I recently experienced a win, but in some ways it felt like a loss. From a rational perspective I came out on top, but I didn’t get everything I hoped for. I had competing emotions of satisfaction and disappointment and realized that this experience is probably more common than most of us have recognized. The problem is that managing emotional discord isn’t a skill most of us were taught while growing up. So how do we navigate competing emotions? I engaged in the 3 “A’s”. Acknowledge, Admit and Accept.
I first had to acknowledge my feelings and admit I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome. Finally, I accepted that I was experiencing conflicting feelings and recognized that though it felt uncomfortable, it was normal. This acceptance allowed me to see the big picture and utilize the ability to do something I call “see the grey”. I had to remind myself that oftentimes, life isn’t clear cut.
I used to be a very black and white thinker, meaning it’s either this or that, one or the other. It was a difficult and limiting way to view the world. I had to remember that life’s circumstances are often a combination of factors that don’t make perfect sense. There is often something in between win or lose, good or bad and black and white, i.e., the “grey”. But as long as the good outweighs the bad, or if you wind up getting most of what you worked and hoped for, it is in fact a win.
So the next time you experience competing emotions understand that it’s perfectly normal. And then, maybe the 3 A’s will help you sort out your feelings so you can get to a place of peace.