On Ambivalence

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Lately I have been feeling an overwhelming amount of ambivalence. From it, I am beginning to realize just how uncomfortable the feeling of ambivalence is. It is tough to feel conflicted. It is difficult to have opposing views on the same matter. Often we have what I like to call ‘fleeting ambivalence’, as we try to make a decision between two choices, or narrow down what we want to do on a Friday or Saturday night. It is a short-lived emotion that does not provide noteworthy levels of stress or frustration. However, when the ambivalence is long-lasting, it’s quite a different story.

Long-lasting ambivalence is painful. When you can’t decide how you feel about something or someone, you feel anxiety. You feel discomfort. Cognitive dissonance eats away at you, leaving you to feel, for lack of a better word, “off”. When you’re experiencing long-lasting ambivalence, there’s little you can do to offset it. You find that the only solution is to sit with it, acknowledge it, and try not to let it bring you down. Not much of a solution after all, huh?

Sometimes we have to accept feelings and emotions that are difficult. We have to remember that they are transient, and will eventually change, like anything else. We have to be patient. We can try to fight them, but we’ll only end up more troubled and conflicted than we would be otherwise. We can try to deny them, but then they’ll just resume at a later date and a greater intensity. We can try to make reason out of the emotions, but even that can be difficult if you are truly experiencing ambivalence. Ambivalence is nonnegotiable.  

One thing that can help, though, is keeping occupied with healthy distractions. The key word here is: HEALTHY. Coping with troublesome emotions is often a struggle and for this reason, some people turn to drinking or drugs to numb the way they feel. This is very much ill-advised. So how, you ask, have I been implementing healthy distractions into my life?

Opt Out of Familiarity:

One of the most proven and effective ways to combat depression is through exercise. I have made exercise a standard part of my routine, but lately I’ve been trying to find new ways to get my workouts in (eek–sorry for ending this sentence in a proposition). For instance, I decided to try our local Studio Barre, which I found to be a fun and exciting way to tone and strength train. I am really enjoying the change of scene and the new exercises and props (weights, workout bands, etc .) that allow for focused muscle targeting. I seriously feel the burn in my abs, booty, and arms during the class and I very much appreciate the challenge. I even tried a workout at 5:45am before work. Not bad!

If you read my blog at all, then you know how much I love Zumba. Since I rave about it at work and am seriously considering becoming a Zumba instructor this summer, I convinced my coworker to try a class out with me. We found a dance studio in Ventura (midway between our cities) and joined for a day to take a class together. While I prefer my usual gym and instructors more, I was very impressed with the welcoming and genuinely kind community at this gym. Everyone was quick to start conversation, introduce themselves to us, teach us the culture of their gym, and encourage us to visit again soon. It was a very heartwarming experience, and I was proud to show my coworker just how awesome the Zumba community and culture truly is. Basically if you’re crazy and outgoing, you’ll fit right in.

Tennis anyone? Most people that know me also know that I play tennis! I played Varsity in high school and have always enjoyed hitting around for fun since then. Making tennis plans with coworkers after work is something that I just recently began to do. It is a fun way to bond with my fellow peers, and to play the game that I love. Although I was initially drawn to the sport for their adorable girly outfits, I ended up being smitten by the game itself. While it can be played by just about anyone in the most simple of ways, it can also be so technical if you are willing to learn the ins and outs of the game. When I play tennis, time slows down. I don’t get that feeling with anything else.

Learn:

100% of the time, I will always feel better about myself after I’ve learned something new. For this reason, I seek out books from our Barnes and Noble and make a point to allocate at least 20 minutes a night to reading before bed. Reading before bed calms and settles my mind before I enter into dream territory. Although my Lexapro causes me bad dreams 90% of the time, I at least like to think that my reading accounts for the other 10%. 🙂

Productivity and Relaxation:

Learning to balance productivity with relaxation is the key. 80% of my days are booked (sorry for all of the percentages–guess I’m kind of a mathematical person). I spend the majority of my time at either work or the gym, but I also spend time meeting my friends for dinners/desserts, massages and other beauty appointments, grocery shopping, car washes, etc. There is just simply not enough time in a day! But seriously, if you remember nothing else from this post, remember to always make time for r.e.l.a.x.a.t.i.o.n. If you have no downtime, then you will most likely go insane. Everybody needs the opportunity to rest their brain. Watch tv, meditate, play an instrument, get a mindfulness coloring book, do a facemask…WHATEVER IT TAKES. But there’s no substitute for some hard-earned and much deserved relaxation.

Gratitude:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again. The universe provides. It picks up on your energy, and grants you the things you need ( and sometimes even the things that you want). It is important to notice and be grateful for the gifts the universe provides. Some blessings come in small, seemingly insignificant packages. Others are more obvious. Be grateful for even your challenges, as they provide opportunities for growth, wisdom, and maturity. When you start to feel thankful for the things that you have, it matters less and less about the things that you don’t have.

Even an awkward and uncomfortable feeling like ambivalence can be turned into a catalyst for change and growth. Notice your emotions and give them some credit. You are having them for a reason, so try not to be hard on yourself. You are human. You are not, and will never be perfect. All you can be is you.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

xx allie

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