Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Trying to Reframe Experiences and Emotions

I almost ruined the 4th of July parade in Cody for my family. It's true and I cringe with embarrassment and shame. I had a couple bad experience as we waited for the parade to start that really upset me. So much was riding on the parade for me emotionally, and it was hard to control my reactions to little events. Let me explain why.

In Cody, Wyoming, the Fourth of July festivities are a BIG deal. They have parades for three days and we aren't talking dinky little parades. We are talking huge parades with lots of floats, lots of horse entries, and bands. One of the biggest rodeos of the year is held over the same three days. All the shops in town are decorated really well. The entire atmosphere in this little town over the 4th of July is electric. Most people who grew up in Cody love this holiday and love to spend it in Cody. Tourists, former residents, and residents alike join in celebrating this special day.

In all my years living abroad, I never felt sad about missing Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's abroad. But every year that I missed Independence Day in my hometown, I cried. New York has very few celebrations around the holiday so I have suffered for years. In fact, it has been 6 six years since I have attended a real Cody, WY Independence Day Celebration. I wanted my kids to experience some of the same magic I felt as a kid. I wanted them to understand why I felt so strongly about the holiday. The morning of the parade as we staked out seats I was excited and anxious.

I was also kind of ready to snap and snap I did when things didn't go as anticipated or planned. It took a lot of effort to calm down and look at the situations clearly to see my fault and also to move forward. I didn't want to ruin the event for me or my kids. It's hard to admit when you are at fault. It's hard to calm down with anxiety, anger, and frustration flood your emotions.

I'm not even sure how I managed it that day. After we left the parade, I spent a lot of time thinking how I need to learn how to defuse my own emotions and reactions to situations so I don't ruin things for myself or for my family. The truth is, I don't really know how to do that. I hope to find some wisdom and clarity about this.

Have you experienced a moment where you ruined something for yourself because of your reaction? Have you learned to regulate your emotions and reactions to reframe an experience? Any thoughts on this?


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