Controlling Emotions

the emotion that breaks your heart is often the one that heals it

Most of us would like to control our emotions in order to avoid very negative feelings and make life more pleasant, but in my experience this is not actually possible.  In fact, when we try to control our emotions they become more powerful, but if we don’t try to control them and just experience them instead they become powerless.  The paradox is that when we attempt to control a negative emotion by attempting to change it or escape it, the negative emotion controls us instead.

Last evening I had an example of this when something happened that had me feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset ~ basically I felt bad.  I didn’t want to have those negative feelings, and I tried to avoid them by transferring them to someone else instead.  And that doesn’t work because all that did was have two people feeling feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset.  Then I thought about avoiding those feelings by buying some booze and drinking ~ and for me that is an extremely bad idea.  The most extreme way of avoiding negative emotions is to attempt suicide.

I didn’t want to do any of those things, but the desire to escape negative emotions is strong in me.  For a short while my negative emotions were controlling me.

The alternative is to observe and experience negative emotions without getting lost in them.

I may not be able to control my emotions, but if I try hard I can control how I react to them.  I can’t change how I feel, but I can change what I do.  Last evening I was half successful because I didn’t actually buy any booze and get drunk, and after a short while I stopped blaming someone else for what was basically my own mistake.  I have learned that if I feel bad, angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset, it’s usually because of something I’ve done.  And anyway, my feelings are my feelings, and I shouldn’t be afraid of them.

For me, the secrets of coping with really negative feelings are;

  • Do not immediately react when I suddenly have strong, uncontrollable, chaotic, dark, negative feelings.
  • Recognise the emotions and try to work out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.  And usually it’s much more complicated than it first appears.
  • Try to stay calm, even if inside I’m feeling uncontrollably angry.  Just realise that in a while the anger will most likely pass, and if I do something stupid now I might regret it for a long time.
  • Try to find a polite, logical, unemotional action in response to feelings which are utterly the opposite to anything polite or logical.

Some say that we shouldn’t get angry we should get even.  And that we should never apologise because it’s a sign of weakness.  All I know is that if I just react to the way I feel I usually get myself into deep shit.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

this is a good rule

when it comes to negative emotions

 

4 responses

  1. You got this Jack! You have great advice!

    Like

  2. For years I’d button up my emotions, I still do, but I was really horrible at letting them out. Because of dad’s who would punish or mom who would tell me I was a baby or imagining things. I’d not cry in movies and rarely in real life. It was worse when people told me I was too reactive and emotional. How could I be both? So, in order to make everyone happy, I was everything anyone wanted. Stupid and easy…or fairly easy. I escaped into fiction more than anything else. I still do. I am pretty sure there is a lot more bad fiction out there than bad booze!
    Feelings and not being afraid of them…Strong words.

    Like

  3. Me too, it does me no good at all.
    Thanks Victoria 💖💖💖

    Like

  4. I’m glad you didn’t buy any booze…usually to wait helps 🙂 good post too

    Liked by 2 people

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