Emotional Management, My Inner Brat and Hurricane Irma

Ken Donaldson, Holly Thomas and Mom "Toughing It Out" During Irma

Ken Donaldson, Holly Thomas and Mom “Toughing It Out” During Irma

This is a real story about emotional management, and in some cases, the lack thereof.

It’s been a little over a week since Irma first hit the Florida Keys, and nearly as long since we were impacted here in Tampa Bay. The power was down in the area where we live, and after sticking out a few sweltering days and nights; we decided to get a hotel. We found this lovely place right on the Gulf of Mexico and we stayed there for 3 of the 6 days we were without power.

Ken Donaldson Sunset Redington Beach

Ken Donaldson and the Sunsets We Had to “Tolerate” at Our Hotel on Redington Beach

Along with no power, the temperature reached 90 during the day and 80 at night. Our food supply was running low and we used a charcoal grill for all of our cooking (including coffee). Add to that the wonderful natural high humidity of Florida and you can quickly understand the discomfort.

Ken Donaldson, Emotional Management, My Inner Brat and Hurricane Irma

Emotional Management, My Inner Brat and Hurricane Irma: Camping

Additionally, before Irma hit we had to evacuate my 92 year-old mother to our house from her assisted living facility since they were in a mandatory evacuation zone. I love my mom but I feel very inadequate about making sure she gets all her needs met, hence why she lives at an ALF. As it turned out, she had the time of her life, especially enjoying our non-institutionalized food.

Around the third day into the power outage I had an “inner brat attack.” Whining, feeling sorry for myself, frustrated, irritable and very restless are the primary symptoms of these attacks. Fortunately, as I’ve grown and become more aware, I don’t have these nearly as often as I used to.

Ken Donaldson Torn Screen

Ken Donaldson’s Major Damage: A Torn Screen That Took 15 Minutes To Fix

I blasted out some unnecessary and inappropriate comments on Facebook about how poorly the power company was responding. Within minutes I had a couple of friends respond to my post. They very delicately (they must have realized the inner brat attack) reminded me of how fortunate we were compared to so many who lost so much. One friend actually scolded me a bit.

And that scolding was exactly what I needed to snap me back into being an adult.

I removed my post and replaced it with the following:

Thanks for the feedback. I’m grateful for all I do have and I apologize for my complaints when I have so much. That was very insensitive and selfish of me. My inner spoiled brat just came to the surface and he can be rather ugly at times. MY bad. Thanks again. Going to go do my gratitude reading and writing. Blessings to all.

I share that with humility, not with any bragging of my wonderful willingness to take responsibility for my shortcomings.

And as I took a deeper view, I also had to chuckle at my chronic and terminal humanness. Not only the inner brat attack, but also my primary roles as a mental health clinician and executive coach, as it’s my job to help people with their emotional management. The very tools I teach I forgot to use on myself. How human of me.

I was unmanaged with my own emotional management.

And here’s where I’d like to ask you a question: When you’re under pressure and unexpected change and chaos hit, how well does your personal emotional management system work?

It’s most beneficial to be proactive with your emotional management system. Practice makes permanent.

Here are the basics (in case you’ve forgotten):

Identify what the emotions are. This seems simple, and yet many people have no idea what it is that they’re truly feeling. When you know what the emotion is, it’s easier to manage.
Know where in your body you’re feeling it. It helps to know where you’re feeling an emotion physically to help identify what it is. The sooner you feel it, the sooner you can intervene on yourself.
Have some preplanned options to express, vent or discharge the emotions. Breathing consciously and slowly may be one of the most powerful self-intervention emotional management tools we have. Talking about it and doing something physical are also healthy options.

We live in a culture that does a poor job of helping us to become more emotionally savvy. Our collective emotional intelligence isn’t what it could be. However, emotional intelligence, unlike IQ, can be improved.

Emotional management is key to achieve success at work, in your all relationships and at home.

And if your inner brat happens to get triggered, comes to the surface, and begins to act out, consider it an opportunity. The only way we ever grow is to experience our challenges and see our shortcomings.

It helps to have a support network that’ll help out too, even, and especially, if they are Facebook friends.

Marry YourSelf First! and strengthen your emotional management skills.