Thanks a lot. You hurt my one feeling.

Journey to Mastering My Emotions

A real tizzy

Image result for pulling my hair out

Last week was a rough one.  I’ve not gotten much sleep due to our new baby, and it’s been a bit stressful around here because of that.  Beyond that, work was slow. And beyond even that, I didn’t get a real sense of community from the voiceover world, and I even got myself banned from a site due to some marketing posts that were deemed too “hyper” for their forum.  Such is life.

All in all, frustrating.  I’m generally an upbeat guy who is determined to remain upbeat.  There is a lot I have to accomplish in any given workday, and I set my sights on taking care of all of that through a focused, laser-guided ship with Positivity as its Captain, and Intention its Oarsmen.  I really want to give it my all, but how easy is that to do when I’m being weighed down by negativity?  They are dead weights attached to my ankles, when I’m trying to head skyward.

Be that as it may, it ended well.  As I said, Captain Positivity.  I (ultimately) make the best of all situations, and that’s how I succeed.  I try to use everything that happens to me as a learning opportunity, if even on a small level.  I have to ask myself, what can I learn from this horrendous calamity?  Is there something good I can take away from it?  I’ll share how my one feeling was hurt, and what I learned.

When Community…just…isn’t

no community

So, like any average human, I suffer from a deplorable excess of normal.  (My wife would say here, “Oh honey, don’t worry – we’ll get a second opinion.”)  I want to be loved, I want to be affirmed, I want to be accepted.  I’m not going to whine and moan over specifics in here because I don’t want to manipulate anyone into doing anything now that was the cause of my frustration then. What I experienced last week were personal pitfalls of hurt that came from being, or at least feeling, unrecognized.  I work so hard on promotion and I have a genuine desire to be active in the voiceover community.  When that went unrecognized on a few levels, it hurt my feelings.  Or, as wife and I like to joke, “you hurt my one feeling.”

Humans truly are a bizarre species.  Many of us just don’t know how to govern our emotions.  We get hurt and offended so incredibly easily, and then we sue, or we run angrily to Yelp.  It’s absolutely reactive and vindictive.  And even if we don’t lash out, or lash back, we’re stuck in a place of resentment, at least for a little while, until our Apple Watch screams a heart alert, and we decide to put on our Zen playlist.  Or at least until the alarm goes off the next day and we consciously decide to try yet again.  I love the quote “The definition of a Winner is someone who falls down seven times and gets up eight.”  It really is all in our mind, and we can either sit and pout, or pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.

Remember all of those “Motivation” posters that circulated around in the 90’s?  And what about:

  • motivational speaker Anthony Robbins?
  • What about Nick Vujicic?
  • What about Zig Ziglar?
  • Suze Orman?
  • Jack Canfield?
  • Louise Hay?
  • Thibaut Meurisse?
  • Brian Tracy?

Are they all drunk?  Nope: it truly is a matter of mind over muscle.  For Nick Vujicic, mind over muscle is particularly true.  Motivation, personal motivation, centered around reframing negativity and deciding to regroup and try again, really is the very essence of survival and thrival (I made that last word up).  I truly want to thrive, not just survive.

When we reach out into the community, and the community doesn’t reach back, that hurts.  It tends to give credence to the vibe “Everyone’s in it for themselves.”  But isn’t that just angry talk?  It takes a lot of grease to get a wheel going.  I must constantly invest myself without even a thought of receiving back.  For when the receiving does come, then, it’s a blessing, and not an expectation.  And I’d much prefer the former over the latter.

Ban Away, Bruce Banner

being banned

Someone, let’s call him Bruce, decided to ban me from forums because I posted a few contributions.  One was an advertisement, admittedly, promoting a Facebook Live session I’m doing this coming Wednesday.  I’m promoting something I genuinely believe can be an asset to a voiceover business owner, and I wanted to get the word out.  The other was about my blog, because I love writing, I have a teacher’s heart, and I long to share and encourage and affirm.  Again, reaching out into.  That’s me.  I’m a seed-sower.

Bruce decided to put on the police hat and slapped a “no admittance” sticker over my name when I challenged him on his TOU.  Ultimately – and I know I’m the only one in the solar system who doesn’t fully read all of the Terms of Use for any site, right? – there were clauses in there that prohibit – strictly – anything that remotely smacks of self-promotion.  Had I taken the time, as I’m sure all of you do, to read through their neverending Draconian legalese subclause-laden policies in place, then, shucks, I would have thunk better of it. *head scratch here*

So ban away, Bruce Banner.  Go all Hulk all over me.  Smash.  I didn’t really contribute to your site anyway, so it’s to be expected that I would be banned if I challenged you..  But I also didn’t really take anything away or glean anything from it any more than I can glean from the hordes of positive groups on Facebook that have already so helped me further my career.  It ultimately is all good, and revealed to me that there are certain places I’m welcome, and certain places I’m not, and it’s all ok.

