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