Transform your emotions and take control of your reactions
“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” — Pema Chodron
Coming from a girl who spent two miserable months crying in bed over her ex-boyfriend* while obsessively blogging about heartbreak, I know it’s easier said than done.
Anytime a misfortune or setback is thrown in our direction, we tend to react emotionally before rationally. We impulsively drown ourselves in bottles of rosé and convince ourselves that our lives are over. We temporarily throw away our logic and perhaps even values to respond to the stress inflicted upon us. We act first and foremost based on emotions — making us think and do some fucked up shit (unless you don’t consider intaking an obscene amount of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Ice Cream fucked up).
And the problem with acting soley based on feelings? Feelings are pretty shitty indicators of reality.
- Feelings are self-contained → they are only individually experienced
- Feelings are temporary → they only exist in the moment they arise
- Feelings are inaccurate → they can be biased or made up subconsciously
Our feelings are complex and multi-dimmensional. Our feelings arise from our past experiences and biased brains. Our feelings don’t always make sense.
However, given this information, I am not suggesting that we ignore our feelings. In fact — quite the opposite. I propose we acknowledge our feelings but while recognizing that they might not be as significant or rational as we think they are. Only when we tackle our feelings and all of its edges are we capable of controlling our immediate response to it.
It’s easy to overreact or get flooded by negative emotions when go through situations such as rejection, heartbreak, or loss. However, these are all external events and while they can leave great impacts in our lives — we have the power to redefine these events. We may never have full control of the circumstances that we are placed in but we will always have the power to respond in our own ways as long as we are wary of the factors that are influencing our responses.
“An emotion is only an emotion. It’s just a small part of your whole being. You are much more than your emotion. An emotion comes, stays for a while, and goes away, just like a storm.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
The next time you feel overwhelmed by emotions,
- Embrace your feelings and try to understand them
- Realize that your feelings don’t define you or dictate reality
- Comprehend that your feelings are temporary
- Reframe your “problems” and transform them into lessons
Maybe then will it be less tempting to email your ex* 3-page letters or cuss out the douchey Prius that cut you off on your daily commute.
*Disclaimer: I got back together with my ex-boyfriend and we’ve learned a lot and are fostering a healthier and balanced relationship especially after internalizing and applying these concepts. We are happy!!!!!