Emotional Stairs

Stairs Up

We seem to have an internal reward or satisfaction system. If things are done ‘right’ in our mind then we reward ourselves, even if its just subtle internal satisfaction – that ‘inner smile’. So when something works to plan with a positive result we may think/feel subconsciously:

Job done satisfactorily, reward level met, energy and balance restored, on to the next thing…

If we keep up this pace of satisfaction and reward we steadily climb the staircase of personal satisfaction and we maintain good physical and emotional balance.

Stairs Down

If, on the other hand, we don’t feel we have ‘done it right’ we don’t reward ourselves, and  if it seems to be a repeating theme, we may chastise and punish ourselves with negative self talk:

You can’t do anything right, – you’re incompetent!”

and on it goes.

In this ongoing negative cycle, rewards are rarely met and the energy is not built up, and at the end of the day we feel exhausted instead of restored. If we keep chastising ourselves, we keep ‘going down the emotional stairs’ to the darker places of our personality and emotions, often in an endless comparison loop of revisiting our negative thoughts, recollections and emotions.

Staying on the Level

So how can we change this? Simple: create ‘satisfaction’ breaks. Short intervals throughout the day where you pause and reflect neutrally on what you have done, for example:

I did that. I finished it and regardless of how I felt about it – its done and I completed it

You completed it within your energy and abilities. No one else is you, so don’t compare how someone else would have done it differently or better. “They” can’t be everywhere. You were there, you did it, you took on the tasks and risks and completed it. And whatever the sense or lack of satisfaction, that task has now been done and this is another moment.

Life is a series of moments, and we learn from each of these moments. We can’t know the answer and ‘right way’ for everything. First we have to arrive. Then do. Then reflect and move forward.

Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing – Winston Churchill