My wife has reminded me on more than one occasion that my blog is titled 'Perspectives' but is mainly anecdotes. She know it's easier to write anecdotes since I already keep a journal. But she's right.
Just as well that I've been wondering if perhaps I'm highly-strung. Like sometimes I startle too easily. I can be overwhelmed by bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by. Some days I can feel more highly-strung than usual, more likely to snap. If you are a laid back person, you may not relate to this.
Highly-strung people worry about details, can be emotional even nervous and often want to be in control. They tend to be on edge, over-sensitive, irritable and can jump at people. Many animals are highly strung too. They are easily excitable.
Here's a definition. Adj. 1. Being in a tense state, edgy, in suspense, jittery, jumpy, nervy, over-strung, restive, uptight, tense, in or of a state of physical or nervous tension.
Know any one like that? Sometimes I wonder if this the national psyche. We are often reminded in the media that we lack natural resources, that neighbours are catching up economically and that we must leap frog the region. This creates a siege mentality with paranoia all-round.
Dinah and I used to be involved in family ministry. I remember we got the moms to go out for ice cream while husbands stayed home with kids. There would always be one or two moms who kept calling every few minutes to ask how the kids were doing. I thought this was chronic. Then I saw them before school exams.
Many who commute on the MRT are typically highly-strung, stressed-out Singaporeans. Some think it's a duty to irritate them even more by walking really slowly, standing on the wrong side of the escalator and so on. However the wiser amongst us will not want to be snapped at.
How do we calm the highly-strung? If you exhibit some of these traits, how do you avoid going over the deep-end to become certifiably obsessive compulsive?
For starters I make it a point to avoid horror movies. It's not good for the nervy heart. Positive comedies and feel-good dramas are much more therapeutic.
Reframing is a useful technique. This is to think different. Like some who refer to their overstrung state as having 'a heightened sense of awareness'. This is so well put.
To reframe is important because, like it or not, there are bound to be things that annoy us to no end. Like I can get worked up when people stare at me in lifts, in restaurants or in public places. I've also read that fights have started from staring incidents. Lives have been lost. So I had to quickly learn to reframe.
Eventually I figured it out: "Perhaps I do have an interesting face. I must have presence. Maybe that's why heads turn every time I step onto the scene." It's probably true as well.
Life and ministry can get tense at times. Relax, chill out. I'm learning. Lying on the lounge with our twins is fun. So is listening to good music. Or a catch up with friends over coffee. Try it. You'll like it.