All Photography by the incredible Chandler Grace.
I’m a Solutions Driven person. I’m pretty sure that’s not actually a thing, but it’s what I am. A Results Driven person is someone who (according to the internet) is motivated and inspired by measureable outcomes. I would have just phrased it as, “A results driven person is someone who is driven by results,” so thank you internet for being more eloquent than I am today.
(Side note: as a former college student I LOVE that in blog writing all you have to say is “according to the internet” and aren’t required to actually cite anything. LOL for learning all the different citation forms.)
I’m not really a Results Driven person – I’d love to lie and say that I am, but the truth is the thing that motivates me, makes me feel better, & inspires me, is coming up with a solution to the problem. It’s a massively double-edged sword, because even though that means I take pride in the process of coming to results, it also means that if I never see results at all, I don’t really care.
Small example – I wanted to learn how to do a backflip in high school because I was on the cheer team (I know a lot of what was in that sentence is shocking, but go with me here), so I signed up for lessons. I ended up never learning how to do one because I never practiced outside of lessons. I was just content knowing I’d set up a way to get to results, even though the results never came. Why I wasn’t more embarrassed being a 17-year-old flopping on my face next to a literal 5-year-old mastering a standing full is super concerning to me as well, but let’s move on.
Of all the things in my life that this personality type could affect (relationships, work, major life decisions, etc.) the area where it has been taking the most toll is my emotions.
We all experience a mass influx of emotions every single day. It would be severely interesting to see a color coordinated chart of our day mapped out by our emotional spectrum. Just like a storm radar, we’d be able to see the emotions that led up to the major stress or calm culminations in our day.
However, just like how a storm radar informs a weatherman of a coming catastrophe but doesn’t enable him to stop it from arriving, I don’t think an emotions radar would do us much long-term good.
Reason being – as much as we can “control” our emotions once they’ve come, there’s not a lot we can do to keep them from coming.
This is why I have so much trouble with experiencing emotions. I want a solution to them. I want them to be building blocks towards a purpose. I want to “fix” what sent them. Instead of just allowing them to produce results – i.e. thinking through an issue, deciding how I feel about a certain thing, giving myself time to breathe, choosing not to make big decisions while upset, etc. – I think my emotions are cues to fix an issue in my life.
At a base level, this can be helpful. For example – I’m angry because I went to Trader Joe’s and nothing goes together to create a comprehensive meal, so I’m going to change my behavior and go to Tom Thumb next time.
At a more in depth level, it’s an exhausting and stressful way to live. Example – I text a friend to ask for their help with something that isn’t super convenient, and they aren’t answering within .5 seconds. I start to feel like I’m annoying them and get self-conscious. Instead of just giving them space or assuming they’re busy and will get back to me, I would need a solution to what I’m perceiving as a “problem” because it’s stirring up bad emotions. I’d immediately send something like the picture below.
It basically makes me a constant stress ball. But not a cute one. It’s exhausting for me, and it’s exhausting for the people I interact with.
As some of you know, I struggle HARD with cystic acne. It’s painful all day, I’m very self-conscious about it, and I feel like a 13-year-old…except that was a decade ago for me. Yikes, a decade already? Let’s move on.
Every time I try to fix my acne, I’m reminded that one of the main causes is stress. You can literally see my stress on my face. Even though I’m definitely taking medical inspired steps to fix my acne, I know that even if I never look at gluten again in my life, I will still struggle with skin problems because of all the stress that lives in my heart and mind every single day.
So, I’ve buckled down and decided to live without solutions for once in my life. For me, this means experiencing emotions for exactly what they are - just feelings. They only produce something if I want them to, they only motivate me to find solutions if I let them. So, from now on, I’m not going to let them.
Over the past few days, when I’ve felt a strong emotion come into my body – jealousy, anger, sadness, happiness, joy, whatever – I make myself stop and experience it. I try to feel it so fully that it’s all I’m focusing on. Once I’ve made it through the eye of that storm, I choose to process it. Why was I jealous? What made me angry? Does this always make me sad? How amazing was that joy? Whatever the answers are to those questions, I just think about them and then I MOVE ON. I don’t set up a solution. I don’t physically do anything to perpetuate, categorize, eliminate, or express those feelings. I just feel them.
So far, the RESULTS I’ve seen from this type of processing are a more functional, stress-free day. I don’t carry those burdens with me all the way throughout the day, I just experience them as they come and then let them leave. I don’t think about them at night when I’m trying to go to sleep, because they’ve already been dealt with. There are bigger, better, and more beautiful things to let consume your life than emotions.
Our emotions should be products of the things we do, challenges we concur, and love we share – not the driving force behind our actions. If our goal is to only do things all day that make us feel good emotions, that’s a pretty self-involved way to live. Instead, if we choose to do whatever is good, noble, honoring, loving, helpful, productive, life-giving, and kind, then we’ll be equipped to deal with the emotions that result.
Because to be honest, doing something that is right doesn’t always produce happy reactions/emotions. Doing what we know to be good doesn’t always elicit kind responses. If we live a life based on producing happy feelings all the time, our character and morals could get lost along the way. If we keep trying to solve bad emotions and feelings between ourselves and certain activities or even, I hate to say it, certain people, then we may be keeping something in our life that isn't good for our overall character and mental state. If we do what we know is in line with our character, then we will be strong enough to deal with any negative feedback or loss along the way.
That's the kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person who is more focused on the actual events, decisions, and actions in my life than the feelings, reactions, and emotions they produce. I want to be a Task Driven person, and a major part of that is letting go of the need for validation and approval in the solutions I choose.
My encouragement for you today is to start experiencing your emotions for just what they are. Don’t turn them into building blocks for a solution or need results to come from them. Just sit with them and know them fully, then once you’re ready to move on, choose tasks in your life that are more important and focus on them. Slowly start to take the wheel away from your feelings, and hand it over to the pillars you want to stand tall in your life, whatever those may be.