Saturday, October 13, 2007

stories and emotions

sometimes people get upset, sad, or angry, and then, claiming there is nothing they can do about their emotions, they say, "i can't help how i feel. it's just the way i feel." emotional reactions become something automatic, outside control.

sometimes someone will even say it is another person who makes him feel sad, makes him feel small, makes him feel unworthy (which, of course, then makes one into a victim). "you made me feel bad."

over the years i have come to deeper understanding of emotions, and i have learned that everything comes from what we believe, even our emotions. emotions come from our story, from our narrative.

it works like this...when i am driving down the street and another driver cuts me off, my response might be anger or even rage, and i may claim my anger is caused by the other driver's behavior. however, it is not the other driver's action that causes my anger, but rather it is my belief that the other driver is wrong that is the cause of the anger. the action (what happened) is simply what happened. my belief is the cause of my emotion. imagine the same scenario but this time i was cut off by a friend rushing to the hospital to save the life of a child. i believe cutting me off was important for so urgent and valid a need and i am not angry. the action is the same but the belief is different; the action is considered to be acceptable under this circumstance, and the emotion is different.

every time you feel an emotion (negative or positive), i ask you to go deeper and seek within, "what is the belief under this?" take all other parties out of the formula.

the beauty of this is that we decide how we feel by choosing what we believe. (i understand, of course, that changing our beliefs takes some work!)

2 comments:

ashok said...

the action (what happened) is simply what happened. my belief is the cause of my emotion. - this puts my thoughts into a totally different plane.

diana christine said...

isn't it awesome to think of these things....

thank you, Ashok, for pondering these things with me.