Emotions Don’t Do Any Damage, Actions Do.

Emotions Don’t Do Any Damage – Actions Do.

Think about all the emotions you feel when visiting the Circus.  The first act is with the monkeys and clowns.  We giggle at the cheekiness of their tricks.

Then the harrowing acrobats flipping through the air.  Leaving us breathless and in awe of their death defying performance.

You’ve never seen all the young girls in the audience so quiet when the Princess comes riding out on her Pony.  Wondering if your child has forgotten to blink, she’s so enthralled.

As that act finishes the Cowboys and Indians come out for the boys.  Now it’s their turn to be captivated.  The bad guys start to take over and the audience is in an uproar.

Each act delivered to stir all your emotions.  While we’re spell bound by the performances we don’t feel a sense of loss when one act comes to an end.  We watch, observe and enjoy it for what it is.  A passing moment.

That’s how we should experience our feelings.  Every emotion makes itself known to us.  It has the potential to shift our mood.  When all we had to do was acknowledge it without reacting.  Aware it will move on.

What separates us is how we view a situation.  What combines us is our emotions.

Rage:  An anger so intense every muscle is tight.  Our thought processors become unbalanced.  Imagination can go into over drive with thoughts of revenge.  You may want to lash out.  Thinking about all those one liners you could say to inflict pain on the person who has hurt you.  Generally a loved one.

Despair:  The whole body filled with anguish.  It feels terribly uncomfortable.  An example is having to move a parent to a nursing home as they require constant care.  Keeping them safe and healthy is a priority.  This change in circumstances is a heavy burden to carry.

Happy:  Life is a joy.  This sensation is so wonderful you never want it to leave.  It lifts us up.  We see everything in a positive light.

None of us is free from feeling.  Yet we know which emotions we prefer.  We tend to lap up the positives and do all we can to avoid the negatives.  We’re not good at feeling bad.

Emotions aren’t the problem.

There is nothing wrong with any of the feelings that rise within us.  They’re natural.  Acting out due to these emotions is when trouble begins.

How many times have you heard, ‘never say anything in anger that you will regret later’.  This informs us that our moods are constantly on the move.

A mother buys her daughter a present for winning the swimming tournament.  The child is thrilled at coming first.  Receiving the phone she had raved on about for several weeks is a big bonus.  She’s on an emotional high.  Basking in her glory.

The young person jumps on the internet to share her win.  The first thing she come across is a nasty letter from her friend. She’s being blasted for hanging out with her best friends boyfriend.  Her mood immediately drops to an all time low and tears have replaced that big smile.

An alternative way to go about emotions.

Enjoy the win and the phone.  Understand her friend would be upset.  She could  attend to this matter at the first opportunity.  Realising she was impacted by her friends outburst.  Feeling horrible, observing the emotions rather than reacting to them.

It’s not that easy when we’re hurt.

Every single one of us acknowledge that emotions never remain the same.  No matter what the feeling, it isn’t permanent.

The above scenario.  The young woman was happy.  Who would need to fix that?  The high was as unstable as the low.  It could be taken from her.

You wake up in the morning feeling grumpy and a little tired.  You partner greats you with a smile.  In that immediate second you have so many options in how you respond.

  • You can share how you feel.
  • You can acknowledge your mood, smile back at your partner.
  • Snuggle up, not wanting to get out of bed.
  • You can wipe that smile off their face by sharing your grumpy.
  • You can point at them and say they’re the reason why you woke up grumpy and tired making a joke of it.

The mood isn’t pleasant.  Yet you decide on what you want to make of it.

Emotions don’t do any damage, actions do.

Prepare for the reaction not the moods.

We don’t need to prepare for our moods.  Unless we behave in a manner that makes us feel horrible after we have acted.

For instance, a temper that send us into to fits of rage require our immediate attention.  We know this feeling will return at some point.  The behaviour attached to this emotion creates chaos.

We can be ready for this attitude.  Have a strategy in place.  Our motivation is to manage our behaviour much better next time round.  This makes life easier for ourselves, not harder.  We go to this effort because we’re worth it.

RELATED:  Positive and Negative Reinforcement Create Patterned Behaviour.

You don’t have any say in how you feel.  That comes naturally.  You do have the power to control how you react.

