Who Or What Controls Your Emotions?

February 15, 1942Actor John Barrymore w. his daughter Diana demonstrating "happiness" emotion for story on his coaching her acting for her first movie role in "Eagle Squadron," on John's 60th birthday.

Actor John Barrymore with his daughter Diana demonstrating “happiness” emotion on Feb. 15, 1942

Last Spring, I did a posting entitled, “You Make Me Emote! In the posting, I declared that each person is responsible for her/his emotions. In other words, for example, it is incorrect for a person to say someone else made her/him angry. In this posting, I would like to explore the cause of our emotions.

So, what causes our emotions? What causes me to feel angry? Suppose someone hits me with his fist. The first thing I feel is the physical pain of being hit. The next feeling that I might feel is one of being angry. What caused the feeling of anger? Is it because I’m feeling physical pain? No, because the feeling of physical pain doesn’t always produce the emotional feeling of anger. Take, for example, the pain resulting from accidentally bumping your head while getting into a car. Usually, there would be no emotional feeling of anger. The point is, that a certain emotional feeling doesn’t necessarily come from a particular physical feeling. So what causes these things we call emotions?

Boxing in face

Should a boxer get angry because of getting hit in the head?

I have a simple three letter answer. YOU! Yes, you are the cause of your own emotions. I know in my previously mentioned posting, that I never specifically stated that each person causes her/his emotions. Instead, I talked about owning our emotions and not blaming anyone else for them. We not only own our emotions, but we also cause them.

So, if I cause my emotions, then how can I control them? I think we cause our emotions through our thoughts. Let’s consider the previous example of being hit by someone’s fist. I mentioned feeling the physical pain that was followed with the feeling of anger. The feeling of anger may have been immediately replaced with a feeling of warmth, if, for example, I was hit by a two year-old child. In other words, after thinking about who and why I was hit, the emotional feeling changed from anger to warmth. It would be natural to assume that the two year-old child meant no harm.

August 1964`Beatle' fan overcome by emotion as long-haired quartet arrive.

August 1964,`Beatle’ fan overcome by emotion as long-haired quartet arrive.

Let’s follow this line of thinking a little further. We not only own our emotions, but we cause them. We cause them through our thinking. If it’s our thinking that causes emotions, then it seems natural to use our thinking to control our emotions. Let’s return again to the example of getting hit by someone’s fist. What kind of thinking causes me to emotionally respond with anger? Perhaps, I think the person who hit me, did so as an expression of anger. My response may have resulted from some ¬†“eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” thinking. In other words, that person is angry so I will be angry at her/him. Another way of thinking, in this situation, is to use the Christian philosophy of, “turn the other cheek.” ¬†This could cause the person who did the hitting to feel embarrassed, due to not getting the response s/he expected. Though my examples may not be that good, I hope you can see how the cause of our emotions could be, and most likely is, our own thinking.

Now, let’s address the question in the title. Who or what controls your emotions?

First, who controls them? YOU!

Secondly, what controls your emotions? YOUR THINKING!

Happy Guy

Did he choose to be happy?

Sometimes, I find my emotions are controlling me. In a way, that makes perfect sense. You see, my thinking causes my emotions and I control my thinking. It is possible for me to think of harming someone and then become angry. The anger then leads to me looking and acting angry. But, if I change my thinking and instead of thinking in a harmful way, I think of not harming, then my mind will most likely not become angry. The anger comes from how and what is being thought by the person who is angry. Don’t let anger control you, but let you control the anger.

We are not emoting due to what happens; we are emoting due to what we think about what happens.

You have control over your comment(s). I’m looking forward to reading yours.


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