Discover why understanding emotions is so important and How you can start doing so today.
Have you ever said any of the following to yourself???
- “Ugggh! He/She makes me so mad!”
- “My boss SHOULDN’T talk to me like that!”
- “I can’t stand it when my husband comes home late from work!”
- “My wife always nags me, and when she does I feel like I am an incompetent loser.”
- “It is so awful that I got a flat tire today. It’s just terrible. It’s gonna ruin my whole day!”
Most of us believe that the people around us and the world we live in can directly cause us to feel a certain way.
MYTH BUSTED! It isn’t true. We are the only single person in our lives who have the power to make ourselves feel anything. This one key insight will help you in understanding emotions!
Before scrolling down, can you guess what the three most common emotions we feel are???? Come on, rack your brain!
You guessed it!
Here is an understanding emotions cheat sheet to figure out how and why you are feeling what you are feeling:
Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is the most common thing that men and women seek therapy for. Whenever we feel anxious or stressed, we are trying to control the outcome of a situation.
Really think about it for a second.
- When was the last time you were stressed?
- Can you remember what you were thinking?
- Did it involve any thoughts like the following:
“I have to get an A on this test or I am a loser.”
“My boss has to love my presentation or else he will fire me.”
“My girlfriend has to listen to me or she doesn’t love me.”
We demand these things, even though most of them don’t ever happen! When we do this, we get anxious and put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve mostly unrealistic goals. Thus, we are truly setting ourselves up for failure! Yuck!
Let’s look at the objective facts of the first statement:
If you don’t get an A on the test, are you really a loser? Whatever the reason may be for not getting the grade you want on the test, you will not die if you don’t get an A on the test!
A healthier alternative to this type of thinking is to say something like this to yourself
I would really like to get an A on the test, but if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world. Getting a B on one test will not make me a loser
Can you figure out what I did here? I changed my DEMAND (have to, must, should, need to) to a PREFERENCE.
By shifting a demand to a preference, you are instantly accepting the reality that you will not always, 100% of the time, ace every test.
Whenever we feel angry, we are blaming someone else for whatever has happened or how we feel
Imagine the last time you were angry….what was running through your head? Did it sound anything like this?
“She shouldn’t talk to me that way.”
“I can’t believe he did that to me.”
“It’s all her fault that I am angry because she started it.”
“I didn’t even do anything wrong, he made me angry.”
“I would never be in this position if it wasn’t for you.”
Although thinking like this helps us to feel better in the moment, it doesn’t help us to resolve conflict in our relationships. Truthfully, it takes two to tango. An argument cannot occur with only one person.
So, the best way to avoid feeling angry, is to focus on your role in the argument or conflict with the other person. Another thing that may be beneficial is to focus on the fact that you can never choose how others act, but only how you react to their actions. Thus, you choose what your emotions will be. This is a major insight in understanding emotions.
Depression is always a result of us putting ourselves down or looking at ourselves negatively. There are several ways of thinking that lead to us feeling depressed and they all involve rating ourselves based on our actions.
Here are some common thoughts that lead to depression:
“I didn’t get the job, I must be a loser”.
“I never heard from the man I went on a date with last week, I must be unattractive and undesirable.”
“I can’t please my wife, I am worthless.”
“If I am not successful in everything I do, I am a useless human being.”
I could go on and on, but the basic point is that whenever we our judging ourselves solely on things that we do or mistakes we have made (past or present), we are rating ourselves unjustly. We are all humans, we make mistakes, we are fallible. We are never going to be perfect and as soon as we can accept that we are on the path to understanding emotions and happiness.
Whenever you are feeling down, try to look at the whole big picture of yourself, everything that makes you who you are. Most likely you will find that you have strengths and areas you could improve. Guess what? We all do! Choose to look at everything that creates your self-concept.
There are a couple of key things to remember if you want to be more in control of the way you feel:
1. We only have control of ourselves….That’s it! We have control over the way we think, how we feel,
2. We don’t actually need, and can never truly have, control over anyone else or any situation. Life is unpredictable, and will always be! We can do our best to plan and try to minimize negative outcomes, but they are not always avoidable.
3. You have the power to change your own reality and decide what is important and how you want to feel!
Say Yes to Love,