tell me today?”