"My Emotions Got The Best of Me!"
We tend to act like our emotions come to us, as if they are a burglar who breaks into our house, ties us to a chair, and holds us hostage against our will. In our minds, we need something outside of ourselves (a person, more money, a new job) to come and "save us."
But what if I told you that you've actually been driving to the burglar's house, taking a small suitcase, making yourself at home, and crashing on their couch?
Because the truth is that emotions don't come to us. We go to our emotions.
And each of us all has a pattern of emotions that we have trained ourselves to be really good at.
Have you ever known somebody (or been the person) that people avoided because they always find something to be angry about? Conversely, we all have that one person who we love because they always manage to be happy no matter what is happening in their life.
Emotions are habits.
The good news is we can train our body and mind to build better habits. And there are three key things that we need to be mindful of as we take control of our state:
1. Physiology. Imagine what the most depressed person in the world would look like? What do they do with their body? You wouldn't even have to see them in person to know they would probably be slumped over, staring down at the floor, breathing shallowly. It's likely they would shake their head "no" if someone tried to comfort them
Meanwhile, what would a confident person look like? They would walk into the room, shoulders back, making eye contact with others, and be energetic as they punctuate their body movements.
How you use your body has an impact on how you feel. Next time you are feeling sad, make a massive change in your physiology. Go for a run.... dance around the living room. If you are angry, rather than clenching your jaw or your fists, sit down and force yourself to breathe deeply for 3 minutes. When you change your body, you can change your emotions.
2. Focus. What are you focusing on? A person with a terminal illness may decide that this is the end and they are being unfairly punished. Or they could decide that they have too many things that they still want to do with their life and they must beat the disease. Perhaps they'll instead decide that it's a time to re-evaluate what is truly important and make the most of the time that they have left.
Where they put their focus is the difference between feeling like a victim, determined, or open-hearted and loving.
If you are struggling to change your focus, simply ask yourself in any difficult situation, "What if this were happening FOR me, instead of to me?" What would the lesson be?
3. Language. Wayne Dyer said that the two most powerful words in the human language are "I am." Whatever you follow that up with is ultimately what you become. You could tell yourself "I am going to be forever single." Or you could take an empowered meaning and say "I am waiting for the right partner to come along."
Whichever statement you make is what you will experience, as your nervous system will produce an emotion to match your language. But if you feel unworthy of love, your body language will be much different than if you feel hopeful that the right partner is out there.
And thus, we have looped back around to point #1.
Does any of this mean that you aren't going to have bad days? Of course not! There will still be times you feel sad, pissed, or overwhelmed.
But you don't have to live there.
Life is too short to feel like garbage. When you become more conscious of your emotional patterns, you can take the wheel and make a change!