Yes, it’s true. Even the strongest women reach a breaking point. I think it’s a misconception to think that “strength” equals “perfection.”
When it comes to how we hold our emotions in check, sometimes we’re just simply at a breaking point. We can’t make another good choice, hold back any more frustration, or take one more conflict.
And isn’t it always at THAT precise moment that we hear the word “Mommy?” come from the other room. And as much as we love our little ones, we know that our name being yelled across the room with an implied question mark in the tone can only mean one thing…they want yet another thing from us. And we. can’t. TAKE. IT!
Or is it just me?
Here’s the thing: I’ve gone through years and years of self-coaching, studying the Bible, professional counseling, and ongoing education from notable mentors. I KNOW how to hold my thoughts captive. I am GOOD at knowing when I’m almost out of willpower. I KNOW how to redirect, recharge, and rethink any situation. I KNOW all of this, and have for years.
So my meltdowns come fewer and farther between these days. But dang it, they STILL happen.
Just a few nights ago, my resources were out. I was depleted of any rational thoughts and couldn’t dig in to find more grace. And I lost it. Yelled, freaked out, and probably looked like a nut.
It only took a few minutes before I caught myself, went into my room, and tried to compose myself. But the damage had been done. And it wasn’t even WHAT I said so much as HOW I said it. But that over-emotional reaction took away any good point I might have made.
And that reminded me…it had been a LONG time since I allowed myself one of my 30-minute meltdowns. Which led me to write this post. Maybe I can give other women a tool for keeping emotions in check and staying strong when they need to the most!
The 30-Minute Meltdown
Here’s how it works:
SET THE STAGE: When you feel a lot of emotional build up, sometimes you simply need to release it. So I wait until no one else is around. Maybe it’s late at night and the kids are in bed. Maybe they’re already in school. Or at a friend’s house to play. Or at their dad’s house. You get the idea.
LET IT IN: When you’re all alone and you’re certain that no one is going to walk in on you, you let it all in. All that “stuff” that’s been bothering you that you keep overpowering and stuffing down. All the things that you simply square your shoulders, put on your big girl pants, and take…even though it hurt. You let that stuff IN first. Just allow yourself to FEEL it.
LET IT OUT: Once you’re feeling it, you let it OUT in tears and sobs. Just lie on your bed and cry. Let yourself go. Don’t worry about anything.
SAY IT ALOUD: After you’ve started the waterworks, start talking out your emotions out loud. Say the politically incorrect things that you feel. Admit the secret desires of your heart surrounding these issues. Speak the pity party that was swirling around underneath the surface anyway.
REFLECT: There’s real power in speaking your thoughts. As you start to hear yourself, you will start to make sense of it all. Your rational mind will start to come back. You’ll start to reflect on the things you’re saying. Let that happen. THIS is where it all comes together. It’s the reflection that will start to recharge your batteries and leave you feeling refreshed.
BUT…there’s one HUGE rule that you cannot ignore. You have to PROMISE that you’ll never go through the meltdown without following this rule: Set a time limit!
I’ve found that 30 minutes is the MAX I’ll allow for the meltdown. Now, if I’m over the meltdown aspect and have moved onto reflection, that’s okay. I’ll stay in reflection as long as I need to in order to learn whatever lessons God is trying to send my way. But the actual meltdown portion only gets 30 minutes.
I don’t have these often. I used to average about once every 3 months. But I can’t honestly remember the last time I let myself indulge in one. Hmmm. Is it then any wonder why I lost it?
So here’s the takeaway I had from my destructive meltdown the other day:
Better to remember to give myself a 30-minute meltdown in a controlled environment where no one else gets hurt than to risk hurting the people I love most by freaking out unexpectedly.