Heads AND Tails?

Do you experience extreme emotional ups and downs in your life? Or maybe you don’t, you prefer to live in the logic of life and avoid the prior mentioned ups and downs? Maybe you like to spend life as a committed optimist, everything is always “great!” or the staunch pessimist where suspicion marks your every move.

Regardless of which tendency or tendencies you have, we all tend to lack an awareness or ability to take each moment as it comes because we place significant pressure on ourselves to have life’s experiences, thoughts, emotions fit into one, over-simplified category. These moments or events can be big and small. I spilt coffee all over myself as I was getting out of the car this morning to come into work, that’s stressful! I’ve just been informed that my company is letting me go, how terrible! Maybe it’s the loss of a pet, the loss of a parent, or the loss of a significant other because of a break up. Life events or conversations can provoke positive feelings as well – news that you’re going to be a grandparent! You’re receiving an award at an annual work event that appreciates your hard work!

We tend to get ourselves in emotional and relational trouble when we want everything that happens in our lives to be one extreme or another, heads or tails. Happy or sad. Stressful or relaxing. Strong or weak. Success or fail. Tension is the result of this type of thinking because the reality of life is that there are always joys AND disappointments present. Relationships are healthiest when you are separate AND warm. You struggle and you’re resilient.

Find both sides of the coin starting right now. Don’t create more tension in your life because you want things to fit into your mental boxes or lenses of which you perceive life. Find balance in reality and start asking yourself, what’s easy and what’s challenging for me today? What’s got me down and what can I be thankful for in this moment? How can I connect with this person and remain my own, separate self?

Heads or tails? It’s neither! Start the practice “heads AND tails.”


Lindsey Baumgarten, MA, LPC