The title of this post says it all, doesn’t it?! Emotions can hijack the way we show up in our life and the results can be devastating unless we try to rein that in by using some critical thinking. Our brain is one of our greatest assets and yet we sometimes forget to use it.
As a life coach, one of the things that I try to help my clients see is that it is not the circumstances of our lives that is the problem but rather it’s the thoughts about the circumstance that creates the vicious cycle and the results can be devastating. So, we’ve all got the circumstances in our life, it can be personal or even a global one. We then have a thought about it and then our thoughts generate our emotions.
I want you to stop right here and think about that for a minute. Yes, our emotions come from the thoughts that we think.
And yes, our emotions run the show. Our emotions, especially when we are feeling intense emotions like anger, hopelessness, despair, overwhelm, they can all lead to taking actions that one could regret and the results can be hard to live with.
I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed or lived through a more polarizing time in my life. It seems like more people want to prove that they are right and they don’t care how they treat others in the process. People are allowing their emotions to totally take over and saying things online that I dare say some would never say to your face. I think it’s easy for some people to feel safe behind their screen and with their keyboard to say things that can dig so deep. I’ve seen and been the recipient of having my character attacked for being bold in what I believe in.
Now, hopefully you aren’t the one that finds yourself saying things to attack another person for their beliefs, thoughts or opinions about something. Even if you disagree, there’s a kind way to go about it. If you are on the other end and find yourself being attacked for sharing those same things, it could be easy to allow yourself to let your emotions get the best of you and verbally go off on someone for attacking you for what you shared. This is when it is important to pause.
Take a deep breath and really look at what the person is saying. This is the time to do something that I learned a lot about from a therapist several years ago…
It’s called responding vs reacting.
Reacting is saying something without even thinking about the consequences of your words, it’s speaking out of pure emotion. Where responding is thinking about what you say before you say it. Obviously responding is the kinder way to operate in these situations.
Recently I’ve had some people online say some fairly mean and unsavory things. If I were to allow my emotions to run the show, I would say things I know I would regret. So I pause. And sometimes it takes me a day to get back to where I respond. See I said respond. I allow myself to really think about it and I can remove all the crazy thoughts and reactions that I want to have about it, and I can see more clearly that what they are saying is a mirror for how they see themselves, rather than who I am. Because I KNOW who I am and I know that when I post something that I am very intentional about sharing what I believe in and I strive to do that in a kind way.
When I respond, I respond from my values and principles because it’s important to me to always show love, kindness and compassion to others, even if they vehemently disagree with me or try to drag me down by calling me names. I will not cower to that level because that is not in alignment with who I want to be and I’m working so hard to be the woman that God created me to be. It’s a process and it’s work, and it’s worth it to me to show up in a way that I can be proud of.
So, next time your in a conversation whether it be face to face or online and you find that someone is maligning you, take a step back and think about what you are going to say before you say. I believe that you can be bold and stand up for you what you believe in and still be kind in the process of it all. Don’t let your amygdala get the better part of you.
If emotions are going to run the show, let them be emotions of kindness, love, compassion, empathy, sympathy and so forth.
Have a fantastic day!