Who knew that learning to day trade, as a means to fund my business, would teach me needed lessons about love, relationships, and managing emotions?
Certainly not me!
But that’s exactly what happened!
Turns out the stock market is Mr. Miyagi and I am Daniel San. (🥋YKIYK)
My goal in getting involved with the stock market was to learn to master the charts by learning to read candle formations, wicks, and moving averages. But I learned something far more valuable. I learned about my emotional hard-wiring — or more to the point — I learned how not managing my emotions was the root cause of my broken heart and my broke brokerage account.
As I was first learning to trade, I paid little attention to the warnings I’d been given. I was told that learning to successfully trade in the stock market was 10% technical and 90% psychological. I paid even less attention to my coach telling me that the market would read me and show me myself. Had I taken those warnings seriously, I might not have been blindsided by the emotional rollercoaster I would soon find myself riding.
The stock market brought out all of my emotions. I would win a trade and feel excited and then lose and feel completely depleted. These highs and lows, however, were eerily familiar. This was an emotional ride I had ridden before. The same highs and lows I was now experiencing with the market, I had experienced dating an emotionally unavailable man who was generous and giving one minute and cold and unkind the next.
Had I known I was headed for this kind of emotional instability, I might have passed on the entire experience and settled for nickeling and diming my way to the finances I needed. The pain I experienced from my previous relationship was a pain I never wanted to experience again.
I vowed when I ended the relationship with my emotionally unavailable ex that it would be my last volatile relationship. But here I was in another relationship that excited me one minute and depressed me the next.
But why am I here?
This is the question I’ve learned to ask myself when I end up in a space I vowed I’d never revisit. The answer to this question is always the same. I hadn’t learned what the experience was meant to teach me.
Although I ended the relationship with my ex, I didn’t do the deeper work to unpack why I got into the relationship in the first place. I hadn’t asked myself hard questions like:
- why did I settle for a man who ran hot and cold with me?
- why did I stay so long after realizing he was emotionally unavailable?
- what does staying in a relationship where my needs were unmet say about how I saw myself?
- did I have some deep seeded belief that I was only worthy of hot and cold love?
These are questions I should have asked but didn’t. And because I didn’t, I was bound to end up in the same situation again.
And I did!
Only this time it wasn’t a man I ended up in a volatile relationship with. It was the stock market. I ended up leaving a relationship with an unpredictable man and jumping into a relationship with an unpredictable market.🤷🏽♀️
The unpredictable nature of the market triggered my emotions just as in my previous relationship. It yoked me back and forth giving me exhilarating wins and painful blows — just like my ex. I lived on pins and needles while in my trades. I was up and down, happy and sad, but mostly depressed.
My Emotional Breakthrough
After riding this rollercoaster of emotions for a while, my coach suggested I read a few books about the psychology of trading. When I did, I learned something about myself that I’d never realized.
I had a high tolerance for pain.
Having a high tolerance for pain may sound like a good thing, but in both day trading and relationships, it’s the worst.
A high tolerance for pain in trading meant I held on to dying trades that were going against me because I believed and hoped that the trade would turn around. When a trade was going wrong, instead of getting out of it, I held on to it for dear life! I believed — against all logic and reason — that the trade would somehow come to its senses, reverse course, and give me what I wanted!
In my relationship, it was the same! I held on to that dying relationship believing and hoping that my ex would reverse course and give me what I wanted!
It was hope wasted!
I suffered greatly in both trading and relationships because I had a high tolerance for sitting in pain believing and hoping it would get better. I endured the pain of losing money in trading and losing myself and my dignity in relationships because I had built up such endurance for accepting what didn’t feel good.
But, as Dr. Maya Angelou says,
“When You Know Better, You Do Better.”
My first step towards doing better was accepting and acknowledging that my high tolerance for pain was a problem. Accepting this truth allowed me to move forward with finding a solution to the problem!
Therapy was my solution to fixing my high tolerance for pain.
Listen, there are just some pains you can’t heal by yourself. I knew I needed a professional and that’s what I gifted myself.
I went to therapy to understand and unpack where I learned that allowing myself to experience deep hurt and pain was acceptable. With my therapist, I dug through my childhood experiences because that’s where my identity was first shaped and formed, and where I initially learned about relationships.
As a little girl, I didn’t really feel loved and valued — which were the primary feelings I longed for. So, I learned to endure whatever it took to feel loved and valued. I learned early to give more and accept less. I took a by-any-means-necessary approach to feel loved and valued.
But therapy helped me see how my approach would never produce the end result I wanted. I learned tools that allowed me to heal the little girl inside of me who was desperate to be loved.
I healed the little girl by reassuring her that she was loved and worthy. I assured her that she no longer had to desperately hold on to anyone or anything in order to receive love or know her value because she would always have me to love and value her!
And just like that, I lowered my tolerance for holding on to dying things for validation.
Learning to lower my pain tolerance has been life-changing. It has not only helped me develop a healthy relationship with the stock market — where I’m profitable and where I effortlessly let go of trades that are going against me, it has helped me quickly acknowledge when something doesn’t feel good and give to myself permission to walk away!
Who knew that day trading would be the catalyst for such change in my life?
I sure didn’t!
Day trading is the gift that keeps on giving! And for this, my heart and my finances are extremely grateful.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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