When we need a pit stop during a road-trip, have you ever noticed how the urgency seems to increase just as we finally decide to pull off the freeway. By the time we arrive at the gas station, we feel like we are going to explode. Many times we assume that it’s because we just really had to go, but it’s more that our feelings intensify in anticipation of relief.
Another example: we were at an airport and a boy was crying for his mother. He was crying pretty solidly for several minutes with his father attempting to console him many times. Eventually, his father gave in and put him down so he could run to his mother. Never was his cry so intense as the final walk over to his mom.
Whether it’s tiredness right as we get to the final stretch of a hike, or hunger as we are waiting for our food after ordering it, or almost any other strongly felt desire, as we near the attainment the emotion strengthens. Sometimes this can make the last part even more difficult to endure, but if we recognize it, we can tell ourselves a different story about our situation, sometimes the opposite of reality, as a way of quelling the urgency of the desire. This can help as we near an important deadline to keep pushing or when there is no gas station in sight.
Our emotions don’t rise and fall according to some rational objective standard. As a result, often we need to face our emotions and recognize that even though the desire is strong, we can push through.
Photo Credit: See-ming Lee