Emotional people are amazing. Some cry during movies because they are vulnerable to let even fictional empathy pull at their heart strings. They are the people who see you suffering even when you think no one can understand. They are the people who genuinely say, “You are not alone.”
I am emotional, and I wish I could help others feel loved, but something gets in my way. It’s a burner that gets ignited by criticism or even imagined opposition. It is emotional instability, and it often appears as egotism or narcissism to other people.
I blame my emotional instability for just about every failure I can remember. Whether I was smart enough or strong enough never held me back. It was always a wave of anxiety that took over my impulses, threw caution to the wind, and burned the bridges I had carefully built.
This year, for example, I had the profound honor to serve as president of a local club. I was floored by the opportunity. I felt like a little kid sitting on my father’s lap in our 1980’s station wagon, trying to reach the 2 and 10 positions of the steering wheel. I was most certainly promoted beyond my skill level while being given a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.
I would like to believe I did at least a few things in the last year that someone will remember positively. Most important to me, I took the position to help my best friend live her dream of leading the club as Vice President. She was hesitant and fearful the more experienced members of the club would not respect her and stifle her efforts. I volunteered to take the reigns of the club to ensure she had every door open to her. And, she lived up to my faith. Her contributions to the club and reputation are higher than either of us imagined. She booked for the club some of its best contributors in recent history.
I won’t be remembered fondly by everyone. I was crass on a few occasions. I was hard on at least one volunteer, and even though the rest of the board fully supported and mostly agreed with my actions regarding that one volunteer, I still reflect on that experience and wish I had not spewed quit as much vitriol.
Bridges have been burned in every club primarily because of my emotional instability. I have been kicked out of church groups, brought shame upon my family, and I am sure I am on more than one list for people to never talk to again.
I am embarrassed and haunted by every time I have put my foot in my mouth and for every relationship I have ruined.
So, why am I airing this dirty laundry?
I believe others can feel alienated by their emotional instability as well. If you feel alone, I want you to know that you aren’t alone at all. You are not uniquely unloveable or flawed. Your emotions are welcome and loved. The instability is the part to improve upon. Know there are people who believe in you now, just as you are. They also believe you can stabilize your emotions.
I don’t know you, but I believe we can all, with the right approach, stabilize our emotions. And when we do, I believe there is a world of joy and intimacy waiting for us with arms wide open.