Life is like an onion, you peel off the layers and sometimes you weep – or rage or collapse!
And some things are harder to handle alone than others. When you are sad and vulnerable and ashamed, it takes an awful lot of energy to hold it back and pretend everything is OK. It can also be pretty embarrassing to let it show.
What to do? Cultivating efficient emotional meltdowns just makes sense. Sitting on the fence feels terrible, so dive in, in a safe way. We all have feelings.
But if we have to go into something miserable, let’s do it quickly and really well so we do not have to do it again, and so we do not waste a whole lot of time feeling awful.
Don’t waste your life force unnecessarily. We don’t have to stay stuck.
Dan Siegel MD (prominent leader in the field of interpersonal neurobiology) defines health as integration. Shutting down feelings fragments us and it takes a lot of energy to hold back feelings. When we hold it all in, we breathe less, and take in less oxygen. This diminishes our capacity to engage with life, make good decisions, and cope with complexity.
SO what is an efficient emotional meltdown?
Efficient means getting a lot done in a relatively short amount of time. Efficient does not save us from messy, unpredictable intensity. If it were easy to deal with, we wouldn’t push it away in the first place. Melting down means we drop our defenses against feeling, and let it rip.
We all know a meltdown when we see it. Babies, toddlers, and children do it all the time. They have huge intense emotional moments, and then before the adults can catch a breath, they are cheerfully on to the next experience.
Co-regulation sets us up to melt down and move through it skillfully as adults.