When Someone Else’s Emotions are Your Limits
This idea that emotions have a power of their own is one that fascinates me. I meet very few people who are able to focus on what they want regardless of what they are feeling – and when I do they tend to be me, which really gets me interested. This post isn’t about mastering my emotions, it is about how I let the emotions of other people master me, which is a not so obvious twist to a familiar topic.
It starts with how aware you are of how other people affect you ? Have you noticed how hard you work to not get into trouble ? Or how hard you work at not making people unhappy or angry or sad No ?
Then how about this approach – have you noticed how many times you use sentences that go like this:
“Don’t make me angry” or “when you say/do you make me sad/ angry, feel ….”
The key words here are “you make me”. My question is how ? How can anyone else make you angry or sad or glad ? Yes, I know, you have been told your entire life that other people control your emotional being, but how ? When did you ask how ? I know how you got the idea, just not how it actually works ? How does someone else control your emotions ?
Little Johnny gets told he has to share because when he doesn’t the other children are sad. Your mother has told you more than once to stop what you are doing right now because you are making her angry. So you did! Your entire life your behaviour has been manipulated by how other people react to it. And now you expect other people to do the same back ! Now you sit and wait for other people to stop making you angry and start making you happy.
Which brings me to the reason why this is important, how often do you find yourself not having a clue what to say or do because you can’t tell how the other person is going to react because it isn’t consistent ? I have spent literally years trying to work out what to say and do to make the people around me happy and it is never the same. One day it is this, the next day that makes them mad. And we wonder why we have no self confidence.
Even more important, how much time do you spend trying to get people to agree with you or be happy ? How much weight are you giving how other people are feeling or will feel to your decision making process.
This is the biggie for me. I am happy to start owing my emotions because I get to choose how I process what you say and do, not you. But here I sit still afraid of making the decisions I need to make because I know those choices are going to be unpopular with important people in my life.
I guess I am a coward because instead of standing and being present to that emotional backlash I choose to just not have people in my life to whom I have an obligation that I can never fulfill.
When I sit and imagine not being responsible for making someone else sad or disappointed It feels like a huge weight suddenly evaporating. Imagine being able to choose what works for you without having to take into account managing the emotional backlash of the people around you because you aren’t responsible for what other people feel, they are ?
OK, so the first time I imagined that I just ran and hid because the people around me don’t get that they own their emotions and are quite insistent that I do what makes them happy even if it doesn’t make me happy which is here it gets interesting, because what if making choices for yourself included a conversation about how that would affect other people but wasn’t dependant on that ? What if you were able to actually debate the pro’s and con’s and explore ways of getting where you want to get with the other person, rather than it being an either, or situation ? And what if….. it was OK when the other person wasn’t happy because their approval wasn’t a pre-requisite for what you choose ?
Living with Dare is what this is all about. It is about daring to choose, daring to own your life and daring to allow others to claim theirs. It takes practice and patience and courage but it gives back so much more.
What would it take to not be controlled by other peoples emotions ? Go on, I dare you!.