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Your Emotions Do Not Control You

This realization that my emotions do not control me was one of the most valuable pieces of information I learned in personal development. Prior to this new understanding, how I felt dictated my life – or at least controlled that period of time until my feelings changed.

Emotions are neither good nor bad. They indicate that something has happened to your heart. Imagine you feel despondent, discouraged, and depressed over a rugged situation. Then the phone rings and the caller says you are the winner of a million dollars. Quickly, your day brightens. Your emotions shift in a heartbeat.

The key is understanding and leveraging the fact that your emotions do not control you.

The 5 Rs

How we feel is often the result of the 5 Rs.

  1. Something happens or is said, done, or not said or done, that results in me feeling rejected.
  2. Rejection feels lousy, so I become resentful about feeling rejected.
  3. In my resentment, I resist relationship with the person I feel resentful toward.
  4. Resistance becomes action when it leads to revenge. Revenge is the desire that you feel the same pain I felt so you know what it feels like.
  5. Repeat. Unresolved, this cycle is easy — even automatic — to repeat until a relationship is damaged beyond repair.

In some families, members are particularly good at repeating this scenario simply because they have a longer history together to continually practice, or repeat, this destructive cycle. The cycle becomes completely automatic. Even expected. And people unthinkingly play out their parts. Think of the aunt who is perpetually offended with someone in the family. The relative who plays favorites. The sibling who pouts when he doesn’t get his way. This is the foundation for holiday get-togethers where folks gather at the dining table and emotionally abuse one another and then have pie.

Sweet Solution 

The life-changing, life-giving solution comes by sticking to the facts and letting the facts stand for themselves. Becoming aware of the active presence of the 5 Rs in our life is the first step to interrupt this destructive pattern. When you find yourself in one of the 5 Rs, thankfully there are actions that can immediately place the relationship back on positive footing. 

The crazy-making emotional drama begins when I make up a story about what is said or not said, done or not done. The truth is that most things people say or do, don’t say, don’t do, and accidentally do or don’t do hardly ever has anything to do with you. Or me. We’re all just doing our best to live our lives as well as we can.

And yes, occasionally we are deeply hurt.

  • Bullies exist on international as well as individual levels.
  • Each of us has been treated unkindly.
  • Those closest do reject me. Divorce is pretty serious rejection. Just sayin’.

Rejection, like pain, is a feeling and an experience we go to great lengths to avoid. But if I’m breathing, rejection is part of life. There is something to be learned from both pain and rejection. The vital aspect is how I respond, and the 5 Rs is the antithesis of maturity, healthy relationships, or even good adulting.

What are your emotions telling you about your heart? What are the facts about the situation? 

For You

Emotional health begins with sticking to the facts of a situation and refusing to make up a story in your head about the facts. Remember that emotions do not control you, but indicate something has happened to your heart.

Next, learn the simple steps to staying out of the 5 Rs found in The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make and in articles on this website.


Meet PeggySue

We’ve heard of soccer moms and stage mothers. I’m a writer who trailers my kids and horses across the nation. My Apple computer, fondly christened MacBeth, is the essential I bring along.