Controlling Our Emotions and Reactions

Recently I was featured on a beautiful female community website (www.astoldbywomen.com) with this article and the quote they used from me as the main reference had many people commenting on the topic or asking me about it. I love the concept and understanding of why it’s important to control our emotions because I’ve personally invested a lot of research into understanding how emotions dictate our energy and mind. 

If I am being truthful, a lot of females struggle with this concept, which is why some are commonly perceived as “emotional”. Now to me, that’s not really an offensive term. Because emotions are powerful and if we use them wisely, we are able to connect and communicate with the right people. Which most would understand or perceive as emotional intelligence, which is very important in the “real world” and workplace. However, in order to use them wisely, we have to apply logic to our decision-making and way of thinking. I’ll give a few examples of what I mean.

For example, if you are driving on the road, minding your own business, but suddenly someone cuts you off, how do you normally respond (mentally and emotionally)? And take a real good second to think honestly about that. The average/typical response is to be angry, flip the person off, maybe even try to cut them off or do even worse damage (mmm, road rage people). Now this was all based on a heated emotional response that we chose not to have any control over. We chose a negative emotion/feeling instead of remaining neutral or even better, happy. Isn’t it a bit silly and perhaps, “illogical” for us to be choosing to feel angry? And if you’re thinking, “well no, that driver made me angry…” Well, unfortunately, you’re wrong on that. The driver chose an action and you chose to react to what he/she did. In the seconds after the event, you have the option to be angry, neutral, or any other positive emotion. Now if you’re still thinking, “well, it doesn’t matter if I choose to be angry or not.” That’s true…but is it going to make the situation better? Will it reverse the fact that he/she cut you off? No…so why choose to feel such a negative energy?

This same idea can be applied when we hit that unexpected traffic, or maybe if you live in California like me, then you definitely understand the pain of rush hour traffic. We can be upset that now it’s going to take us an extra thirty minutes, one hour, two hours, etc. to arrive to our destination, orrrrrr…we can accept it as is and move on with positive energy and perhaps hopes of traffic decreasing.

Something that might occur more on a daily basis for all of us is receiving texts, emails, notifications, etc. that piss us the f*ck off. Or uneasy. And unfortunately (I’ve definitely been a culprit of this as well), we tend to respond immediately based on our first emotional response. If we are pissed at the person, we respond immediately with attempts to “one-up” their message with a savage text. Or something within that realm. The reality is, we are much better off waiting a few hours, maybe even days (depending on how significant it is) to respond. That’s the basic idea of the difference between logic and emotion decision-making. When we take a step back to reevaluate the situation, we can better understand the position the other person is in and how we can strategically respond to control a more positive outcome.

This way of thinking and approach I learned a lot through stoic philosophy in the books I have read and/or currently reading. I have listed them below:

  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

As I stated in my featured article…

“Make decisions strategically and wisely and be less reactive to emotions.” 

xx

 

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