“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
Face it. We are all guilty of the same emotional treason. At some point, in all of our lives we all fall victim to exhibiting the qualities of a “Negative Nelly”. Now, don’t feel too bad. We are all human. None of us are without error. We all have emotions and feelings and we have every right to them. We differ from others in the way that we choose to express said emotions and feelings. Some people are downright better at controlling and self-regulating their emotions than others might be in comparison. It doesn’t make them better, or smarter, or stronger; it simply makes them different.
For those not so good in the “self-regulation department”, the long-term effects of that detriment will (most likely) not be appealing to sustain. You see, there are so many unknowns in life. That is the way it is designed. Although we are pretty incredible beings, we are not (and will never be) all-knowing or all-powerful. We do not have the ability to accurately predict the future. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, next week, or even next year. Let alone, we don’t even know what will happen in the next second, minute, or hour. Can you imagine trying to prepare for all of the unknowns? It is physically impossible, let alone the fact that it is also physically exhausting. We know this much to be true and I’m sure we have all heard this quote by Lou Holtz: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” Based on the mere fact that we are human, we are going to run into challenges. We are unable to avoid them at any and at all costs. We can, however, equip ourselves to respond effectively when compromising scenarios arise.
Begin to put into practice these six, simple steps:
- Ask for divine guidance.
“When life goes down, don’t worry.
Sometimes you have to go down to learn the things that are down.”
For me, this has to undoubtedly be the first step taken. I can only speak for myself in this regard, but I know who watches over me. That is enough said. Each person draws their strength from whichever source they believe in most; my strength and my help come from above. Learn how to actively exercise your faith. We have to accept that we do not have all of the answers, and therefore, it is necessary for the sustenance of your personal peace to cast your cares, fears, worries, and any other sentiment that you are unable to carry on your own, two shoulders onto your saving source.
2. Forgive your emotional triggers.
“Whatever thought that activates a negative mood in your life,absolutely doesn’t deserve a single moment in your mind.”
– Edmond Mbiaka
So, what are emotional triggers? The answer to that question may be different for each person. Defined in basic terms, it simply means ‘actions (by yourself or by others) that make you feel a certain (not so pleasant) way’. I am personally defining it as: the things that make me “…go 0-100 real quick…” It is always so much easier said than done, but we really have to commit to not letting negativity activate itself within our emotional realms. As soon as we give attention to anything negative, it will grow and continue to grow to the point where it literally overtakes everything. It almost always will have a domino effect once you allow it to enter into your space, and like an unmanageable toxin, it will spread to every other area of your life. Negativity doesn’t pay any rent to inhabit you, therefore do not give it the energy, space, or time to do so.
3. Don’t react right away.
“When you react, you let other control you. When you respond, you are in control.”
Admittedly, I used to be very guilty of reacting right away. I have never too much cared for the feeling of being disrespected, but even sometimes the feeling of being so inaccurately misunderstood would also have me completely riled up. I am pleased to report that with age, experience, maturity, and lots of prayers, I have learned the difference between reacting and responding. Instead of jumping to conclusions which I do not have tangible facts to support, I try (instead) to give people the benefit of the doubt in situations. I try not to assume anything; rather I will ask questions to gain more clarity. There are times, of course, when I do feel myself start to become overheated with anger, annoyance, or frustration. Yet, at those times, I know that it is necessary for me to very quickly remove myself from whatever situation is causing those feelings.
4. Find a healthy outlet.
“It is never easy to endure neither pain nor an uncomfortable situation. It seems easy to quit to avoid the pain. If you quit, you will suffer later. It is far better to endure the pain now and enjoy later. Life is all about endurance.”
Find an outlet of release. Writing is a huge form of solace for me. I enjoy it in the forms of both journaling and also creating inspirational content. Outlets can come in different forms for different people, but if you are a person that struggles with regulating control of your emotions, make it a point to add the task ‘find an outlet’ onto your to-do list, and the find that outlet quick, fast, and in a hurry. Find it before negativity finds you.
5. Replace your thoughts.
“There is always something through which things get into our minds. There is always something in mind which does not only control the mind, but also the life we live in totality!”
Mindset is really important. We have to understand that any thought we allow to enter into our minds, and stay in our minds, will undoubtedly manifest into something bigger and more powerful if we don’t dispel it as soon as possible. You absolutely cannot allow it the capacity to linger. Bring forward into your mind a more ideal thought to replace the thought that is unpleasant. Close your eyes and travel to your happy place, wherever that might be. Take a trip there as often as you feel necessary.
6. See the bigger picture.
“If you spend your life over-analyzing every encounter you will always see the tree, but never the forest.”
Know and understand that there is a greater, defining purpose for everything that you face in life. Yes, you will experience good times, but you will experience not-so-good times, too. No one is exempt from either of the two. Inevitably, both will come. Most times, both will come unforeseen. Sometimes it will feel like the not-so-good times are flooding you in droves, especially in comparison to the good times. At other times, the outcome will be the opposite. No matter what, hold fast to the fact that better is on the way. Always wholeheartedly believe that greater is coming.
“Remember, NO ONE has the right to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions, unless you let them.”