Events and/or others’ actions can seem to cause a rush of emotions and questions and fears, all erupting simultaneously within us.
Inherent in this “system” of reacting is a misunderstanding about the reason we are upset at all.
Commonly, we believe events and other people cause our feelings.
Because ________ happened, I’m devastated.
When __________ took place, it forced me to say something.
He said _________ and it really upset me.
She did _________ and I’m so mad because of it.
They didn’t _________ and now I’m completely frazzled.
EVENTS/PEOPLE ==> FEELINGS
However, when we pause between event and response, there is a small space in which we formulate a thought about that event, and to that thought we attach an emotional reaction.
Events and people don’t cause our emotions. Rather, our thoughts about the event or the person create the feelings.
We have the power within us to own and to control and to generate the very emotions and feelings we want to experience WHEN we see the connection between the event and the reaction.
EVENTS/PEOPLE ==> THOUGHTS ==> FEELINGS
Viktor Frankl said:
Everything can be taken from [someone] but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s own way.
Choose to be free from the emotional weight of other people’s actions and the events you do not control. Choose to emotionally experience life in a way that fills you up and not in a way that depletes you. Choose to pause — take that proverbial deep breath and count to ten — and choose what to think.
Events only provide us with information and nothing more.