Hopefully, we have established the fact you have a great deal of influence over your life. You have the wonderful capability of making decisions that directly impact your life circumstances and consequently your life outcomes. Since you are in control of your decisions, I like to propose you likewise have control of your feelings. Sounds easy enough, I mean they are your own thoughts after all.
Returning to last month’s post, I would like to further explore the idea, “By right of birth alone, we became mini rulers of our dominion.” Reflecting on the experience of childrearing can reintroduce us to concepts that may seem so familiar. Taken from the top, I mean bottom as a newborn starts right out of the birthing suite whaling, demanding to be comforted, and fed. Seriously, this is just the beginning. The diapers, the screaming, the temper tantrums, the all-nighters, the pouty face NO’s, and the list continues. The playing field really turned itself up over on its head and suddenly we are now full-time employees hired by these little humans, I mean bundles of joy, or otherwise known as teachers of life’s lessons. Isn’t it really amazing how quickly they learn the concept of “no”. It is truly one of those innately hardwired concepts passed on from generation to generation. Think of it…once the baby is filled up by the bottle, they reject it with a withdraw of the head, burp, spit up, crying, or they fall asleep. When translated, it all really means “no”. Oh how quickly it progresses from intentions to words. For instance, are you familiar with the words no! NO! and NOOOO! As we are born or shortly thereafter, the world suddenly pivots on its axis and begins to revolve around “baby us”. This is truly an amazing feat, as we are able to overcome the gravitational pull of the sun, thus having the entire world revolve around us. Otherwise, known as egocentrism. For some of us, having the world revolve around us never changes and for others we just think it did. I know its controversial but have your ever heard the phrase “you made me mad”, “I don’t like you”, “that’s not fair” or “you don’t love me” from your child? Have you ever said, “I hate that guy”, “you’re are a jerk”, “This contract is not what we agreed on” or “I have fallen out of love with you”? How interesting from the mouths of adolescents we can see how our intentions remains true but masked in circumstance or articulation.
When you strip away the words, situations, and events we are basically out for ourselves. It sounds harsh in writing, but when you boil it down, it is all about our own survival or survival of our tribe. Survival covers a broad scope and entails many other tendencies or feelings that personally need to be fulfilled in our lives to move forward and feel complete. Happiness, reward, love, money, and ego are a few aspects of our lives we pursue to leverage our personal sense of fulfillment. Our friends, activities, and social lives are all present to support our own interests. As our world revolves around us, occasionally we can experience influence by others. Have you ever noticed that some of our relationships last for the duration of our own or others goals and agendas? Look back in your life and reflect on prior relationships. Which ones lasted? Which ones didn’t survive and why? Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say we are all narcissistic egotistical maniacs, but we can at least agree, there is a strong tendency to pursue our own interests and survival.
Recognizing where we have our strongest and most intimate biases can be used to help us explore how we develop, understand, and ultimately influence our feelings. Our feelings have a strong emotional drive and are usually based on a foundation of beliefs we hold as truths in our own lives. People who believe the earth is flat, may feel angry if called ignorant by someone who believes it is round. Assuming the earth is indeed round, one can see how our beliefs can trigger an emotional response. Using this analogy, one can better understand our feelings are based on our own truths. Just look at our current political environment. Beliefs lean to the right or left and when people disagree we often see the triggered emotional response supporting our beliefs over another’s. We crank the volume, increase the rhetoric, or rattle the saber all in an effort to push our agenda. Surely there has to be a more effective way of communicating.
Linking our egocentric perspective to our beliefs and emotions affords us the opportunity to better understand our feelings. It took a long time to get here, but this is where the magic happens. We have our core beliefs, which generate a response to stimuli. If we agree with another’s point of view we will support it and feel automatically vested. On the other hand, if we disagree with a contrary point of view, we may become vested to not support it. Either way, our response supports our mission and own self interests.
With all in agreement that the world revolves around us, we can now proceed to explore how we have the power to control our feelings. Even if you disagree with the prior statement, at this point you now see you are actually agreeing with me in concept. Think about that for a second. You obviously have a belief system, which triggers an emotional response when challenged by the views and/or belief systems of others.
Either way, we have to learn how to process our feelings, to understand them, and learn what it means to process them for an outcome. If you imagine for a second, we are like an iceberg floating in the ocean…our emotional response is at the peak; highly visible and hard to miss. Much deeper and under the surface are our beliefs that often spur from an egocentric place, which keep us afloat mentality. Ironically, either end of the iceberg has the potential to sink ships or relationships alike. Starting with what is visible, our emotions, would be a logical approach to discovering what lies deeper beneath the surface. If it not for the exposed peak, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see what lies below. Knowing where our emotions come from allows us the opportunity to reflect upon our thoughts and beliefs. Wading through the emotional surge is actually the gift that affords us the opportunity to understand ourselves better and those around us. Treating these emotions like a cesspool will squander an opportunity for better understanding. Responding to them with the same or greater emotional surge is just as beneficial as taking someone else’s waste and adding it to your pool. It just stinks a lot more. Looking at our own emotional waves as opportunities to learn, helps us become more connected with ourselves, others, and find truths. Knowing that the tips of the icebergs are there to warn or inform us, overtime we should start to see them in a more friendlier light.
The more comfortable you are understanding the process that triggers your emotions, the more you are able to gain influence over the way or magnitude in which you respond. Essentially learning to neuter or govern your primitive response to unwanted news grants you access to deeper understanding and clarity. Getting caught up in the emotional storm side tracts your ability to push through to higher level processing and understanding. Stranding your mind on the peak of the iceberg will keep your beliefs frozen below the surface and isolated from further exploration. This exploration grants us the chance for learning and strategic change. Ultimately, the goal is to gain clarity of your beliefs through accountability of your emotions. Once this clarity is gained you afford yourself the opportunity to explore alternative beliefs with an open mind.
Wouldn’t it be cool, if we could all have open honest dialog between parties of differing ideas, beliefs and opinions? Wouldn’t it also be cool if we could use mutual interests hidden amongst our differences to solve shared problems? Could you image President Donald Trump and the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, sitting in the same room working this conflict out Changing Waves Style? Well, at least we could.