There are times, and for some of us, that is now, that seems like we are sizzling in a skillet of stress. There are other times when we are just on a low burn or warming mode. We don’t have to be sous chefs to understand the philosophy behind keeping the lid on a pot to bring water to a boil. The increase in temperature modifies the environment to get results.
We can do the same type of action in our own personal lives. There are times when it is not an effective strategy to express or release. Maybe the people around us are not our trusted group, maybe the environment is one in which the culture does not support coming undone. After careful consideration, there are so many reasons why keeping the lid on might be the most effective strategy.
This can be hard when the pot feels too hot to contain. For some of us, that is right now, and if we are not actively releasing steam along the way – the lid will pop off without permission. When lids pop off, we can find ourselves in situations where we have shared too much, shown too much, been too much, or wanted too much.
To this end, we have to build in preventative times when we can slowly release steam and we have to make choices that contain our emotion and energy in certain situations. This is very hard to accomplish when we are cooking and burning. The most effective way to keep the lid on is to plan a time to take the lid off in the future and to release pressure at incremental and preventative times. In the meantime, we must focus on containment and keeping the lid on until we are in that planful and safer moment.
We may need to breathe a lot of breaths to get through keeping the lid on
We may need to stay excessively mindful of ourselves and others in the proces
We may need to focus on something else, distract ourselves or be out of the present moment to reduce heat in the interim.
This keeping the lid on is especially hard if we have been compiling and compacting for too long. We must have compassion for ourselves when we don’t complete the task in the way we wish. To keep the lid on is a practice not a product and we are a work in progress.
- Understand that there will be times when every ounce of your being will tell you to take the lid off and that doesn’t mean you should
- Be ready to focus, distract, breathe, or coast to get through moments where you are flooded and way to release but can’t.
- Build in preventative moments where you can slowly release the steam so you are not burning all of the time with no outlet.
- Be planful and thoughtful about who gets to see you with your lid off.
Read the opposite coping skill – Taking The Lid Off