It has been an emotional month for many people. From personal struggles such as illnesses and the start of a new school year to more widely renowned events such as the anniversary of the 9-11 attack, the suicide of Robin Williams and some high profile cases of domestic violence, there has been much fodder recently for your emotional reactions.
As both a coach and a counselor, I deal with the emotions of others every day. I hear the stories of a lot of people. And I see what works for others and what does not in how best to deal with your emotions.
Oprah says “This is what I know for sure”. What I know for sure about emotions is that they are a double edged sword. I also know that as the world becomes increasingly complicated, if you do not have the ability to control your emotions well, then you are needlessly suffering.
Your emotions or feelings give you information. They tell you what is pleasing to you, when you might be in danger and where you need to pay more attention in order to thrive – among other things. That’s the upside of feelings… making life richer and making the navigation through life simpler.
The downside of emotions occurs though when we become reactionary to everything we feel. If I have said it to my clients once, I have said it a million times, “A feeling is not a fact.” This means that just because you feel something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
Think about a time you have been needlessly worried or a time when you have felt embarrassed to be seen doing a good deed. What you feel is not necessarily related to what is really happening. It’s just a feeling…
I want you to be able to be intentional about emotions:
Creating by intention the ones that you want to feel more often.
Intentionally feeling less of the ones that are hard for you.
And I want you to be able to decide rationally how you want to behave – so your behavior is not based on whatever feeling comes along if that does not serve you.
Most of all, I want you to understand the importance of your emotions, how to gain control of them, and how to express them appropriately. You know you are on the right track when you can feel one way and chose to act another.
Let’s make your emotions become your friends instead of something you are fighting. Take some time to think about what emotions you are “good at”. And which ones you try hard not to feel. Let us know in the comments what you want to learn about handling your feelings.