Gynomite’s Emotional Assignment of the Day

November 4, 2009 at 9:28 am (gynomite's emotional assignment of the day) (, , , , , , )

Today’s emotional assignment is to take more responsibility for your emotions.

When I worked with teenagers a few years ago, we played this “game” where I would describe a situation, and the kids would have to write down, independently, what their emotion would be based on that situation.

I would say “Your mom isn’t home because she had to work”.  For some of the kids whose moms didn’t work, they felt excited that she was working and also happy about having time alone in the house.  For kids whose parents were always working, they felt ignored and bummed that they were alone again.  Admittedly not a fun game, but it was a good introduction to the idea that our emotions are created by us, and not by situations.  The situations are ambiguous, WE are the ones that give them meaning.

It’s terrifyingly easy to forget this.

So today I would encourage you to remember that you are adults, and that you have the ability to think.  Babies, out of necessity, have to react to their surroundings without processing them.  They wet themselves = they cry.  They don’t have the neural development to be embarrassed about wetting themselves, they just know it feels wet and gross down there.

When things happen to you, like getting cut off by another car, encountering a crazy person on the street, having your heart broken, being rejected for a promotion or job you’re applying to, etc, remember that these are all just ambiguous events.

EVENTS lead to THOUGHTS lead to EMOTIONS lead to ACTIONS

So when an ambiguous event happens in your life, take the time to go through each of these steps.  Think about what the event was like for you, figure out how you feel based on that, and then take action based on those feelings.  They’re your emotions, but they don’t happen in a vacuum.  Everything you’ve ever thought or felt or experienced is leading you to react to things the way that you are, it’s time to take a little more time to appreciate that process rather than just “knee jerking” everything.  This is the first step to understanding and controlling your emotions.

 

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