Having Emotions vs. Emotions Having You. . .


Lately, I find myself in a whirlwind of emotions, seemingly driven by the circumstances of life – except they’re not. Let me offer some examples:

  • I’m furious at the cat I love because she’s begun christening the new carpet (it just doesn’t smell right to her!).
  • I’m frustrated with my sluggish learning curve to master several software applications critical to my current work.
  • I’m upset that the 10 pounds I’ve gained this year seem unwilling to separate from my life – damn them!

But, here’s the thing, my emotional state and focus and my consumption with my own distress arise not from the cat, the lack of learning or the weight gain, they arise from the story I tell myself!

Here’s how the story goes. . .

  • The cat is making my life difficult, it costs me time, money, effort to clean up after her and she may ultimately destroy my new carpet! It’s the cat’s fault!  I should consider getting rid of the cat!
  • My livelihood depends on being a fast learner – if I don’t learn these things quickly, my client will doubt my reliability and capacity to serve their needs – I could lose my income through this incompetence!
  • My weight gain is a reflection of my stress and my failure to manage it! It’s embarrassing to have gained back what I’ve worked so hard to shed in 2016.  I feel ashamed of myself!

Think of it, I create conclusions based on the nonsense that is my interpretation of what’s going on!  Essentially, my emotions “have me” in their grips!

But what if I were to imagine it all differently? What would my conclusions be? What would my emotional state reflect?

Here’s another way to imagine what’s going on. . .

  • The cat is being a cat. I love that cat and in spite of her recent behavior, I’m keeping the cat. We’ll get through the mess and in a month or so, it won’t matter.
  • The software is new to me, I’ll figure it out. No one is complaining. In a month, I’ll have mastered the tasks that seem so complex right now!
  • The 10 pounds come and go – it is time for me to focus my choices both in diet and activity on helping them (once again) depart. I can do this by year’s end.

How we feel is very much the result of the story we tell ourselves – the meaning we impute to the experiences and people we encounter.  If I change my story, I can change my emotional state. Won’t you join me in re-framing YOUR experience by imagining you’re perfectly competent to deal with whatever life sends your way?

You can shut off the chatter-channel that wants you to focus on what’s wrong by simply changing your mind about how you’ll interpret the experiences of your life. It is a choice.

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