The act of turning on a faucet, and letting water flow, is a very unremarkable act. We do this many times in a given day. And each time we perform the action, we think very little about what we are doing, how it is being done, or even what is occurring when we are doing it. It is such an automatic execution, that our minds do not even have to consider subtleties in the act.
We don’t think about how we automatically calculate the temperature of the water that we are drawing from the faucet. We don’t dwell on the fact that we instinctually set the precise force and flow of the water from the tap. We give no consideration to the mechanism and science behind the plumbing that lets the water flow. We don’t evaluate our motions when we are turning a knob, or engaging a handle. We simply approach the faucet, move the mechanism, and expect a flow.
Have you ever approached a faucet, and then found that, surprisingly, it did not work? It may not have happened to every person, but I would confidently say, that it has likely happened to a majority of people at some point in their lifetime.
What happened when you encountered the non-functioning faucet? I imagine most people then begin to actually think about what they were doing. Maybe a degree of annoyance or frustration sets in. Perhaps some new actions occurred, like turning the knobs back and forth rapidly, or shifting the angle of the handle. Some may bang on the faucet. Still others may try to see if there is something stuck in the opening.
It’s intriguing to think about the rapid change that occurs when something that we take for granted, suddenly doesn’t work in the way we feel it should. Our actions and attitude change very quickly when something we feel is normally functional, and in our control, all of a sudden, is not.
Think about how you regard your emotions. Most would think that we have great control of our emotions, many, may even consider themselves masters. We go about our days feeling a sense of automatic, functional, appropriately measured emotional action and reaction when presented with the various stimuli that we experience.
But perhaps, our emotional control is only on autopilot until something disrupts the continuity. Like the act of turning on the faucet, we manage our emotions and feelings with a rote sense of execution. But, occasionally, or frequently for some, we encounter breaks in our routine.
Very much like how we deal with turning on the flow of water from a faucet, we deal with adjustments to our emotional flow in similar fashion.
Sometimes we turn the knob just a little bit too far, and the water gushes from the faucet, shooting into the basin of the sink, and splashing up, out, and all over everything nearby, including ourselves. Other times, we don’t completely secure the handle, or turn the knob all the way; we walk away from sink, and fail to notice the drip, drip, drip, as the water hits the basin and trickles down the drain. Sometimes we turn the knob, but fail to get the temperature correct, and burn our hands when we go to wash them. There are other times, when we turn on the sink, and stare at the flowing water, unsure of the intent that brought us to the action. On other occasions, we don’t turn the knob far enough, and the flow is insufficient to wash dishes, our hands, or fill our glasses. There are also the even more rare occurrences, one of which, being the turning of the knob, and getting no flow at all. There is also the possibility, that one may try to turn off the flow, and the knob or handle may break off in the act! The water gushes out of the rupture, and the only fix is to contact a professional to fix the disaster.
Regardless of what type of disruption occurs, it is important for all of us to slow down, and breath deeply through the unexpected swings that we experience. These breaks in our automatic management of emotional flow can be jarring, but should not be regarded as permanent. Take solace in the fact that should these anomalies occur, you can always take a step back, look under the sink, find the shut off valve, and reset.