There is no true POWER without SELF-CONTROL Without self-control, you are destined to sabotage your efforts by making the same mistakes over and over again.
Now, I’m the first one to confess that I’ve had huge challenges in this area. And perhaps this is what led me to study this concept in the first place. I despise the “feeling” of loss of self-control and perhaps that is why I don’t drink or take drugs. The idea of not being in control of my faculties unnerve me. The closest I get to this feeling, is this sick sensation in my stomach when I allow my emotions to override the power I KNOW I have to control my emotions. So hear me when I say that I “feel you” if you also identify as someone who sometimes find themself challenged in this area of lack of self-control. Now, the only thing that would make this situation unfortunate, is if we fail to realize and act upon the knowledge that we do in fact have the power to BE in control of our emotions if we choose.
Imagine this scenario – if you may. I’ll use my favorite topic of relationships to illustrate:
Your spouse/partner is late from work and there was no mention of it earlier. Perhaps it was because you had a small argument as he left for working earlier this morning. But certainly it was of no consequence – at least that’s what you thought. You attempt to convince yourself that he’s just late; perhaps there was a lot of traffic etc. However, this little voice started to stir up some negative memories and you begin to think all sorts of negative scenarios. Without realizing why, you are upset and scared – all at the same time. You begin to wonder if he’s having an affair. Is he on his way out? You know the thoughts that can come. Suddenly your husband walks through the door, but now you are mad as heck and you have manufactured all sort of reasons to validate this behavior. You lash out at him before he has a chance to explain, and everything goes downhill from there. You’ve lost control of your emotions.
How the heck did this happen? After you’ve managed to calm down, your spouse finally gets the chance to explain why he was late and why he wasn’t able to call – and now you feel like a fool. Because now, your spouse is probably really wondering if he can take these outbursts from you, over and over again.
Let’s examine this.
The first step is to become aware of what has triggered this behavior. In doing this, you can now “take control” of your emotions, instead of having your emotions take control of you. Instead of ACTING out of your emotions; HEAR them out.
What if, upon realizing that you have a problem with lack of trust, you examined and thought through the process to discover why you were so triggered by your husband’s late arrival? If you slowed down the process, and focused on the emotions you were feeling, you will probably find that you can now trace the emotions back to underlying needs you felt your parents were not available to fulfill as a small child.
Perhaps you felt uncertain of their love, or uncertain that they would be there when you needed them. If you were to realize this, you could then begin to have a conversation with yourself. (No – it’s not crazy to talk to yourself, I do it all the time and I’m sane right? Sometimes I am 🙂
Begin by naming your fear or anger. Recognize them as natural responses to your spouse’s behavior – considering the underlying emotions connected to this emotion during childhood. For example, “I notice some fear, anger … inside of me.” Study your emotions as if it were an entity outside of you. You are “experiencing fear, anger… you are not “angry, fearful…” Can you FEEL the difference. When you’re EXPERIENCING something, you do not feel possessed by it; however, when you ARE angry or fearful, you feel possessed by these emotions, as if they are not separate from you. To experience these emotions mean you have these emotions, but they do not have you!
You will find that when you begin to examine the underlying emotions that trigger these responses, you will be better able to feel more in control of them.
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