Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Responsibility for Emotions?

What is responsibility?

Isn't it just a little bit silly that I should ask the question? Many times I feel like I really should know. But more and more I think I really just don't know. very much.

A few years ago I signed up for a newsletter that highlights how to take responsibility for your emotions, and consequently your actions as well. A sweet lady by the name of Lynn Namka has made it one of her goals in life to help people learn to communicate and function in a healthy and positive, life-giving manner. I discovered her while searching out online materials to help me understand anger and what it takes to manage it, because I wanted to better understand it so I could learn how to better love those in my life who suffer from it. Well, come to find out, anger is a pretty common ailment that comes in many shapes and forms. And, come to find out, I wasn't as impervious to the emotion as I thought I was. I had been a happy host to the feelings and behaviors of the lesser known manifestations of anger. Little did I know. Oh how justification loves ignorance.

I just want to share a few of Lynn Namka's recommendations for taking responsibility for our emotions and behaviors. I looked it up last night because I was confronted with my own feelings of extreme anger after a somewhat frustrating day (I know, it was Father's Day and I had such high hopes. . . don't ask :). I hope someday to have worked out all the triggers (maybe in the next life?), though in the meantime the least I can do is to practice taking responsibility--even if I'm a little late and the damage has already been made.

One of Lynn Namka's recommendations for managing your emotions is to say to yourself, "in the past, I have chosen to feel . . . about this situation. Today, I choose to feel . . ." It helps to recognize the role of personal choice in the internal statements we make, and to use it as a measure of analysis to help us make better choices.

Examples:

I make myself feel:

  • angry when my mom . . .
  • depressed when my spouse . . .
  • sick to my stomach when my friend . . .
  • nervous when he . . .
  • guilt when she . . .
I choose to be:
  • angry when my sister says . . .
  • depressed when my friend . . .
  • nervous when . . .
  • upset over this event . . .
In this instant I choose to be . . .

Viktor Frankel, holocaust survivor and accomplished Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, believed that choice is the ultimate human freedom--the choice of attitude in any situation, no matter how adverse the circumstances. Convincing yourself that you have choice in the matter is the challenge.

. . .

I am so tired now; I would write more, but this will have to be another tbc post. Have fun 'getting your angries out' though ;) I know I need to make time for it :)