To Be or Not To Be

“If you allow anyone to control your emotional state, you deserve everything you get.” -Coach

The more you deny people the privilege of controlling your emotional state, you can possibly set a trap for yourself. At the beginning stages of controlling your emotions, being the source of your own emotional energy, it can be difficult. You find yourself constantly evaluating, analyzing, and correcting your reactions. I am aware this is not the goal, but you must start by simply being aware of how you respond to others.

Once you begin to slow down and eliminate the constant analysis of emotions and have more of an automatic response, one that is second nature, you find yourself a bit catatonic. I did! I had this image of the guru who was calm, cool, and always collected. The only emotion they seem to share is brief laughter. I think I was unintentionally imitating that model. No longer could someone else control my emotional response. Yet, another issue obstacle emerged. The problem was I didn’t seem to have any emotional response. I would briefly laugh or allow myself to feel sad or even anger. The common response I used was a head nod and slight smile. It felt realty good to control my emotions, but my approach seemed dull. I realized, I forgot to choose.

Yes, I was no longer allowing others to control my emotional well-being, but I wasn’t necessarily controlling it either. I forgot to choose the state of bliss, happiness, sadness, or life I wanted to feel in any given moment. It is a slippery thing because no one ever mentions it. I learned to choose your emotional state when reacting to someone or not allowing someone to control how you feel. I practiced controlling the response by not allowing some dumb ass shit to get me upset or pissed off. My practice was based in not-being. I never took the time to practice being what I wanted, which meant some outside source was still in control of my emotions.

To help guide your emotions, make a few lists and answer a few questions for yourself.

· Create a list of what you WANT, how you would like to respond to any given situation. This could be tough situations or beautiful moments. Remember, it is not about blocking out negative emotions of being sad or angry. Rather, what is the best way to handle it, accept it, and then let it go.

· Create a list of what you DO NOT WANT. Write down all the ways you choose not to respond. For example, I will allow myself to become angry or upset in any given situation, but I will not attack, belittle, or yell. I will not be judgmental or immediately point fingers.

· Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does this response serve me in this moment? If so, how? If not, why not?

2. Am I in control or is someone or something else controlling my response?

3. What is the best way I can handle this situation?

4. Why am I feeling this way? (When asking this question, look at yourself and not the fact that someone else is doing something to make you feel this way. For example, I am angry, not because my friend didn’t invite me to the event, and they are inconsiderate. Rather, I wish my desires were none to others. I wish we had a closer relationship where they would understand this. Then, act on this feeling instead of the initial response)

5. Put yourself in their shoes and ask, why did they do this? (Small caveat here, when answering, search for the positive reasons why they might do such a thing or simply ask them in a calm and sincere manner)

I like to be happy. I love laughter and charisma. The warmth of love is a great feeling. Those characteristics and emotions are where I choose to reside. Even in moments of anger or sadness, I allow myself to be there as long as I need to be, in order to serve me, to learn from it, but I do not drown in it nor do I prolong it. This is the real tipping point. I choose to be and not be whatever I want (isn’t that the question). Pretty simple formula but hard to execute when you only focus on one side of the equation.

Antonio HarrisonComment