Welcome to Format Free Fridays at AskDrDarcy.com, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited Advice.
Today’s topic is Emotional Mastery, an illusive term that I hope to provide insight into. What does it mean to ‘master your emotions’ and why would anyone bother learning how to do it?
Emotions are like muscles, though we can’t see them. We all have them and some of us have better developed emotional muscles than others. Furthermore, not all of our emotional muscles are equally developed. For example, I am naturally a very curious person, so the emotion of curiosity is one that I enjoy using on a daily basis. I have other emotional muscles that are not as well developed, such as my response to anger. Thankfully I’ve built this muscle up in recent years, but I still find myself feeling provoked in situations where someone whose muscle was better developed wouldn’t.
To put it differently, consider this: We all have physical muscles, yet some of our muscles are stronger than others. With physical muscles, our eyes are drawn to the strongest, whereas with emotional muscles, our eyes (and ears) are usually drawn to the weakest.
So why should this matter to you?
What would it be like to have control over your reaction to your emotions, to the point where you can draw upon the emotion of tolerance to overcompensate for the emotion of frustration? What would it be like to have a choice in how you react when you feel any negative emotion? People who have strong emotional muscles are literally in control of their lives moment to moment because they are in control of how they behave, which is where most people with weak emotional muscles get into trouble.
Imagine having the ability to decide how you’re going to react regardless of the behavior of those around you and regardless of your life circumstances. I’m not talking about ignoring or tuning out to how you’re feeling. Negative feelings come and go, usually in a matter of minutes. What tends to linger and create the most chaos in our lives is our reaction to negative emotions. I call it emotional road kill; a byproduct of underdeveloped emotional fortitude.
So there you have it. A fundamental principal to wellbeing. Build all of your emotional muscles, not just the ones that you like to flex the most. Identify your emotional Achilles heel (we all have one). I told you mine. Now it’s your turn to tell me yours. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what 1 step you plan to employ to build your weakest emotional muscle.