Do you conduct a post mortem analysis every time you believe a relationship has gone wrong? It’s a pretty common thing to do if you’re feeling hurt. It can haunt you if you’re a particularly sensitive person. Or it may just anger you more if you don’t understand any of the reasons. But let me ask you this. Does your analysis churn out a recommendation for what YOU (not they) should be doing differently? If you’re like most of us, you’ve fallen a time or two into the trap of concentrating on what others should be doing and not on what you should be doing. Here’s the problem: We can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves. So being the emotional AND rational people we’re designed to be, we must consider what it takes to gain emotional control over ourselves.
Emotional control is gained or lost bit by bit.
We’re in week 5 of studying the book Intelligently Emotional. And I’ve got to be honest. Now that we’re really in the weeds with all this intelligently emotional behavior, it’s never been so clear to me just how much of my life has been spent “out of real control” of my emotional responses. I’m not talking about nuclear meltdowns or uncontrolled fits of rage (although I’m guilty of those as well). I’m talking about all the little ways that I’ve handed over control of my emotions and my choices to people who have hurt me. It’s about all the times I’ve chosen not to grab that “window of opportunity” to replace hurt or resentment with better, more helpful emotions like empathy and love.
It’s not easy, of course. When you listen to the interview with Dr. Lincoln in Part 3 of our book study, he makes it very clear. The only way to grab the opportunity for an emotional upgrade is to practice! But equally clear is the fact that all the time I’ve spent focused on my hurt feelings or the people that caused those feelings has only ever drug me down and stalled my potential. Not making the upgrade places all those hurt feelings and the actions I needed to take to resolve them into someone else’s hands. Can you relate?
I’m sure you’d agree that it’s unreasonable to let what someone else has done control and mold your thoughts. But can you see it while it’s happening? Or do you only see it once the damage is done?
Regardless of what you now see is happening with your emotional responses, there’s good news: Our emotions are most vulnerable to being changed or voted down immediately after we’ve become conscious of them. It’s at this point (“Reason’s Window of Opportunity”) that we can make a judgment about whether or not to change our feelings. You can either make this decision by default and just allow them to have their way. OR… you can upgrade to better emotional fuel if needed.
- Hate can be replaced with love.
- Anger can be replaced with empathy.
- Hurt and bitterness can be replaced with peace.
Set your goals on realizing fulfillment and happiness, reaching your potential, and becoming someone truly good for others to be around. Nursing your negative emotions and fueling those by focusing on them will land you nowhere good.
At least one hand on the steering wheel, please…
Whether you prefer to have both hands on the wheel and exercise a large degree of control in your life, or you’re good with one hand driving and one hand managing whatever comes up, it’s important to understand how to stay in control of yourself.
In other words, self-control is key to your success. What’s more, self-control is basically the same as emotional control. Stay in control of your emotions and you then have control over the things that are actually within your control. And what of those things that are not within your control? Well, leave those in the hands of whomever has that responsibility.
If you’re ready to stay in the driver’s seat of your life, here’s help.
Our 6-week book study continues and is designed to dramatically level up your emotional intelligence. Learn the keys to a lifestyle of emotional control.
WE’D LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN US:
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- Grab your copy of the book “Intelligently Emotional“ by Ray W. Lincoln.
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See you next week!