Good morning. As is my conscious, purposeful habit, I have been reflecting upon conversations and situations from near and far away yesterdays. I would like to share some of my beliefs and hard-learned lessons accumulated through my life.
When I was going through the most impactfully difficult times in my life, I sought counseling from a professional as well as books and advice of others. By considering other’s perspective, I believe I am better able to broaden my own personal perspective. I am that person that gets stuck on thoughts that run like a hamster on a wheel. Because I hate that spiral feeling, I seek outside of myself when I get to a point that it has circled without resolution or change.
In my journey through the death of my father (me 22/him77), the separations with my husband due to the military, toddlers, teenagers, nephew dying, mother dying, brother being broken from nephew and mother dying, empty nesting and menopause thrown in for good measure I came to the conclusion that my feelings are my own to have and control to an extent. The actions and words of others create immediate feelings that I must assign a name. In the heat of the moment, there are reactionary feelings like anger, fear, pain, and guilt. It is during the reflection period following that I work to sort them out into more manageable feelings. It is because I practice this, I have noticed fewer extreme versions of the intenseness of these reactionary feelings. This is not always the case as old habits die hard. When I encounter someone who is very reactionary, I often stand up for myself in the moment and mirror the intensity. My goal however, is to practice getting both sides of the issue out verbally so that in the reflection/sorting period I have more information to help with the “management” of feelings to create a better perspective.
Because the time with angsty teenager was sooooooo difficult, I have done so much reflecting on the events that I came to realize I was not a good listener. This is the catalyst that made the explanations in the last paragraph my daily goal. I find it so important to get both sides of the feelings of the ones involved out in the moment. If it is a one-time (or only occasional) encounter with a stranger, not so much maybe. It is easier in that case by working at controlling my reactionary feelings in the moment so that the encounter isn’t just completely hostile should it be going in that direction. This is so I don’t feel taken advantage of in the reflection period. Keep in mind that this is not every interaction, I would appear and be much crazier should that be the case, lol. The encounters with the important folks in my life, the ones I see as being in my life forever (at least my forever, their forever is not within my control ever) I probably overcompensate this practice. I consciously do this to try to ensure that I do my part to help facilitate forever by balancing things in my mind for later reflection.
You see, I am convicted in my belief the only way I made it through was by realizing that feelings are controllable with lots of mindful practice in the encounters that count. The encounters that count deserve this. It is difficult at first until self-reflective honesty is a thought with the little stuff. Then it is a practiced habit with the big stuff. Reactionary feelings, the four largest monsters of them being fear, anger, jealousy and guilt, often color four of the feel-good feelings love, contentment, security and happiness. Once I learned to recognize which monster is attacking, perspective on the situation becomes so much easier.
I would like to go on a bit of a tangent about the emotion GUILT. My mother gave some great advice about it in our “important conversations.” She belabored the point that guilt is created by PURPOSEFULLY doing something EVIDENTLY wrong or against personal convictions. Unintentionally hurting someone’s feelings is not a reason to own guilt. Should someone’s feelings get hurt and the someone doesn’t make it known at the time or ever, the opportunity to apologize or “make it up to” that person in future encounters belongs solely to the other person. I believe then that guilt is a pointlessly self-flagellating emotion in this instance. It is ridiculous to take responsibility for someone else’s feeling should they choose to not share them and give opportunity to sort them out together about the issue. Once they are shared, hopefully the same type of encounter with the same person (possibly, hopefully different people) will create fewer reactionary emotions and more thoughtfully controlled emotions because intent has been established. In my little world, I will only take on the Possibility of Guilt as the emotion for an intentional act that I feel I have no choice and decide forgiveness is better sought after the action. It is not a manipulation tactic I implore ever. I am ever hypervigilant of the ease of being a hypocrite and refuse to indulge. (Do I fail at being a hypocrite, absolutely!! Am I aware and seek forgiveness, if given the opportunity, ABSOLUTELY.) I therefore purposefully don’t own guilt and do my most diligent best to not share it with anyone by using my words or actions to create it. I have often told my sons who fling at me that I am trying to make them FEEL guilty, “the (guilt) tickets may be for sale but if you didn’t do anything wrong, don’t buy them or use them as a weapon against me.”
I have found that humans are programmed with all kinds of ideas of how they are supposed feel, behave and react about EVERY emotion to include fear. I say control, but more likely it is about letting them happen then putting them into a better perspective to live with down the road.
We may get programmed by the world, but we can also program ourselves. There is nothing wrong or right with any emotion be it anger, fear, love, or sadness. Feel them, give them some understanding then go do those things that must be done and sprinkle in some fun.
Born Emily Renee Brimmer in Clovis, NM on the tails of the boomer generation. My parents were midlife (43 & 55). I am a peace loving, fence walking, middle of the road thinker and practice testing boundaries on both sides of the road. I have learned that bending is preferable to breaking and that life is full of unexpectedly glorious information and opportunities when approached with an open mind and heart.
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