When you get tense, it’s probably because a part of you is pushing themselves. Maybe they’re saying things like, “Just need to keep calm, keep calm, keep calm…” “Just keep calm… maybe look at some websites, maybe do something to distract me, that’ll fix it…” “I don’t need help, or advice, or consideration or sympathy, I just need to do something…” “I need to do something… something important… crap… why isn’t it working?”
You get the idea. This side of you can get pretty worked up.
But if you question its assumptions – that it needs to do something, that the situation is a desperate one – then it can finally relax and become renewed. When you feel terrible, and tense, trying to keep pushing yourself is like running up a slippery slope while you’re emaciated.
The problems with tension always seem to come up when you seek to relieve it, rather than resolve it. Then you might lean on that harmful habit of yours, run to an unfulfilling relationship, or constantly fight against the tension. But to resolve the tension, it’s important to question it.
For me, the other day, this conversation between a tense part of myself and a nurturing part resolved the tension. Now, keep in mind that for a long time I had put off actually doing Cartoon Processing during a tense moment, but this time I did. Here was the key part of the conversation:
Nurturer: “I know you think you don’t need help, but maybe I have a perspective, that, through no fault of your own, you haven’t thought of yet.”
Tense Guy: “You don’t understand. My life is only about doing things that are important. If I ever don’t do things, try to – no no no taking breaks is fine. To play games, and such. Gets me back on track. But just doing nothing for too long is unacceptable.”
Nurturer: “Is that so…?”
Shortly after that question, the tension went away, and the tense side of me felt better. Ungrateful for the help, but better.
This situation showed me that sometimes certain assumptions about life, assumptions one makes inside their head, actually cause tension and need to be questioned, even assumptions that seem reasonable. Looking at the effect of those assumptions will tell you what you need to know.
I have the feeling I haven’t seen the end of this guy, or gotten to the root of tension yet, so stay tuned.