If You Can’t Control Your Feelings…Control Your Reaction

21 Apr

When is the last time you REALLY wanted to “go off” on someone? Today? Yesterday? Last week? If you have children, a crummy boss, or a problematic family member, that moment probably comes at regular intervals.

Yet, what I find truly amazing is that many of us (not all of us, of course) are able to control that urge to really let loose and shout, scream, kick, yell, fight, etc. We understand that the consequences far outweigh the benefits of creating a large-scale conflict.

So, what do we do? We take a deep breath, focus, simmer-down and figure out a solution to the problem.

For better or for worse, controlling one’s reaction and behavior is part of growing up and maturing. And, sometimes doing so can be really, really hard, especially when we want to let our inner 6 year-old take over.reaction

So, how did we master this? We began to understand that we may not be able to control our feelings, but we CAN control our reaction to those feelings. If we try to control our feelings, the hill can seem too high to climb. But, control our reaction? Well, maybe that’s doable.

For example, no matter how evolved I become, I feel I’ll always feel frustrated when my children ignore me. And I could spend hours trying to figure out WHY I feel so frustrated. Was I ignored as a child? Do I have a special sensitivity to being ignored? Do I just love attention?

I’ll resolve to figure out why another time. For now, I can control how I react to those feelings of frustration. Instead of shouting “HEAR ME!” I’ll calmly focus my children and let them know I need them to listen. And, sometimes, JUST sometimes, controlling my reaction can lead to fewer feelings of frustration.

See how that works?

So, make a resolution to control your reaction to others, even if you don’t entirely understand where the initial feelings came from. And, you never know–maybe you’ll soon understand your feelings after you’ve learned to control how you react to them!


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