Have you ever had a fit of fury only to forget what actually triggered you? The details fade. The impact is less. You ve forgotten, forgiven or both. Perhaps you went on a whirl and told your partner everything that had crossed your mind in the previous months or years, and even some things that hadn t, but they slipped out like butter from a hot pan in that moment of fury. Take heart. Nearly everyone wearing a human suit has a moment where passion or fury has a runaway. We can wind up at the altar, in divorce court, or ruining friendships by immediately reacting to our emotions. When we re children, we can get away with an outburst or two, but, as adults, jumping up and down, screaming, or pounding our supervisor s desk is considered poor form go figure!
However, feelings remain as important to us as adults as they are to children. Without them, we re not really living at all. Feelings are an essential part of human nature. The question is, when our feelings run wild, how can we bring them into a manageable moment? It s important to be clear on our actual feelings without the chaos mixed in with adrenaline, and wind up saying things we many not mean, or doing things we wish we hadn t. We can make choices in the heat of the moment and live with the repercussions for a lifetime. A little feelings management through perception shifting can save us vast anguish and embarrassment.
When our feelings are fever pitch, it s a good idea to take an objective look at the circumstances. To do that, we have t be willing to stop right where we are and silently buy ourselves time to reflect on our feelings. Chances are very good we won t feel as strongly in three hours, three days, three weeks or three months from now. Given time, and sometimes very little time, we can shift our perception to a more appropriate and accurate pitch.
Often when I m tempted to lash out at someone, or tell them how devoted I am to them, or make promises I most likely can t fulfill, I ve used the rule of three , and it never seems to fail. After three hours, I can communicate what I m feeling more clearly, because I m more likely to know what exactly I am feeling. After three days, I may not feel the same way at all. In three weeks even more light has dawned and I m able to look at my passions more realistically. I have kept myself from quitting a job, ruining valued friendships, and moving to the North Pole, simply by giving myself time to reflect. The more deeply the emotion is felt, the longer it can take to dissolve, but more often than not, it will dissipate completely over time.
You might wonder how you can stop what you re feeling if you re in the heat of the moment. After all, that s what reaction is all about not being able to stop, isn t it? Your emotions are under your own control. No circumstance or person can dictate emotional policy to you. You can and do choose every moment what to feel, AND you can choose in advance to always allow yourself time to think about your feelings. When circumstances seem to be forcing you to respond, that is the perfect time to take charge of your emotions and tell yourself, I m not going to respond to this right now. You might even TALK your anger at that moment by saying something like, I m too angry to respond, but I ll get back to you once I know how I feel. Taking some time often reveals that people don t do or say what they do to hurt you. They are often reacting from their own fears.
Remember, forgiveness and peace of mind are hiding somewhere in your perception of all circumstances. If you can step back and give your emotions some time to jell , you will find a more meaningful perception and be able to move to higher ground in your thinking.
Copyright October 2003
# # # # #