We’ve all heard it. We may have even said it. It’s innocuous, mostly undetectable, and sly, but in truth, it’s a lie. Sayings like:
“You make me feel…” or “That makes me feel…” are misstatements of blame and thrown off responsibility for our own actions.
The flip side is the great feelings we get when we are in love or in lust, or some other positive rush. We feel as if some other person makes us feel so special, so loved, so good. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s all you. Their actions have given you a story to work with, and you fleshed it out and took every drop of it personally. And perhaps that’s exactly the way it was intended, so in those circumstances, it all works. But there are still many others that we can misconstrue. That we don’t fully understand. How can we?
Do you actually think that someone else can so easily read your intent? Can they see how you interpret the world. We run movies in our heads about the entire world we live in. Each person we know is a character in our movie, and likewise we are characters in everyone else’s head. But are all of our movies the same? Do we act the same in each movie? No way. I play completely different roles in everyone else’s head, and they play different roles in my movie that I play.
With that in mind, it may be a miracle we actually understand one another at all! Well, let’s get back to how we own our feelings and reactions, and see what we can do about modifying that action-reaction behaviour.
Our feelings and the actions that we perform due to those feelings are completely, 100% our own, and believe me, we need to own them. We need to take responsibility for feeling them, and for acting upon them.
No body, no thing, no circumstance can MAKE us feel a certain way unless we believe we have no control, unless we give our own power away to that which we feel controls us. Period.
That person that cut you off in traffic makes you feel mad and irate because you feel he cut YOU off. His action was against you, and you took it personally. You judged that person too. They’re an idiot driver and careless of others. How could you have known that his boy was in the passenger seat, laying down, unable to breathe. How could you have known that the driver was simply wanting to take all the crazy chances to get him to emergency to save him. When we change the story, we have the power to erase all of the associated feelings that go with it. Like magic!
Know that when we examine our own stories, we have the power to change the story, and to shift our perspective. When our perspective shifts, so do all of the feelings and reactions associated with that perspective. Imagine if we could shift all of our reactionary perspectives to that of a more enlightened, conscious, non-personal state of mind. Hang on, it’s absolutely possible!
In our western society, we have grown up with the sense that events outside of our self actually do control how we feel. Think about it. Think about how many events, actions, words, body motions, and feelings that you have gone through today alone, and think about how many of those were driven by you, consciously, and how many of those actions were responses to an outside stimuli.
Do you believe you are a puppet? Do you believe you are powerless against such obvious manipulations of others? Then you are.
If, however, you wish to reign in your actions, if you wish to start slowly collapsing the breadth of reaction you so wilfully and casually display, then start by admitting that you are the only person that actually controls your own self.
Admit that you do have all the tools necessary to eventually maintain control over your own emotions, and that you can decide what actions to choose when you feel like reacting. Believe that you have choice and you will have it! We always have the choice to do nothing.
No matter if someone called you a name, no matter if hat someone did hurt you personally, no matter if someone you cared about acted in a manner that you took a certain way, you are in absolute control over your own emotions and reactions.
This seems pretty far fetched for some people. You might think, “Whao! I can’t control my own emotions. They happen naturally, without my thinking. Too fast for me to take any actions against them.” If that’s what you believe, then you have already failed.
Believe in your own control and you will see that you have simply failed to control what is ultimately within your grasp. Next all you need to do is tighten your grip. Realizing that you do have the power is the first step. Becoming aware of the steps that lead up to your emotion, and subsequent actions is the next.
There are many ways to become more aware, and thereby start to experience the act of becoming annoyed, emotional, or frustrated.
This is what happens to me when that occurs: I start become aware of my feelings when I sense something is up. It may just be my gut telling me something is ‘off’. I may not even know what’s bothering me at that specific moment, but I start recording my awareness at that moment. I start becoming aware of what’s happening from that point forward.
Then, I may start to piece together bits and pieces of what has happened, or what is happening that is, in the traditional wording, ‘making me feel a certain way’. Once I put some pieces together I start asking myself why I feel that way.
Is it because I just made up a story? Did I create a story in my head about what happened without any facts? Did I create a perspective from which I chose to look at the story? My point of view is always personal and unique to me. Is it because that is a pattern of my past. Do I always feel like that in that circumstance? Is it a belief of mine? Have I made something that was not meant to be personal, personal anyway? Did I make any assumptions?
You see how many facets there are to any number of events that we casually walk through every day? When we stop to think about the full variety of thoughts that we can have relating to one incident, then add the variations of thoughts that the person to whom may have started the incident may also have, and the justifications and stories and assumptions that they hold on to, we can see very quickly that if we make any assumptions, if we take anything personally, if we speak without careful thought, we can escalate a feeling inside our own body to the point of unconscious reaction. This is where one small innocuous, small, minor event can blow up in to a fight that nobody understands, yet everybody feels.
When we start to ask ourself these types of questions, we start to disrupt the natural pattern of action-reaction. We stop the process of occurrence within our own pattern of behaviour and our brains natural pathway of response.
By questioning ourselves, we can start to understand the mechanisms that are in play within our own thought process. And in doing so we an start to challenge the beliefs that we have held on to, sometimes since our youth that have never evolved, and up to this point you have never had a reason to question.
We have a right not to create chaos in this world. We have a right to manage our own feelings and actions to create harmony with others. Accepting responsibility for our own processes is how we begin.
When you feel all out of sorts, feel your body. Feel your gut telling you something is not right. Feel your body creating the chemicals it does when something happens that is not to your liking, then take a breath. Take a deep breath and start recording your actions. Start becoming aware of what you are about to do and tell yourself to stop reacting until you uncover what it is that is bothering you.
Start piecing together events like a detective. Start asking your self why you are feeling this way. Believe you have the power to examine your feelings and the emotional ties that are associated to them.
Review Don Miguel Ruiz’s book and life principles called The Four Agreements, which have been instrumental in reigning in my own power to change my stories and cut my ties with old patterns. Here are the four agreements as he has written them:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
I have made my own four agreements by putting that into my own words that have more meaning to my personal life. They are:
- live your word
- release the ego
- it is what it is
- create with Passion
I see these every day because I decided to tattoo them to my forearms, so I can remind myself every day of the agreements that I wish to live my life by. They remind me of the power I have over me actions. They remind me that I need not take everything personally. They remind me that I always have a choice to do nothing, to release the egoic self, and to surrender to what is.
I love the words I have chosen to live by, and I know the power that is inside each and every one of us to realise our own potential. Take back the power that is sitting dormant inside you. Realize your own potential. Own the choices that you have, and the actions that you are ultimately responsible for, and in that process others will begin to see the transformation from within you.
You will start to become an example of how to live. No longer will you be blaming others for what ultimately is your own responsibility, or the universe for not giving you what you asked for. Instead, you will have full control over the power of your tongue, and you will begin saying beautiful words that empower others, that lift up instead of tear down, and that see beauty where there was once only darkness.
Your power awaits your belief. Start believing now, and let your journey begin.