You don’t have any say in how you feel. That comes naturally. You do have the power to control how you react.… Click To Tweet

We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel. – Marshall B. Rosenberg

How can I observe emotions when I feel? 

Look upon your emotions with empathy.  It’s a practice that requires focus and discipline.  This will not come easy initially.  Yet you already have the skill set within you.

Your best friend has just split with her partner of thirteen years.  Devastated by the discovery of a cheating spouse.

You arrive at her house as soon as you can.  You give her the biggest bear hug.  Understanding the anguish she is going through.  Sharing tears and anger.  You will feel it with her, but won’t react.  You understand she has a lot to process and it will take a while for her to get over this.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. -Kahlil Gibran

Could you image being able to feel the intensity of your emotions yet manage them the way you did with your friend.  This is achievable after the death of someone close or your own personal crisis.

Emotions are passing through.  Learning to observe them, does not take away the impact.  It won’t mean you loved a person any less.  There’s no escaping these feelings.  You just don’t use them against yourself.

Don’t hold happiness hostage.  As you lose its grasp you feel empty.  Let it go, it will come back.  Holding on is what creates misery.

Don’t hold happiness hostage. Holding on is what creates misery. Click To Tweet

You manage excitement as you would anger or sadness.  As they arrive you acknowledge the mood and observe it.  You don’t react to positive or negative emotions.

Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance. – Deepak Chopra

Living in the moment.  Accepting the emotion you are feeling right now.

It’s when we don’t that we’re affected.  If you don’t embrace bad moods you will respond to them. Find them difficult to manage.

In conclusion.

This is not an easy way out.  It’s a tough lesson to learn.  We’re with ourselves 24 hours a day.  In that time we move from one feeling to another.

The struggle is not with the experience, it’s with the emotion.  We don’t get entangled in anger.  We don’t get caught up in happiness.  Always think of yourself as if at the circus.  You feel, you experience, you observe and you let the show go on.

We don’t even realise we have managed a situation when it’s of little importance to us.  We go about the motions with ease.

That’s not the case when things make you crazy.  In the intensity of the moment you have to decide what you will do with those emotions.

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it.

Rachel writes about self-development. Encouraging others to go easy on themselves through a transition of change. Humans generally get it wrong before they get it right. She specializes in identifying repeated patterns in behavior that hinder growth. She enjoys assisting others develop personally. Her mantra is ‘reflect on your behaviour, develop strategies to improve, so you continually grow’.

Posted in Behaviour, Self Development and tagged , , , , , , , .

32 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing your great insights on emotions!

    I totally agree with you about being an observer rather than a reactor. Whenever I notice my “negative” emotions, I take a deep breath, stop doing whatever I was doing and take a moment to acknowledge the emotion. Then, I start to have a little conversation with it like “hey there, what triggered you, and what can I do for you?” After listening to what it has to tell me, I send it love and let it go. It takes a while, but it usually works great unless I’m dealing with my old, deep rage or something which needs more time and meditation to love it fully. By dealing with the emotions with love as they come to the surface, we can let them go without creating any more emotional baggage, right?

    Thank you again for another great reminder, Rachel!

    In love & gratitude,
    Keiko

    • Hey Keiko,

      The way you go about dealing with your negative emotions is amazing self control. The hardest part about negative emotions is they can send us into overdrive. We become immediately unbalanced. And with a method like yours there is no need to be. Those questions you ask yourself are guiding and will take you to the source of your own frustration. Being honest in those moments is the key.

      To get to your advanced stage of emotional maturity you must have done a whole heap of work on yourself. Your tools are impressive. Sitting down with love and meditating is dealing with them head on. No avoidance there. Staring right into what makes you react. Your answer has several posts worth of work. Thank you.

      Rachel.

  2. Hi Rachel,

    You bring up a interesting perspective. It isn’t the emotions its how we act on them.

    A lot of people let their emotions guide what actions they are to take. As you said its important to learn how to manage them. Otherwise they end up controlling your life, and a lot of the time you wouldn’t get the outcome you want.

    Great way to remind people to take a moment to think about their emotions.

