today, I cried not knowing why. I feel sad all of a sudden recalling things that make me frustrated. for instance, I felt useless because I cannot play archery well compared to my friends and was afraid of them judging me, I go crazy and mad at myself when I’m late to school even if it was my first time. One time, I cried badly for someone putting a neutral rating on my work in poly even though they accidentally did it. I feel stressed about these small issues and I don’t want that feeling to get me every day. It’s suffocating. I think I’m weak-willed and most of the time I get through this frustration by increasing my faith spiritually, listening to music and do blogging. How do I get over these small issues? It gives me anger issues that I would either vent my anger to someone else or keep myself really quiet till someone notices. I feel very inferior to myself.
Dear @passiongirl, I’d like to firstly thank you for coming forward and sharing your feelings with me. It sure does sound like you’re going through a lot of emotions at the moment. I’d like to let you know that it’s okay to let out your feelings every once in a while, and if that means getting in a good cry for you, then by all means. We all need an outlet for our emotions and this can take many different forms.
You realising that you’ve been easily irritable and taking the initiative to manage this is a great start. Often, sweating the small stuff can be an indication of something bigger that’s underlying the stress and frustration. Here are a couple of things that you could do to help you better manage these stressors:
1. Identify your triggers.
I’m wondering if there’s a common theme between the situations that trigger these emotions in you? Perhaps you could start by thinking about what it was in these situations that evoked such feelings within you – was it a sense of criticism, or maybe a fear of evaluation? Also consider if you had been sleep-deprived or hungry in these situations. Sometimes, a general lack of self-care could make us more easily ticked off by things that would have probably seemed small otherwise. If you are able to identify what had triggered you in these situations and get a better sense of the circumstances surrounding these triggers, you could then work on managing yourself better when similar situations arise in the future. Try to take note of the thoughts in your mind in these situations. You could then evaluate these thoughts by asking questions such as, “Is there substantial evidence for my thought?” and “Is there evidence contrary to my thought?”. You may refer to this worksheet (1) for a detailed template to do this. Importantly, I’d like for you to try to look back at these situations from the lens of learning from such experiences, rather than to punish yourself for reacting the way that you had.
2. Practice self-compassion
From your brief sharing, it sounds like you place pretty high expectations on yourself. While this is important to some extent to motivate us to become better versions of ourselves, being overly critical of ourselves can have very detrimental effects on our mental well-being. Sometimes, when we impose high expectations on ourselves and we feel like we fall short of meeting these expectations, the sense of anger towards ourselves could manifest as anger and frustration with others. If you feel like this is something you can relate to, then I’d like to share the notion of self-compassion with you. Self-compassion is the idea of accepting yourself for who you are and coming to terms with the fact that you are a work in progress, with strengths and weaknesses. I’d like you to take a step back and think about the way that you speak to yourself. You may refer to this post (2) for more resources and exercises to help you be more gentle with yourself. We also have a mindfulness-based directed self-compassion exercise here that you could try (3).
3. Practice self-care
Sometimes, when we’re not taking care of ourselves, we can become cranky and very easily triggered by every little thing. I can imagine how tiring it can get to be devoting your energy to multiple things simultaneously – school work, archery, and your personal life, just to name a few. It is important, however, to bear in mind that you cannot give from an empty cup. This self-care assessment worksheet (4) might allow you to get a rough sensing of whether a lack of self-care could have been contributing to the emotions that you’ve been feeling and give you some inspiration on other self-care activities that you could incorporate into your daily life. You mentioned that you’ve been blogging – that’s great, writing can be a great way to help you process your emotions! You could consider referring to these self-care journaling prompts (5) that you could use when writing your posts to help you better understand your needs.
If you find yourself struggling to process these feelings and thoughts on your own, or the frequency of outbursts increases, I would advise you to approach your school counsellor or a mental health Professional to speak about this at greater length. Meanwhile, I hope this gives you some idea of what you can do to manage the emotions that you’ve been experiencing. The resources are linked below. Please take care of yourself and stay safe.
(5) Self Care Journal Prompts For When Times Are Tough - Simply + Fiercely