“Don’t worry…women just cry. Makes us feel better”
My wife kept saying this. So did other women.
I had a very hard time wrapping my head around this statement. Why would someone cry?! Isn’t it something to be avoided?
Why would someone not share?? Was it something I did? Then I am ready to solve it – why did she not tell me?!
So I pestered her with why…until she revealed “Arre, it can be many things. Maybe I am overwhelmed, maybe anxious, maybe just tired, or irritated … I need not even know exactly what! Crying makes me feel lighter. So I cry. There’s nothing wrong.”
And I slowly started realizing…
The key to control emotions is to know that you cannot. And you need not.
This can sound surprising, but read on…
That’s just the way our mind is wired – without having to go into the scientific gory details. It is part of being human. If we could have done it, we would have mastered it in the past million years…and maybe become pretty robotic! I wonder how the art scene would look like.
But the other key thing to understand is that you are not at the mercy of your emotions.
In fact, emotions control us the more we try to control them
Even if you get an emotion that says “Kill that bloody man!” – you have the freedom to choose your response.
This means that even if you tend to be extremely emotional, you are not bound to act according to them.
Imagine if a woman who felt like crying judged it as bad – and did not cry. Now she feels worse. Feels like crying more. She judges that as even more bad…feels angry at herself. Starts blaming herself for being so weak. Forces herself to be ‘strong’. The more she tries, the worse it gets…until one day…
Yeah…a volcano erupts! 🙂 She is at the mercy of that emotion now. The emotion is in control…of her! 🙂
This volcano can erupt within seconds too. “Why does she always do that???!!!!” This is not the anger for the current situation – it is the anger for what she has been doing forever!! Some emotional triggers can trigger lifelong emotions in one go!
These emotions we want to ‘control’ are not ‘bad’…they are emotions we have judged as ‘bad’, and tried to resist.
So when you find yourself in the grip of a strong undesirable emotion – do not form a judgement that ‘this is so bad!’ Now we resist!
That’s another thought that will aggravate the earlier emotion.
Even if the emotion seems completely justified, it is inside YOU and harming YOU. Else it is like saying “I know the food is poisoned. But somebody else poisoned it. It’s not MY fault. So I will eat it.”
Instead ACCEPT the emotion. Know that it arose on it’s own, without seeking your permission. So the reason does not matter. You are not “at fault” for ‘feeling a certain way’. Know that the emotion by itself doesn’t mean or do or harm or lead to anything. So there is nothing to be AFRAID of.
Even fear itself is just an emotion inside your head. So there is no need to avoid them. Else you stand the risk of never venturing out of your comfort zones.
So just take a deep breath. Smile. Then choose how you want to act.
As you keep doing this, you see(not believe) that you are really NOT at the mercy of your emotions. You might experience more and stronger emotions than others – but they do not define who you are. So you feel more free. More light. You stop resisting and allow space for the emotions. Treating all emotions equal.
That extra breathing space in your mind allows the chance for healthier, calmer, rational thoughts to arise. In a few months, you might find that you are ‘becoming a more rational person.’!
Not because you eliminated the irrational emotions – but because you stopped investing your energy in resisting them!
But all this does not need any technique or discipline. It is just decided by how you choose to respond in your emotionally charged moments.