    ~Lea
    Lea Bullen recently posted…10 Startling Reasons You’re Still Not HappyMy Profile

    • Hey Lea,

      As humans we are all reactors to our emotions until we learn otherwise. A reaction in anyone is an identifier that something has hit a sensitive area within them. How wonderful that the very thing that can unravel us, can tell us exactly what area of ourselves we need to work on.

      Reacting to our emotions causes chaos, hurt ourselves and others. We want to control our emotions for our own state of mind. To make life easier on us and our the people closest to us.

      I agree Lea when you react emotionally the outcome is generally not in our favor.

      Rachel.

  3. Hi Rachel
    Here you have touched on the greatest challenge in life for any human being: moving on.

    Something bad happens to you. What now?

    On an intellectual level we all know the answer is to get over it and move on. Our emotions say: “Not so fast. I am the victim here. I dont want to get over it”.

    Rumi said life is a balancing act of holding on and letting go. We have to get this act right, day after day. Our happiness depends on it.

    If we cling to the emotion of the moment we will stay in the moment while life goes on and leaves us behind. We miss our opportunity to live all of life.

    Great post with lots of food for thought.

    • Hey Igert,

      I agree emotions are a life time challenge. Finding our own special way of dealing with each and every situation that arises. And some days we have our super powers where there is not a thing that can ruffle our feathers, then other days we can near fall apart with the slightest unease.

      Rumi was a wise man. Letting go, please if you find the answers share them. Sometimes the mind just wants to hold onto something and we can allow this to do our heads in. This only shows us were we need to do some development. Rip it apart, get to the source of the why, who and how. Then have a strategy ready to test next time when a similar annoyance presents.

      The cling is another trigger to question whats going on with us. Our emotions show us what we need to work on within ourselves to move forward.

      Rachel.

  4. Hi Rachel,
    This is a masterpiece.
    I really loved the line… you don’t have any say in how you feel, but you have the power to control how you react. My mum used to say this all the time.
    Especially when dealing with unpleasant situations or even people. It shouldn’t dictate my reaction.
    When people realize that they actually have the power over these emotions, the world would be a happier place.
    Outbursts of anger are just a sign that you are not in control of yourself not so much as what happened to make you angry.
    Like you said, its something we get better at with practice. Emotions are fleeting and so we must not change with every gust of wind.
    Thanks for sharing this insight.
    Cheers.

    • Hey Ruth,

      That’s it Ruth. You nailed it when you wrote dealing with unpleasant situation or even people shouldn’t dictate your reaction. Its just like attending to your children. They are upset or naughty and you just go about righting behaviour or the situation. It near over before it has begun when mum arrives on the scene. Then there are other times where you as mum react and it changes the whole situation.

      We already have the skills. We are just not well practiced at them with situations that upset us. When we get better at that – we become very powerful. However in saying that we are mere human. We are allowed to get it wrong to want to work on getting it right.

      Love that – emotions are fleeting and so we must not change with every gust of wind.

      Rachel.

    • Hey Chancler,

      The circus certainly fits in with passing emotions that’s for sure.

      If the roar is coming from within, you can use it as an alarm bell to alert you that its time to put a planned strategy in place. If the lion is someone else, you can use the time they are yelling at you to maintain control. Both not easy, but with practices and a few successes we get motivated to want to maintain an emotional balance.

      Rachel.

  5. Hi, Rachel

    I love the way to start the post with the circus.

    We are human beings and are not robots so that emotions come naturally to us. The ways how we handle our negative emotion will determine how successful we are in relationship. Inappropriate action and words hurt loves one deeply.

    As we grow older, we must discipline ourselves so that we are powerful over them. I remember I created a pic quote which is suitable to be used in here ” do not get upset with people, do not get upset with the situation. Both of them are powerless without your reaction”
    Stella Chiu recently posted…Tax Lien Certificate is the Safest Profitable InvestmentMy Profile

    • Hey Stella,

      I agree we are not robots but we certainly don’t want to be a slave to our emotions. Since they are a sure thing in our lives, we can prepare ourselves. Those negative emotions are the ones that will get us in trouble. Time and time again.

      We have to value ourselves as much as we value other relationships. With hindsight and a strong will to want to overcome certain reactions we have the power within ourselves to change. It has to be a conscious thought and then discipline. Its tough work.

      I agree with your quote.

      Rachel.

