Friday, December 10, 2010

You can't make me feel that way

How many times in your life have you said "you made me angry," "you made me sad" or even "you're making me very happy right now?" I tend to use this terminology pretty often although it's far from what I believe.

For the few years that I worked in the psychology field, I learned from countless interactions with pre-adolescents, that no one can make us feel any particular way. I used to talk with kids about how other people may do hurtful things, which lead to an emotion, and ultimately an action. But it is up to us to choose the emotion and choose the appropriate action. For kids bullying was almost always the issue. One child made another child angry by taking something from them, calling them a name, or talking behind their back. And inevitably the targeted child would be hurt, upset and angry. And while as an adult you can empathize and feel that the targeted child's feelings are justified, we have to use our ability to separate and compartmentalize to help the targeted child understand that they have a choice to make. They can a) be the target; let the bully see them cry, hurt the bully back in some way, or just wallow and be unhappy because of the incident or b) they can choose not to let what the bully does upset them to the point of self destruction and/or the destruction of others.

Now I'm not at all saying it's unacceptable to cry, scream, vent to a friend, talk to someone who will be understanding, etc. But there has to come a point where we move on right? Or else wouldn't we forever be a target?

I think any adult can relate to this. Recently I've been feeling sorry for myself and frankly, that is just the ugliest thing I can imagine. I let negativity from people all around me hurt me in many ways. Sometimes I find myself looking for negativity to justify my feelings of frustration and self pity! Bleh bleh bleh! But, as I write about it, I can see some perspective. It's like reverting back to a bullied child only there is no bully. I'll let a tone in my husband's voice make me cry, a negative comment from a client make me fume, I even let computer complications make me shake with anger. And honestly as I look at it now it all seems really crazy. But in the moment I'm lost in those emotions and forgetting that I have choice.

Well this morning I chose to write this blog in lieu of sitting on the couch and crying or being angry for the rest of the day. I'm choosing to use my emotions to help myself grow and maybe help some of you feel like someone else understands what you're going through. Don't let other people determine how you feel. If you're like my friend K, you may be helping people day in and day out. People with medical conditions, families of people with medical conditions, and doctors that rely on your every move. It's ok to have a hard day but those people should never determine your happiness. Simply, you have a choice.

If you're tired of feeling sorry for yourself like I am, take the reins today and do something about it. Be a strong person who has control of their emotions. If you need to cry and be sad, then own it and be sad. But not because anyone made you sad, just because you need to be for a little while! There's no shame in that. If you want to feel confident, then own it and do something for yourself because you deserve it.  It's up to you.

The interesting thing about this seemingly simple concept, is it's not at all simple. Initially it's harder to take ownership of your own emotions and shy away from blaming others. It's really hard! Because when things ultimately get tough, who is there to blame but yourself? But on the flip side when things are gloriously perfect...then it's all you baby! 25 I'm still practicing that concept. I hope I'm not alone?

Have a confident day in whatever YOU are feeling.


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