“Own Your Life!”
By Kathy Gates,  Life Coach

The truth is that nobody forces you to think, feel, or behave a certain way.  While you may be ostracized by society or even punished if you don't follow certain rules, still nobody else can "make" you do or feel anything.  You are not a victim to people or circumstances.  This is not to say that you can control all situations, certainly you cannot.  But you alone are responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and actions in relation to that situation.  

Try it yourself...if you could "make" a person be nicer, wouldn't you do it?  Can you "make" someone like you or love you?  Can you "make" someone happy?  You can create certain circumstances that you think will illicit that "happy" response, but you cannot choose his emotion for him.  Another person cannot "make" you cry...you chose to cry because he did not react like the loving and kind person that you wish he were.  To say "my heart is broken because of the behavior of (for example) a nasty brother” is inaccurate.   The truth is "It's not much fun to have a nasty brother who doesn't celebrate your life, and you wish he would act differently, but you alone get to decide how to react to his behavior."

If you chose to be sad because you feel a loss, that's fine - own it, don't blame him for it.  If you choose to be p.o.'d and throw pillows at him, go on ahead; love it, choose it, enjoy it as your own emotion.   But if you imbue him with the power of letting him dictate your emotions, you are giving up your power.

Do you really want to spend your life letting other people decide how you feel?  Doesn't sound like much fun to me.  They might as well tell you what you like to eat, and what you like to wear, and which people you like too....now that's a robot.  Use your own mind; make your own decisions about how you feel.

If you're not responsible for your emotions, then who is?  If you let others choose all your emotions, are you not also then charged with the responsibility for the emotions of other people?   I personally don't want that responsibility of handling another person's preferences in that way...I'll stick with my own, thank you.

Feelings are managed.  No, I am not presuming to dictate that a person should feel a certain way in any particular situation.  You are entitled to feel whatever you want to feel...happy, sad, mad...and then to translate that to any action.  But you are responsible for that feeling and that choice of action, and not entitled to blame others for it.   No one can make you feel a certain way anymore than they can make you act a certain way.  "I shouted at him b/c he made me mad" is inaccurate.  "I shouted at him because I wanted to" is accurate.

But it's not just a matter of semantics or languaging....it's a matter of accepting the feeling as part of who you are.   Just as you control your actions, we also control your thoughts and feelings...it's part of the same internal discipline.  To believe otherwise, is to believe that everything is a matter of chance, that you do not and cannot affect things in one direction or another.

And that implies to me that we have no control over our minds or bodies...and that to me is a scary thought indeed.


 

Information used with permission.  Life Coach Kathy Gates specializes in helping people who are ready to create a simpler, less stressful, more joyful and meaningful lifestyle.  Visit www.reallifecoach.com to learn more.

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