As a young entrepreneur, I thought it was my job to really be the example of stoicism, to be the example to my staff and to my team and to the rest of the professional world of how controlled I was. The way I would do it is by putting a mask on, and we all put masks on at times. Over time, we learn to shed those more often, but, back then, I was a young entrepreneur and a young business owner on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, California, the youngest business owner at that time. When I was there, I really bottled everything in and make, “Everything’s great,” and tell everybody, “Things were fine,” and try and take care of everybody.
What would happen is I would get so built up that I would go around and I would just explode. Obviously, just like everybody, I would only explode on the people that were closest to me. I would only let them see that side. I’d get exhausted. I was tired. I’d be, built up, pent-up frustrations and anger at staff, business, but really angry at myself, but anger at things going on, and I would just hold it in, hold it in, hold it in, and it seemed like every six months or so, I would just explode, and it usually resulted, for me, at that young age of going out, being exhausted and tired, having some drinks. My inhibitions were lower, some cocktails with friends or beer at the time, and then going out and then coming home and just exploding on whoever was around me, and I wouldn’t do anything violent. It was just me just being mean. I was a jerk at the time, and it just wasn’t really who I was.
The problem was I was just holding everything in. I wasn’t really releasing it. I was working out, which is a great release, but I wasn’t releasing it emotionally, and I thought, “Hey, that’s what men do. We don’t cry.” What we do is we can get aggressive, and that’s just how we do. We handle our problems. “You got a problem with me? Hey, let’s step outside and we’ll talk. We’ll handle it.” It was one of those machismo attitudes that I grew up with, and I thought that was the right way to go.
Well, recently, I had a very close friend of mine, almost like a brother, and he was experiencing the same thing. Yet, he was a little bit more mature, but he had something where built up frustration and pented up anger, and whatever was going on in his personal life, his Five to Thrive started to crumble and he was holding it in, and he was carrying all this weight, this emotional weight on his shoulders, and he is an extremely strong person, a loving individual, but one night, he exploded, had too much to drink, as happens with some people, and then all the sudden just let his world and started burning it down, started crumbling, not literally burning it, but started going after people aggressively, and did this through different mediums, not physically, but different mediums.
We’ve all done this in different ways where we have pent-up frustrations or anger. Maybe you do it in your body. Maybe what you do is you hold these emotions in, you’re not releasing them, and then you go, you walk to the cupboard and you eat a cookie. Well, not a cookie. We eat a bag of cookies. We eat the whole thing, or chips or containers. Give me the nachos. Give me the pizza. Give me the cookies. Give me it. You just start shoving your face, and, before you know it, next thing you know, you feel sick and worse is you feel horrible about yourself.
Maybe it’s in the area of business. Maybe you’re just holding you’re, just like, “Yes, sir. Yes, sir. No problem. I’ll get it down. Yep.” You’re talking to your clients. You’re talking to your staff. Maybe you’re not a business owner. You’re talking to your boss. “Sure, I’ll get it done. Sure, I’ll work weekends. Sure, I’ll work later.” You hold it in, and, eventually, you just throw everything out and we say, “Forget this. I’m outta here.” You burn your clients out and you tell them off. You tell your staff or your boss off. You just don’t show up one day, and you burn it down.
The reason we do this is that we haven’t slowly released. We’re holding all this pent-up emotion that can show up in physical injuries, by the way, without releasing it. How do we do this constructively?
Well, the first thing to do is start by journaling. Journaling is an easy and quick way of doing things. Journaling allows us to express ourselves and get our ideas out. It’s a great way to better yourself, too, but it allows you to put things down. Pen to paper, actually, is the best way to do it. There’s a kinesthetic response to actually writing things down, so journaling.
I also recommend meditation or at least sitting still. Meditation, for some of us, and I do what’s called the walking meditation. It’s part of my practice, is going outside in nature. That really clears my mind and allows me to release emotion. It just fills me up with clean air.
Talking out with people. I’ve gotten to the age where I’m mature enough to realize that real men, real strong men, actually do cry. Real strong men explain their emotions because they’re not scared of them. I realized that all the things that I was told, I was scared what people would think of me. What would people think of me if I said, “No.” What would people think of me if I cried? What would people think of me if I was emotional? Not just emotions of aggression and calmness, but other emotions that are expressed across a rainbow of the spectrum of emotions that we as human beings possess.
As I’ve done that and become more open and vulnerable, what’s happened around me wasn’t people shunning or judging me. It was actually people coming forward and talking to me, especially men, and now, at this stage in my life, husbands, business owners, telling me, “Wow, I don’t hear people talk about that, Doug,” or, “Here’s what’s going on for me,” and then, “I just didn’t know anybody else was talking about it or experienced it, as well.”
We often feel like we’re on our own island. We feel like what’s going on only is happening to me, no one else. It’s just not true. We’re all human beings, not human doings, human beings, and we’re being in this environment together.
I’m going to encourage you to do those things. The first thing I’d recommend is journaling. Every morning, I write out my Five to Thrive, and I write down what I want to do and what’s going on in those areas for me, but I also just journal what’s happening. Bonus points if you journal first thing in the morning, the first thing you do, and the last thing you do before you go to bed. You get bonus points for me. I’ll just go ahead and give you some points right now, paying up front. Then, also, like I said, sitting quietly.
Of course, there are other things you can do. If you have questions about other options, go over to the Author of Your Own Story community and reach out. You’ll get hundreds of responses from amazing people around the world who are on a journey just like you, bettering themselves. Again, I thank you for doing that.
Of course, share this with at least three people that you know that would give you conversations that matter, people you care for and people that you want to have deeper conversations and relationships with. Last, but not least, go out and inspire somebody, simply by being the Author of Your Own Story. I’ll see you tomorrow.
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