Fickle Feelings

I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with this picture, or the premise behind it – your reality and mine are different; different doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. Right? While it is true that our own expectations, perspectives and experiences shape our views of everything, and thus create views that are different to those of the person next to us, this premise can be flawed in its execution. The reality is that someone drew that number, intending it to be either a 6 or a 9. So asserting that one or the other is correct is not simply a matter of perspective. There is in fact a right and a wrong, because there was a motivation behind the placement of this number.

Sometimes we tend to go so far when considering our unique perspectives, that we forget that just because it’s our opinion, based on our feelings, doesn’t mean its right. When we start acting in accordance with these flawed perceptions, and refuse to budge because they’re based on said feelings, we can expect issues in relationships, yes; but we also lie to ourselves and rob ourselves of any chance we had to learn and grow. To consider why we feel how we do, and whether we are right to feel that way our not. To take control of how those feelings impact our lives, and to decide how we act or respond based on the information.

There are some who have a tendency to assume their own way as law, as irrefutable and empirically proven facts. Blaming differing perspectives is no excuse for ignorance parading around as expertise. Without having considered the circumstances behind certain decisions, no one can safely assume that their perspective is the right one.

I have found that one of the biggest problems of the human condition is that we tend to think of our feelings as an external entity that we have no control over, when in most cases, the reverse is true. We then excuse any dodgy behavior as being the result of our emotions, ‘Sorry, but I was so angry’… Self-awareness is required in order for us to realise that hey, maybe our feelings aren’t entirely right. Maybe if we attempt to consider the position of the other person, or even ask them what their position is and why, we will see that our feelings were based on a flawed premise in the first place, and they don’t have to drag us down or make us feel bad.

Sooo are my feelings ‘wrong’?
Not necessarily. It’s true that we feel things, and that sometimes we simply can’t get over things and keep on living life as if our emotions have no control over us. Feelings are feelings. Pain is a feeling we have no control over, for example. But anger isn’t, and we can control how we act based on it. We can lash out in anger, or we can take a breather and reevaluate the situation. We can consider the other person – they too, are acting out of their own emotions, which may have nothing to do with you, and if we can attempt to understand those, we can ensure our own reactions are appropriate. This lends itself to EQ, something I discussed in a previous blog post.

People who act solely based on the emotion of the moment, out of the immediacy of the situation, in the here and now without considering alternatives – these are people whose emotions control them; these are people who are predictable for being totally unpredictable. There are so many things in our lives that we are totally powerless over. Take control of the things that we aren’t.

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