Sunday, 14 November 2021 00:07

Mastering Your Emotions

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Joy. That small but powerful word inspires so much within us. We think of so many things that bring joy to our lives: Our children, our friends, our favorite movie, a song, a good meal, the people we love. It inspires us to pursue our passions, motivates us to move forward in our dreams, and has the power to evoke smiles on our faces.

Are joy and happiness the same? Can you have one without the other? Joy and happiness are different. Joy is an internal sensation of happiness. It is not an instant feeling of gratification. It happens over time and through conscious effort. Joy is when we can be our authentic selves and it lasts much longer than happiness.

Happiness comes more frequently, with small, or big, things leading up to this emotion. Just bought a new car? Found the perfect dream house? Ecstatic, aren’t you? Sure, these things make your heart sing for a while, but it won’t last. Other things can rip the happy feeling right out of us, say a disagreement with our spouse, a call from our child’s teacher, a misunderstanding with a friend. Suddenly we feel sad, agitated, or angry again. That’s okay.

Emotions and feelings don't have meaning unless you give them meaning. If you allow the emotions to consume you, then you are choosing to allow those emotions to have more space in your mind than what they deserve. It's okay to feel those emotions. Let them stay for a bit. Have a conversation with them. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s a strategy that I have learned to utilize to move the feelings on a little quicker. I think of the quote, “To endeavor to forget something is a certain way of thinking of nothing else.”  

If you work through the reasons why you might be feeling a certain way by asking deeper questions and getting to the heart of the feeling, the negative feeling will more than likely disappear quicker than if you are fuming and marinating in it, reliving the reasons why you are feeling it. 

In his book Master Your Emotions, Thibaut Meurisse talks about how we have the power to control our emotions just by changing the way we think. So instead of using phrases like, “I am fill-in-the-blank,” we can begin using phrases like, “I feel fill-in-the-blank". By changing one word in the sentence, we automatically change our attitude towards the emotion.

"I am mad" becomes "I feel mad." "I am sad" becomes "I feel sad." We are not our emotions. They are temporary and fleeting state of mind that sometimes last longer than we'd like, but never forever. Be honest with yourself. And if you are upset with someone else, be honest with them too. 

Remember that the true feeling of joy comes from within yourself. We all have intrinsic worth and value. Those we love and care about can see it, but sometimes it can be harder for us to see it within ourselves. I started writing words of encouragement and compassion on post-it notes and sticking them to my bathroom mirror. Simple things like, “You are loved.” “You are worthy.” “You are strong.” “You can do this.” “Things will change.” “You are not stuck; you are growing.”

If you are feeling sad or depressed more often than not, please seek someone to speak to about what’s going on, whether a medical doctor, a psychologist, or a spiritual leader.

We are all beautiful and flawed human beings, just making our way, loving, learning and living, in this temporary shell we call our bodies.


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