Those endless summer nights

Image result for richard marx 80's

“And I-yi-yi…remember how you loved me…time was all we had until the day we said goodbye…and I remember every moment…of those endless summer nights…ooooo I remember…”

Thank you, O Big-Haired One.  Richard Marx, thank you for perfectly describing my life right now.  Endless summer nights that just don’t, well, end…because they’re, well….endless.

Our baby is nearing one month old, and still needs to be woken up every 3 hours to eat.  What does that mean for us?  The blissful absence of REM sleep.  Frustrated exchanges between my wife and I. No sugar plums dancing in my head.  No harp music playing.  (Actually there IS harp music playing on the iPod playlist for my son’s sleepy-time music, so scratch that one out).  We’ve been getting up to pump (her job) and feed (my job) and take care of our little one so that he can grow big and strong.  It’s rigorous.  But it will pass.

Am I more raw than normal?  Perhaps.  Did that lack of sleep plus feeling defeated and unrecognized reap a toll on my week last week?  Sure.  Were there moments where I sat at my desk and…just…sat there?  Indeed.  My compass was off, and I needed to re-calibrate.

How do I master my emotions?

Image result for mastering your emotions

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

I can thank Thibaut Meurisse, my client and friend.  I don’t choose to narrate a lot of audiobooks, but I narrated one for him entitled “Success is Inevitable”, and it, as usual, was awesome.  Here’s a quote from his book:

To remain stable, you must learn to control your emotions. People enslaved by their emotions will seldom find the discipline needed to do the things they know they should be doing. They will fall prey to negative emotions, giving up their goals prematurely. On the other hand, if you can win the inner game and manage your emotions better, you will be able to achieve almost anything you want…. Remember, you are your own worst enemy. More than anybody else, you

are the one standing in your own way and sabotaging your efforts. Learn to control your thought processes and emotions, and you will be more likely to achieve your long-term goals.

He later goes on to say:

Another way to achieve better control of your emotions is to shift your perspective and reframe the way you perceive negative events, thereby giving them a more empowering meaning. To learn more, you can refer to my book, Crush Your Limits. We all react to events based on our experiences and our lifelong social conditioning. This is the main reason why you can put two people in the exact same situation and one will be happy while the other will be miserable. The happiest and most successful people use reframing to give a much more empowering meaning to life events.

Thibaut is a personal motivator and accomplished author, and I’m very grateful for his wisdom.

What I learn from these chapters of his book is that reframing is everything, and choosing which emotions govern me is absolutely critical.  All events are inherently neutral anyway, whether it’s getting a new job, a loved one dying, a president getting elected, a car crash, passing an exam, getting thin, or getting cancer.  The emotions we attribute to them are what make them positive or negative.  Isn’t that true?  We associate grief and sadness with death.  We associate rejoicing and elation with passing an exam.  We associate anguish and sorrow over cancer.  With some we associate sunshine and rainbows; with others we associate a black cloud and thundershowers with no umbrella.

So.  Being banned.  Low amount of work.  Reaching out and no one reaching back.

It’s all some form of Suffering.

I love the quote by Victor Frankl: “Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”  Illuminating and true!  When I suffer, I get gloomy, frustrated, and I want to go smoke (an old habit).  It’s crazy how that cloud rises up in me when too many clouds loom over me.  Something appeals to an old method whereby I can try to medicate away my pain.  For some it’s spending. For some it’s eating.  For others it’s porn, gambling, self-harm, acting out, drugs, drinking.  It’s so easy to get caught in a downward spiral, circling the drain and feeling defeated.

I didn’t act out with “medicating”, but I did sulk.  I did get upset and lost my bearings and forgot who I was.

It hurt my one feeling.

Many who know me might say that that one feeling is awfully hard to take down.  I’m a bouncy guy, a motivated guy, and Guy Smiley reincarnate.

The Reset Button

Image result for reset button

It’s Monday again.  I had a great weekend of victories, and the great thing?  Those victories weren’t even mine.  They all belonged to my son, who is 3 and just had the big 3-Day Potty Training Weekend.  He slept through three nights…dry.  He went through 2 naps…dry.  And no accidents in between.  I am SO proud of him!!  I am beaming with pride and my heart is full and that resonance carries into this new week, full of joy and accomplishment.

My victory was not mine at all.  It was all his: all of it.  But it was also mine as well, because it came through reaching out – again – empathizing and reveling in his victory, lifting him high in celebration and knowing that my community is all right here, under one roof.

May you experience success and disappointment – and balance – this week.  When you’re depressed and beaten down, make an effort to seek out and find your reset button – it might be something that doesn’t even include you at all, and is a celebration of something completely outside yourself.  Those are the best kinds.

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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire
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2 thoughts on “Thanks a lot. You hurt my one feeling.”

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