This is a repeat of some earlier material.

Emotions serve us well, whether they be fear, sadness, anger, joy, contentment, pride, etc. I think of these as the lights and dials on the instrument panel, by which we can evaluate our own state of being. In a car, we might see a light that says “oil pressure low”, and our usual reaction is to try and figure out why. It does no good to try and argue with the light, or cover it up, or ignore it, or blame the instrument panel, or become embarrassed or ashamed of our awful indicator lights.

By the same reasoning, a proper response to “feeling angry” is usually to try and figure out why I am angry, what may have caused it, what (if anything) I need to do about it, and how I can avoid the situation in the future. I do not usually try to deny that I am angry, because if I ignore a feeling it often comes again, stronger. I do not usually act out the feeling immediately, either, because that would short-circuit my thoughts and beliefs. I find I am best able to deal with my feelings by acknowledging that they are there, trying to figure out the real cause, and to talk it over with others whom I trust and care about. Then, I consider carefully whether there is action to be taken, and carry it out.

Talking about feelings with others is important. It allows you to compare notes with others who we trust and to get valuable “reflection” and “confirmation” that what we are feeling is normal. This is especially true if you have strong feelings about a certain person; if the person is important to you or is someone you care about, sharing your feelings about that person with that person is important to establish an honest/open relationship. Sometimes, just talking it over with someone is all you really need to do! Not every emotion will demand an action from you in response.

It is also important to me that I take responsibility for my own feelings. I am not always in control of how I feel, but it’s important to remember that someone else didn’t “cause” me to feel a certain way – I chose that reaction (consciously or unconsciously). Those who I care about and trust are in a “power position” which means I have given up a bit of control to them, but even then, I am the one who has to deal with the feeling, not them. I am the one who will have to explain my actions later and be held accountable, whether I acted based on an extreme emotion or based on thoughtful consideration, it is still my choice.

I have often had the experience of reacting quickly and emotionally to a situation, and later regretting my actions. I have also had the experience of waiting, wanting to act and deciding not to, and later being glad that I didn’t react immediately. So, if I have learned anything from my collected experiences on the planet, it is that the “emotional” reaction is not always the best one, and that it is extremely important to separate the emotional reactions from the thoughts and beliefs. This is, in my view, what makes us human and what gives us our power, so we should use that power as often as possible.

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