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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Owning our emotions

In the west it is very common and accepted to blame other people on how WE feel. For example someone cuts us off in traffic we say he made us angry which justifies us yelling abuse at him and honking our horn (or worse). But when we treat our emotions as something that we have no control over, that isn't a part of who we are, that other people have total control over. Then we become weak and unstable.

One of the most powerful lessons and skills I have learned in life is how to own MY feelings instead of blaming them on others. This is the very first step in what I like to term - "really growing up." Until we own our emotions we can't begin to understand them nor can we develop better emotional patterns. Until we own them we are stuck being as a child who cries whenever they feel bad.

All it takes is a shift of perspective in how we think about emotions, especially our own. But this small shift will changes our lives forever. We will never again feel powerless when someone does something that effects us or when faced with strong negative emotions.

One of my biggest personal issues was to do with love, when I really liked someone and they didn't give me enough attention of they did something like cancel a dinner date for the 4th time in a row I would be hurt and blame them for causing this kind of emotional pain. How could they do this to me when they know how much I care about them?!

But I wouldn't feel the same way if it was someone else, like a friend. And other people also don't feel the same thing and just because I love someone doesn't mean they love me or at least not in the same way.

Take our road rage example again, not everyone reacts angrily, so if cutting someone off really was something that made people feel angry then why doesn't it effect some people. It's because the angry reaction is our emotional reaction and it's something we can change, other people do it that's why they don't get upset.

That's the same as my over reaction to perceived slights from the person I supposedly was in love with, once I owned my reaction I was able to stop blaming the other person and begin to examine my own emotions and change my reaction accordingly. I would think - no this isn't a sign of betrayal, it's just a sign they don't like me as much as I like them. Time to face reality and MOVE ON :)

Owning our emotions can be pretty painful at first but it is well worth it. It is much easier to keep blaming other people, but in doing that we will never grow up properly! By owning our emotions we are able to stop simply reacting to what goes on around us and forge our own destiny. It also helps us to see things more clearly and understand the actions of others without them being distorted by our own reactions. It is the only way to truly grow up and become emotionally mature.

Have faith in your own power. They are YOUR emotions! You CAN change your negative reactions by owning them. It might not be easy but it is incredibly liberating and empowering when you do this. You will feel like a new person. Like you have finally grown into an adult and your life is in your hands.

So next time you think someone has done something to you that MADE you feel sad or angry stop and examine it a bit closer, own that feeling and make it yours. Say to yourself -  

"No they didn't make me feel bad, that bad feeling is mine, and reacting this way is something I've learned to do and it's something I can deal with. It's a reaction I can change and in future I can stop reacting this way."

Own it and take control of your life! Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes and triple yes. This matter alone separates the grown ups from the kindergartners. So sad that most people never get it. I dare say I don't completely "have it" myself... but I'm trying.