The Logic of Emotions: How to Change your Feelings
How can we change our feelings? We don’t try to reason our way out of their grip. We don’t argue the “logic” of our feelings. There isn’t any.
First, we make a choice to release these feelings. We can write an anger letter. We can confide in a trusted friend. When we do that, our personality changes. We are less vulnerable than we used to be. After a few such successes, we are hardly vulnerable at all. Things start to roll off us like water off a duck.
In addition, we can choose to catch ourselves about to react in ways that do not work for us. Our task is to choose consciously and deliberately not to do it. We deserve to stop doing it. We are replacing our old behavior with a new, appropriate choice based on our mature judgment based on what the reality situation requires us to do. The old way never made us happy. We don’t have too much to lose.
Another choice we may take is to disengage from someone’s antagonism. Instead of letting them push our buttons, we choose Plan B, which is to do whatever our judgment tells us would be mature and sensible. Instead of reacting out of feelings from the past, we have “decided to decide.” We have gone from being under their control to making a response happen of our own free will.
We are free now to “do the unexpected,” such as agree with the feelings, not the facts. It costs us nothing to agree that our friend feels the way he feels. He has not asked us to straighten him out. He is not our child. We are in control of us. We are choosing not to volunteer our services, which are going to be counter-productive anyway. That is an act of self-affirmation: “I am responsible for my own choices.” We can remind ourselves,”What difference does it make? I’m not here to straighten him out. He hasn’t asked me to do so. I am responsible for myself. I have my hands full with me!”
Friends in a restaurant image available from Shutterstock.
Tags: Anger Management, Archive