Emotions are what they are. They are just like the weather. Some days we feel happy, confident, joyful and excited. Other times we feel sad, hopeless, angry, or defeated. Just like sun is not always shining; there are stormy and rainy days. Do we question the weather?
When I was a student of Zen meditation practice I have learned to accept my feelings more and more. After meditating for over 15 years, I am able to guide my thoughts more efficiently. That is not to say that I am better than anybody else or that I don’t have days when I experience negative emotions; I just have more tools and more practice; however learning to manage our emotions is a life-long journey.
The first step is to become an observer and get in touch with yourself. What am I thinking? What am I feeling? Whose thoughts and beliefs are these? Are these my own beliefs or somebody else’s? We form our beliefs before we are seven years old and as adults, we don’t even remember them anymore.
Dr. Neil Kobrin, the author of “Emotional Well-Being” and the Founder of the Academy of Mindful Psychology says that we need to accept that everything in life is impermanent and that in order to manage our emotions, we need to be kind to ourselves and be open to our feelings. I agree with him that we need to stop reacting; instead we need to learn to RESPOND.
This is especially true when it comes to anger and negative emotions. I found this other great book by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edminson, “The Cow in the Parking Lot, A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger.” They talk about 7 key steps to take to prevent angry situations from escalating (p. 134-135).
1. Make space before speaking or responding.
2. Check the face and body of the other person so that you understand what is going on.
3. Consider the consequences of lashing out
4. Ask yourself: “What assumptions I am making?”
5. Respect and empathize with your own boundaries, limitations, values, and those of the other person.
6. Speak from right attitude. Ask yourself, “What do I really need to communicate to this person?”
7. Deliberately, do not take revenge. In Buddhism, the basic vow is not to harm any other beings.
We also need to adopt the attitude of gratitude and be patient. When we are quiet, the right solution or answer will appear.
Suffering is an essential part of human condition and it cannot be avoided. Buddhists believe that the cause of suffering is our attachment to the outcomes. Many times we get angry because people fail us for one reason or the other. The more that we accept our impermanence and our imperfection, the less we will suffer. To recognize suffering and be willing to express the recognition is the first step out of suffering.
People who have emotional resilience don’t fall apart during challenging times. Instead, they follow their inner guidance and resources and get needed support or professional help. The ideal childhood for a resilient, purposeful adult life may not be the happiest, the most secure, and the most privileged. It must include kindness, enough food, some witness of love, plenty opportunity for self-determination, some fundamental respect, and ability to use talents (Polly Young-Eisendrath, Phd, “The Resilient Spirit”).
When I look at the previous paragraph, I did not experience most of those; yet at the same time, I had to learn to depend on myself, become strong and assertive, and I was driven to understand human nature and relationships. My past suffering has meaning because I have dedicated my life to helping others to heal from trauma, abuse, difficult relationships, and to inspire my clients that there is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t suffer in silence. I am a phone call away. Call 561-299-1028 for a complimentary consultation or visit my website www.NaturalStressManagement.com.