The Free Motion Quilting Project: Fear or Excitement? Emotion Confusion

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fear or Excitement? Emotion Confusion

It’s Saturday, my new favorite day of the week because it’s time to share another Light Up Your Life video and post! I can’t tell you how much this new series is lighting up my life and I have a fun story to share with you this week about fear and excitement.


 
Feeling Fear

I’m no stranger to feeling fear. No matter how many online classes I teach, no matter how many times I shoot a video, I always feel a kick of fear before jumping into a big event.

In high school I was a bass drummer in the marching band and we would regularly lead the band in cadence onto the field to compete. I got used to feeling afraid, but not letting that fear lock me in place. I really had no choice -  I could ruin the performance or keep moving and flowing with my feelings.

Just recently I had a new epiphany. I was getting packed up (always a stressful time) and feeling really overwhelmed and anxious and made myself stop and check in. Are my arms and legs still attached to my body? Is everything working okay? Am I having a heart attack? Nope. Then I’m okay. No matter what is going on, physically I’m okay.

Then I realized I’m also GOING to be okay. I’ll get through this stressful packing situation, I’ll get to Denver, I’m going to be okay.

So I just started saying that over and over: I’m okay and I’m going to be okay. 

Later I spent some time digging into the emotions I was feeling and began to digest a new idea – I’m not actually afraid. I’m excited! 

Who's that weirdo jumping with excitement?

Adults don’t show excitement, unless we’re wiling to look crazy and slightly immature. James shows excitement by jumping up and down, dancing around, throwing himself on the floor, and rolling around. I rarely express excitement more than a big smile.

So where is all that energy going? Clearly excitement is a POSITIVE way to feel, so why are we suppressing it so hard? Why not dancing around and punch the air – excitement is a rare, fun thing!

But it doesn’t get expressed, and tapping into how I was feeling this week made me realize – I might be running the risk of letting my excitement get misinterpreted as fear. Feeling excited makes my heart race and my hands sweat, but so does fear.

So that’s my story for this week - be careful not to misinterpret excitement as fear. Instead, let your freak flag fly and express it openly, with your whole heart (and arms, and legs, and voice) and relish the feeling of excitement.

I hope this post has helped light your life today! Share your thoughts and any questions in the comments below!

Leah Day

11 comments:

  1. Leah, you are right. That feeling is all from Adrenalin and how we label it is how we interpret it. All from a chemical natural in our bodies. HIH

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    1. Definitely true Sharon! Adrenalin feels great or terrible, depending entirely on your frame of mind.

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  2. Terrific post! I know what you mean about suppressing the display of excitement. I know I do that. I think it is because, while I am always very happy to see other people excited and happy about something in their lives, I have had the experience many times of someone trying to burst my own excitement bubble. I think jealousy has lots to do with it. I have my own set of the deadly sins, but I have never been an envious or jealous person. I don't see life as a zero sum game where if you get yours, then I won't get mine. You strike me as a very non-jealous person too. And then there are the worry warts who think that if something good just happened, then something bad is right around the corner. It's tough to share excitement with those people too. I guess we just need to find our safe people, who will rejoice in our happiness, and then return the favor as needed. :)

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    1. That's a really good point - do I suppress my excitement when I'm all alone? Do I only contain myself when I'm around other people who might be jealous or a Negative Nelly? I guess I am more likely to dance around when I get great news and I'm by myself! It's a good idea to then make the time to celebrate privately in as silly a way as possible just to let the emotions out, or as you said - with safe people who get it!

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  3. Thank you for this insightful blog post and video. My way of dealing with the stress/fear/excitement of a trip is to just not think about it until the last minute. I miss out on the pleasure of anticipation and create unnecessary stress with last minute packing. I'm working on it. Love that you marched with a bass drum! You look great and I hope you had a chance to enjoy yourself in Denver!

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    1. I do exactly the same think Lynn! But last minute packing is SO stressful that most of the time I really am channeling fear as I pack up in a massive hurry. Really gotta work on that one!

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  4. Leah, If we didn't have fear we would become complacent and we would never experience anything new or different. I wouldn't like to live that way. You have so much with your sewing, lecturing and now all the video archives you have. Life is to be celebrated and all the fears and excitement are part of it. Celebrate each day you have earned it. Chris

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    1. Absolutely! I'm not advising to avoid being afraid, but just know WHAT you're actually feeling. It's sometimes hard to figure out - excited? happy? fearful? overboard thrilled? without stopping and checking to see what's really going on.

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  5. Wow, great insight regarding how kids express emotions honestly, and at some point in our development that's not ok anymore. We get funny looks, are told to calm down, or that we're acting like children (so what?), or geeks, or we must be bipolar, etc. etc. etc. Maybe that's just envy on the part of those who perhaps are not so excited at the time? I don't know, but if shoving *negative* emotions down and internalizing them isn't good for us, then maybe failing to express *positive* emotions can be less than healthy, too. I just never thought about it that way until I saw your video today. Great job! And so poised and eloquent, too.

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  6. Thank you so much Linda! Yes, I think expression of emotions is key. Whether it's negative or positive, all emotions are valid. Extreme anger, sadness, and even happiness can be hard for other people to stomach because we're all supposed to be "just fine" all the time. I really appreciate your compliments about the videos!

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  7. Hi Leah, I am so happy to have seen this video today. A month ago I spoke for the first time at a guild and I was so happy to do it but I spent the day making myself almost sick over it. I wish I had realized that what I was feeling was excitement and not fear. I think I could have saved myself much angst had I taken a minute to figure out what was going on. Great series, thanks for the insight!

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