Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Letter To Jack

Dear Jack,

Emotions are a tricky lot. Because of them, you have the sensitivity of an artist. But along with that, they make you feel like a raw wound. Jack, your emotions are integral to who you are. You need to embrace that fact and be at peace with that side of you.

There was a time when, like you, I thought that the only way to control my emotions was to bottle them up. Be stoic, act like a robot. I wished I could be a Vulcan like Spock, a triumphant example of the rational over the emotional.

It took a while for me to realize that being in control of my emotions is different from not feeling them. And that breakthrough happened when I realized that emotions are neither right nor wrong. Emotions are just that; you’re supposed to feel them, and that’s that. But what you do afterwards is something that is well within your control. The trick here is to not let your emotions determine your actions, and to do that you need to rely on your brain.

Before you act, think first. But before you can think properly, you need to let your emotions ebb first (thus the saying, never decide at the heat of intense emotion). This applies also to happy and positive emotions; euphoria may lead you to not think properly and make hasty decisions.

What you need to learn is how to manage your emotions.

Remember, intense emotions need an outlet. Often the outlet is something quite physical. So shout or hit something (preferably not someone). Find a room or a cliffside and yell it all out. Buy a boxing bag. Go to the gym and lift weights. Run. Pour your emotions out into that physical activity; eventually you will get tired physically and emotionally.

But after releasing those emotions, you will need to make sense of it all. That’s when your friends come in. Learn to pick out friends whom you can trust but who can also cut through your bullshit and speak truthfully to you.

Learning how to live and to be at peace with oneself takes a lifetime. You have your whole life ahead. Don’t be too much in a hurry, Jack. Things really do happen in their own good time. And even when things are cut short, we can always take comfort in the idea that they are as they should be.

Strangely, that’s not being fatalistic. That’s just being real.




Spiral Prince said...

Someone calls me Jack, Sir McVie, and though I'm sure that this wasn't really directed to me, it still applies. Thanks. :)

The Incursionist! said...

Oh, yes, emotions. I once, and sometimes still, succumb to these feelings.

But I always keep a certain mantra in my head.

"Never make decisions when your angry. Never make promises when your happy."

MarkB. said...

I think Jack is a pretty confused and complicated guy. What do you think bro?

joelmcvie said...

@MARK B: Yes, Jack is confused. But he is as complicated only as he chooses himself to be. =)

lorienimladris said...

This is one of the reasons why I have to check out your blog every so often-- these life lessons that you dispense unselfishly. You don't dish it out just so; Usually it's in the context of when you talk about your experiences or when you try to explain life's challenges to a friend or your significant other. You're awesome.