Thursday, 7 March 2013

Are You Responsible For How You Feel Now?

Often times, persons blame others for their own feelings. We do shift the responsibility of how we are feeling to others. We all say things like "She made me mad." "She hurt me." "He freaked me out." "He makes me unhappy." "He makes me feel bad about myself." These kinds of comment imply that we have no choice in how we feel and that others have control over us. In the real sense, we have control - they don't. Feelings can be strong and surge up quickly, so it's easy to think the other person is responsible, but that isn't true.

It is very important that we scrutinize our feelings honestly so we won't foolishly blame others for our feelings. Your reactions or responses are usually affected by your temperament, past experiences, state of mind and body, and perceptions. Your feelings are related to what you think about a situation and how you interpret what's happening. Someone else in the same situation might react differently, and you might, too, on another day.

Anytime someone is hurt or angry, part of the offense lays in the way he or she interprets what was done. Anger stems from the belief that injustice was done. Hurt stems from the belief that the person intended harm. Your interpretation matters a lot. Misinterpretation causes more harm than good.

What we think directly affects our feelings. Our thoughts are like drivers to how we feel. Wouldn't you rather think aright so as to feel aright? We should learn to have patience, tolerate, and be considerate. Here's an example: A man driving down the road is cut off by a car and slams on his brakes. He thinks, "How dare he do that? What a jerk!" he feels anger and irritation. I wonder how he might have felt if instead his thought were, "That guy must have a lot on his mind not to notice me." He might have felt compassion, patience, and tolerance.

Your feelings are your choice and your responsibility regardless of what the person does. Other people's feelings are theirs, and you are not responsible for them. When someone accuses you of making him or her feel a certain way, you may be tempted to feel responsible - but you are not responsible. That's not always easy to remember when people choose to blame you for their moods, anger, and distress. The truth is that their emotions and responses have everything to do with what they think, what's going on with their own lives, how they interpret what's going on, and what they feel as a result. Even if you did something wrong, the other person's reaction is his or her responsibility and choice. Each of us will give account for our actions, not the actions of others.

There are always options in life. People can be angry or happy, punitive or forgiving, sarcastic or kind, passive or assertive, nagging or understanding. As you can see, the choice will always be yours.

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