I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.
― Oscar Wilde
If you ask Google to define emotion, you are told that emotion is a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. So we can safely say that our emotions are stirred as a response to someone else’s behavior or comment. It is our reaction to others’ action. Mood is just the state of mind we are in, and it is also affected by the circumstances or relationships that we are in.
I am a very emotional person myself. I get excited easily, get elated at trivial of things and get offended at even more trivial of things. This past year I have tried to understand myself and why I react the way I do. And then I have also tried to reason with myself how I should react to any situation. Sounds clinical? Believe me, it is not. You come across very few situations on a daily basis when you are “expected” to react immediately. Rest of the situations gives you ample time to think and react rationally. In other words, show controlled emotions. It is these set of situations that I have been and still am working on.
Nothing is Worth Losing Yourself For
The first step to being emotionally independent is understanding that nothing is worth losing yourself for. When your actions are being dictated by others you can hardly claim to be in control of your life. Bond that you share with your partner is almost always your most cherished relationship. But we often see couples in relationships getting emotional at the drop of a hat. It is very important to realize that being emotionally independent is necessary for any relationship to thrive. You have to take a call on whether the relationship is more important or preserving your identity.
Romantics will cry blasphemy at my suggestion. But let me explain what I mean. A relationship is formed by two or more people involved. The identity of a relationship is defined by the uniqueness of each person involved. If you lose your identity, become someone else, the definition of the relationship itself changes. And if you have done so for the sake of the relationship, your act actually has ended countermanding your first act of love.
Whatever the pundits might say, think 10 times before you decide to lose yourself in your relationship. This is especially true of relationships formed by couples who are in love or married. The flavor of such relationships is unique because of the individuality that two people bring to it. The moment one of the partners tries to lose one’s uniqueness, all is lost. Making adjustments is different and becoming a completely different person is different.
Identify your emotional triggers
The next important step to being emotionally independent is identifying your emotional triggers – both positive and negative. You need to keep even your positive emotions in check because if you get too high on any positive emotion, you are bound to fall that much deeper.
While the world out there argues whether human have six emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust) or four (happiness, sadness, fear/anger and surprise/disgust), you must be relieved to know that you have only these basic types of emotions to control. So to identify your emotional triggers you need to ask yourself what makes me happy or sad or angry. What circumstances arouse a deep feeling of disgust in you? If you can identify your emotional triggers, half the battle is won. If you keep your cool, you can predict when you are going to get emotional. And once you can predict, you can take steps to control it.
Let Others Know you Are Getting Emotional
Your getting emotional is an outcome of other people’s behavior. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to let them know that their behavior is making you emotional. Believe me, no one wants to see you getting worked up. I have tried this very effectively with my daughter. The moment I feel anger rising within me, I tell her that I am getting angry and it would be better if she stopped arguing. And she does. In recent times nothing else has managed to stop her more effectively. Of course, I see to it that I use this as a last resort, when all else fails. I don’t see why it should not work even with grown-ups.
Count to 10 Before You React
This is an age-old and oft-repeated advice. But in the heat of the moment how many times do we actually remember. So next time you realize that you are getting emotional, take a deep breath, close your eyes and start counting on your fingers. The added action of counting on your fingers will give you something to “do” and take your focus away from the disturbing situation. In this time you can compose yourself and react in a more rational way.
Emotions are everywhere. And what are we if don’t show our emotions. So never shy away from showing emotions. What you have to work towards is displaying controlled emotions or reactions. I will be following up this post with some simple things to do in an emotionally challenging situation. So keep tuned and in the interim tell me, in the comments below, what you do to be emotionally independent of situations around you.