In life there are times other people do things that make us feel angry or upset, angry. These situations make us feel bad about the situation, the other person, ourselves or all three. And it is especially difficult to know what to do, how we should feel in these situations because it does not just involve us but another person, another person whose behaviour we have no control over.
When these situations occur, we are often caught up in the moment and quick to react, later regretting it. Long after, the negative emotions still linger and we can’t shake them off.
Different people will react and be affected by situations differently. You want to be one of those people who are unclouded by their emotions, people who you might think of as strong, positive.
These people are able to not let their value, integrity and happiness depend on other people or external sources. That is not to say people are not important in their lives, other people can still make them happy – should make them happy if they are in their lives, but their overall happiness doesn’t depend on somebody else. Their sense of self comes from a place within, unreachable and immovable by external forces.
Everyone has things life throws at them they’d rather not go through. Bad things can happen to anyone. We can’t choose the things that happen to us but we can choose how we react to them. We are the ones responsible for our own emotions, for mastering them. You must control your emotions before they control you.
When dealing with your own negative emotions,
- Be aware of how you feel, your natural reaction to the situation. Allow yourself to feel the emotions in their full force. Don’t suppress it.
- Put a label on it, an actual word, like “angry.” This helps you to define it. When you give feelings a label like this, it lessens their importance and reduces them to just a word, so there is less meaning attached.
- Observe the emotion as you would if you were watching your own life in motion picture or as if through a camera lens or even an observer from outer space! Visualise physical distance from the scenario, imagine a lens zooming out further and further from the image in your head. Create peace in your mind with distance.
- Detach from the situation.
- Think how does this affect the bigger picture, the future? Will this matter in five, or even one year’s time?
- Ask yourself if someone else’s behaviour, how they are treating you worth losing your happiness over? People can only hurt you if you let them.
- Breathe. Physically breathe. Breathing helps you to relax physiologically, once your muscles relax, your mental state will be altered. It is not physiologically possible to be both in a relaxed and stressed state; the two are polar opposites.
After these steps, the initial feelings of anger, hurt and bitterness will diminish. Now that you view the situation from a more mindful perspective, you can choose how it will affect you.
When we choose the way we respond to other peoples’ behaviour, what we are really choosing is the person we want to be. Our own behaviours are a reflection of us more than anything else.
The way we feel about a situation is because of our own interpretation of the situation not the situation itself, like the Shakespeare quote goes: “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking it makes it so”.
Sunset on Earth Day.
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