Imagine you have a tool box filled with tools. Despite the huge variety of tools at your disposal, you basically have 2 kinds. You have measuring tools. And you have working tools.
Your measuring tools include your tape measure and square, your level and plumb line. You’ve got a calliper, a voltage tester, a thermometer, and a pressure meter. Obviously, measuring tools are used for measuring. They are useful and necessary, but they don’t change anything. A measuring tool only tells you something is out of line, it doesn’t put it back in line.
That’s where the working tools come in.
Your working tools include your hammer and pry bar, your screwdrivers of every kind and your wrenches of every size. Pliers, side cutters, chisels, punches, drills, saws, grinders are in your tool box too. Your working tools are useful. With them, you get stuff done. You make change.
Your emotions are your tools. Just like your tools, you have basically 2 kinds; negative and positive.
Your negative emotions are like your measuring tools. Anger, frustration, impatience. Fear, worry, concern, anxiety. Hopelessness, despair, boredom. Disgruntled, unsettled, and agitated. These negative emotions aren’t bad. They aren’t something to be shoved away. Just like your measuring tools, they tell you if something is out of line. But they don’t fix anything.
Your positive emotions are like your working tools. Care, compassion, empathy. Appreciation and gratitude. Forgiveness, sincerity, trust, hope. Light-heartedness, amusement, passion, and of course, love. These are your working tools. With these you get things done. You make change.
When your measuring tools tell you that something is out of line, you don’t keep measuring it. You don’t just pull out one measuring tool after another confirming again and again that something is out of line.
In the same way, when something is out of line in your life, your negative emotions - your measuring tools - will let you know. But choosing to throw one negative emotion after the next won’t fix what is out of line. Feeling worry and then impatience and then shame isn’t going to straighten what is crooked.
Again, that’s where the working tools come in.
When a measuring tool lets you know that something is out of line, you pull out a working tool to make it right.
In the same way, when a negative emotion lets you know that something is out of line in your life, pull out a positive emotion - a working tool. Self-compassion, forgiveness, and care are the tools you need to make what is crooked straight again.
Now, what are those measuring tools actually measuring?
They’re not measuring your life. They’re not measuring your family members. And they’re not measuring your job, your finances, or anything else like that.
Your measuring tools are measuring you. Your attitudes and relationships with the people, situations, and circumstances in your life. If you are out of line, your negative emotions will let you know.
Your measuring tools measure you. Your working tools change you.
Where are your measuring tools letting you know that you’re out of line?
Are you continuing to fumble with measuring tools, desperately trying to make change?
Which working tools can you use to help you get back into line?
Switching tools can sometimes be difficult. Like that measuring tool is glued onto your hand and even though you may try to set it down, it seems stuck. Let us empower you to make change! Check out our one-on-one coaching!
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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