from Your Emotions ----By
Dr. Joe Rubino
the vast majority of people, each day presents another
opportunity to ride the emotional rollercoaster. When
things go our way, we are happy. When they don’t,
we react with anger, sadness, fear, disappointment,
frustration, resignation, or any variation of hundreds
of other emotional responses. In fact, we are typically
so accustomed to experiencing these emotions that
we take for granted that our lives will always be
marked by emotional reactions to the challenges that
life throws our way. We mistakenly believe that this
is “normal” and everyone does it.
This belief that we are emotional beings reacting
to situations and circumstances beyond our control
that are not to our liking is so ingrained in us that
we usually do not even see the possibility of living
without these immediate varied emotional responses
to situations. How many times have you heard people
speak their belief that “We’re human beings
and we’re entitled to our emotions?” These
emotions are indeed juicy!
By coming from the perspective that we will always
be at the effect of things that others say and do,
thus provoking our emotional responses to these situations,
we forfeit our ability to retain control of our emotional
well-being. Our spouses say something that irritates
us and we lash back. Our bosses criticize our work
performance and we fear losing our jobs. We are left
off the guest list for a neighborhood party and we
react with sadness. We are unjustly accused of something
we did not do, and we respond with indignant rage.
You get the point. Life is full of opportunities to
react in an emotional way that does not support our
happiness, sense of peace, and our personal power.
So if our knee-jerk emotional responses do not support
our happiness, peace of mind, or personal effectiveness,
why do we continue to react automatically to the least
little stimuli? If we hate being in such a state of
constant low grade anger, why do we continue to find
reasons to revert back to this state or to seemingly
relish the opportunity to take our ever-present chronic
state of low grade anger to a higher, more acute level?
In the same way, we hate feeling sad but somehow,
we find no shortage of opportunities that “make
us” sad. Consider the person who is petrified
of horror movies. The spooky scenes, bloody violence,
and killings leave him agitated, feeling uncomfortable,
and unable to sleep. But despite an aversion to these
emotional responses, the horror movie addict continues
to seek out the next, scarier, more gruesome movie
that is guaranteed to stir up these same unpleasant
Clearly, we are emotional addicts. Although we may
protest that we do not like feeling scared to death,
down in the dumps (maybe even despondent), or filled
with rage or vengeance, we seem to be at the mercy
of these feelings. After all, we might argue, it’s
usually not our fault. The other guy is usually provoking
us and we just react to these provocations with righteous
indignation. The blame is over there, rarely with
us. We are the victims and to blame us for such natural
reactions is unfair! Even such an accusation would
likely make most us angry!
However, when we explore the nature of our emotional
responses more closely, we may uncover some very interesting
findings. Although we protest that we dislike feeling
this way, our emotions make us feel alive. Within
the anger we muster is a sense of personal power.
Our angry response to a situation may allow us to
regain control over some aspect of the situation.
Perhaps, through our anger, we get to dominate the
other guy who is likely out to dominate us as well.
Perhaps our sadness provides us with a measure of
consolation. We might feel sorry for ourselves and
bask in the “poor me” sensations earned
by most victims. Or perhaps our fear may prevent us
from acting boldly and risking in some manner. By
keeping us afraid and defensive, we stay safe. We
may not have to deal with uncomfortable situations
or the possibility of failing if we stay home and
hide under the bed rather than face our fear in the
cold, cruel world!
Although we may have become conditioned to feel that
our emotional reactions are totally normal, (after
all isn’t everyone else reacting emotionally
all around us?), we have the option of training ourselves
to look deeper within when we feel the emotional warning
- whether it be the adrenaline rush of anger as we
get red in the face or the hollow sinking sensation
of sadness in the pit of our stomachs.
Perhaps we might explore the true reason for our emotional
reactions. Is there some label we fear or way of being
that we are determined not to be associated with causing
us to take the offensive? Is our anger truly at the
person we lash out at or could our response be an
attempt to conceal our own fears? Are we reading the
situation in a manner that drives our emotional reaction?
Might there be a better way to interpret what was
said or done so that the emotional charge was absent?
Could we give the other guy the benefit of the doubt
or assume that his intentions were honorable? At the
very least, could we assume that she is doing the
best she can do considering her background experiences
and how she has become accustomed to viewing the world?
When we are in personal development, we might take
each opportunity that an emotional trigger offers
us to stop for a moment and analyze the situation.
What lies beneath that feeling of vengeance? What
is the true source of the sadness we are feeling?
How might we be avoiding responsibility for our part
in the current state of affairs?
Rather than reacting with emotion to the circumstances,
might we instead look upon the event as an opportunity
to better understand why we are prone to act as we
do? Might we instead welcome the chance to look at
the situation without our typical attachment to an
outcome or to being right? If we put ourselves in
the other person’s world, how might our perspective
change? How would this shift in how we see things
influence our emotional response?
Emotional awareness is the first step in changing
your world and supporting others to transform theirs.
It takes two people to dance. Once one changes her
step, it is much more difficult for her partner to
continue with the same dance he was previously doing.
questions I have for you today are these:
you willing to give up your right to react emotionally?
you willing to allow your emotional cues to be
your signal to explore what lies beneath your
typical and customary reaction?
you willing to detach from each emotional situation
and look for the insights that await your discovery?
from Your Emotions
your daily journal, make note of each emotional
reaction that occurs without your complete conscious
types of emotions are usually present when you
catch yourself in a knee-jerk type reaction?
contrary benefits do these typical emotional responses
provide for you?
does creating a different interpretation about
what happened support you in better managing your
response to the situation and acting without emotion?
insights have you gleaned about yourself as a
result of detaching?
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