  6. Hi Rachel,

    Wonderful indeed 🙂

    I loved the interesting perspective- it isn’t the emotions its how we act on them, which is so true! This happens in all spheres, when we are angry, happy, seeing a movie, or the circus as you mentioned.

    Getting angry and expressing such reactions – the way we react is what it is all about. We need to be calm our mind and manage self-control. I guess that’s why you find the sage and hermits so in control of themselves that no anger or happiness can move them. They learn to maintain the balance between both so well, isn’t it?

    Love the changes to the blog, including the wonderfully done up images – how far you’ve come since you started – keep going!

    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a wonderful Happy Easter weekend 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted…7 Health Benefits Of Music That Can Transform Your LifeMy Profile

    • Hey Harleena,

      Our emotions certainly do make us react. I don’t know about you but I can feel tense or start getting restless just by the music they play on a movie leading up to a particular scene. I can get up and walk around when I’m scared, talking out a loud to the TV.

      Calming our minds and managing self control – that’s the exact lesson. Most arguments and fights would not have happened had we all been capable of this. These emotions are the crutch to most of inner turmoil. That’s why the say counting to ten or go away when angry. But when anger peaks – well it can go anywhere because that’s being human.

      I have wondered what mental process Sages and Hermits go through to get to this peace. Its the state I have chased for years. Not realising the journey would bring me so many pieces of information. Its not so easily attainable. There are not too many things in life that I would put as high as achieving this state of mind permanently.

      Thanks for the blog feedback, you are my number one encourager. I could write a list of all the things that have changed because of your influence.

      Rachel.

  7. Hi Rachel,

    Loved this article. I think it goes hand in hand with helping people to identify their triggers. I agree with you that it is alright to have the feelings we have. It helps us to identify when something is right and when something is wrong. I think there are a lot of people who can relate to preparing for the reaction and not the moods.

    I also believe there are a lot of people who can really benefit from taking a moment of their time to think about this topic. I think it can help so many.It can help alot of people who struggle with stress and anxiety to practice this thought process in regards to their emotions. They could learn to identify when anxiety could possibly set in and what types of things set the anxiety off. Awesome job on this article and I gladly shared it to my community.

    Have a great week Rachel. Keep smiling because it suits you.

    Take care.

    Irish
    Irish Carter recently posted…Why You Need to Be One of a Kind – Be Your Own Person!My Profile

    • Hey Irish,

      I am always thrilled by your energy. I get a good gust of it when you are around. So I want to thank you for sending out good vibes.

      I tell you those dam emotions. Would life not be a breeze without them? But that will never be the case so we can help ourselves by preparing for the ones that make us react. Like you say those triggers are what show us where work is required.

      Irish I could not agree with you more. Taking time to think about how our emotions make us react is great reflection.

      Stress and anxiety are an overload of emotions. When people are overwhelmed. Both put heaps of pressure on individuals who suffer from them. Both can be mentally crippling. However there is hope when individuals find a coping method that suits them.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  8. Hi Rachel,

    It’s amazing to me how many people disregard the importance of their own emotions.

    I believe, as you say, that we need to be more aware of how we feel… without that awareness, we’re less likely to give thought to our actions.

    We can’t always control how we feel, but we certainly can control how we react to those feelings.

    Great topic!

    Brent
    Brent Jones recently posted…Make Big Money on Fiverr with Jaime BuckleyMy Profile

    • Hey Brent,

      Lack of self awareness is why others disregard the importance of their emotions. It is a huge telling point. In stressful situations most of these people will be the cause of additional pressure.

      Emotions are like taxes. They are a sure thing. So we had better get a hold of them.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  9. Hey Rachel,

    It’s fantastic to see someone take on the power of emotion. Your post is a reminder to everyone not to judge a situation purely on emotional triggers.

    They say “never judge a book by its cover” and so we should never judge a situation by how it makes us feel. A cooling off period is vital.

    Many years ago I was engaged to be married, but it didn’t work out. I thought it was the end of the world. Talk about emotions; it was a heart-wrenching time. Anger, sadness, frustration, desperation, and more anger.

    Time passed, and the emotions subsided and guess what? I met someone else who turned out to be my sole mate. How glad I am that I didn’t make rash decisions based on the earlier emotions. Sad too that today many people judge the future on the emotions of the here and now. Give things time and never judge circumstances purely on emotions.

