Managing our emotions is the act of recognizing what thought occurred before we felt the emotion, that then triggered the action. What thoughts are occurring during that moment of action? I don’t know about you, but the times that I make decisions out of emotion, usually turn into a dumpster fire. And that can be from the smallest to the biggest of decisions. I needed to learn how to make better decisions. Not decisions that were unknowingly fueled by my emotions.
I went for a long time never connecting that my emotions were what fuels my decisions. When I finally connected the two, my mind was a little blown. That might sound dumb or obvious, but its like I always thought that emotions and our choices were two separate things. Two different entities that had nothing to do with each other.
Wrong. Just, so wrong. First step, recognizing that our emotions fuel our actions or decisions. Second step, identifying what emotion that is. Third step, pin pointing where that emotion came from and why it was tied to this action or decision. Steps four through infinity, do thought work to manage these emotion fueled actions and decisions. Now, just because the emotion is a happy one, doesn’t necessarily mean you should be making a decision based off of that either.
Happy does not always equal good, right? For example, we don’t want to go and dive face first into a giant pizza (I mean, yes I do, but that defeats the work of self control, right?), just because we are having the best day ever and got that promotion you were working for, or lost the five pounds that you wanted to lose, or did laundry every day this week like you told yourself you would. Rewarding our emotions with an action, good or bad, only fuels the concept in your brain that you make decisions based off of your emotions. This is not how to make decisions.
Now I’m not saying don’t celebrate the wins, big or little. Totally. Go for it. But manage the way that you do it. Manage the thoughts around it. Acknowledge the win (or the loss), and really sit in those feelings. Acknowledging those feelings, seeing where they really come from, that is the work. And its harder than making a decision because of the emotion. I don’t know why, but we’re human and feelings are hard.
So you’re sitting there and feelings and thoughts are flying at you and your brain wants you to feel like you need to do something right TF now to confirm that you indeed are sad/happy/celebrating. Your actions don’t need to confirm your feelings to make them valid. When we remove the action from the equation, we start to un-link the belief that we somehow need our feelings to be validated. If you have them, they are valid.
Now, my friend, you know how to make better decisions. You know that you are not at the mercy of your emotions, and they do not get to dictate how you respond to someone who said something back handed to you, or how you speak to yourself when you eat the cheesecake you weren’t going to eat.
What is the emotion you most often feel when you then make a decision you wish that you hadn’t? Let me know in the comments or send an email and let’s chat!