    Thanks again Rachel for such a powerful piece.

    Best.
    Alan

    • Hey Alan,

      We can use the triggers you speak of as an alarm system. They pin point an exact area where work is required and self examination would be beneficial. That cooling off period has saved me many an issue. Its a blessing. Because our moods move.

      Of course you would have passed through all those tough emotions after a separation. If you didn’t that would be troubling. When one door closes another opens. So glad you found your soul mate. I love happy endings.

      Having to be your emotions when they don’t feel so good is all you can ask of yourself. Had you acted out of sadness or rage you could be living with regret about those actions. It takes strong will to do nothing when we are peaking with intense emotions. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Rachel.

  10. The one thing that I always notice with moods is that they easily transfer from one person to another. So if someone is in a really good mood, they make others around them in good moods. But if someone is in a nasty mood, then they can also have that negative effect on others.

    • Hey Christine,

      Moods have an energy of there own. They can lift or deplete the atmosphere in a room. When a nasty mood has started to impact we should do everything to ignore it, nobody has the right to do that (easier said than done, I know). People who share such energy have a lot going on and a lot more to learn. Great insight Christine.

      Rachel.

  11. I love the way you have started this with the circus. Emotions do play a role in how we approach things. I have noticed that when I start the day on a good note other things go right in place. If I start on a bad note, I know that I need to find my happy spot.

    • Hey Sandy,

      I’m glad you have a happy spot. That is a great place to go and a strategy to be shared. Because of our emotions, if we are not on top of them we certainly can start on a bad note. They are long days when we can’t change our perspective. Thanks for sharing how you deal with your bad starts.

      Rachel.

  12. Such great advice. I love your circus analogy, and it’s so true that we must experience and feel our emotions, observe them, but then let them go to move on and enjoy life. Such a great post.

    • Hey Shann,

      Can you imagine how much power we hold when we are in the throws of anger or sadness and we know that all we have to do is wait it out. We don’t react. There’s no mess on our behalf to clean up. No apologies or justifications.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  13. I love this post. I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person. However at a very young age I have learned how to control my emotions. I usually never say things when I’m upset. I usually cry, pray, and read the bible. This always helps me to get things in perspective and God softens my heart this way. Peace for me is more important than being right. I don’t mind saying sorry even if it was not my fault. Having a pep talk with myself always helps me.

    • Hey Homegrown Adventures,

      Sounds like you have a great way of managing your emotions. I have always found I go silent and its my default. I don’t know how many times I have rejoiced this action later on (well after the anger or being upset has subsided). Cry, pray and read the bible. I love that god’s words soften your heart that is so beautiful and an amazingly strong belief system. Such nurtured way of managing. I may even advise that to some of my religious pals.

      Pep talks mean you understand how you. Well done. Thanks for your comments. Great tips here.

      Rachel.

  14. I love the quote ‘be the observer of your emotions, not the reactor’
    That’s something I sometimes struggle with when I let myself be too quick to react
    Thanks for another well written and thought provoking post Rachel!

    • Hey 204 Park (I like calling you by your blog name Diana – sounds like code of some sort)

      We all react. Have you noticed that it really messes with your own mind more so than with others. When you start to find that you react to the same thing over and over, do a little prep and be ready for the following time and see what you can do instead. Honesty you will start enjoying the challenge of finding a solution.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel

  15. Hi Rachel

    Love your topic on emotions. I use to say that emotions are not the issue. Some people still feel that if you can get rid of emotions, you are on the right path but is it that easy.

    As you shared, it is the triggers that we shouldwatch out for. Those things that make us tick should be under control.

    I believe that when people understand what makes them angry or in rage, they are in a better postion of handling such emotion.

    Love your points and thanks for sharing. Take care

    • Hey Ikechi,

      Once we get a hold of what we do when we are angry or upset we are able to work with it better. Its when we have no idea and don’t take responsibility for our words and actions that we are loose cannons.

      We can’t even have the excuse of, ‘I was not aware’ because our emotions alert us to the exact spot of where we start to fire up.

      Emotions will be with us a life time. We can make life hard or easy for ourselves by working on bettering ourselves. I know which I choose.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

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