How can I control my emotions?
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Recently, a lovely lady came to me with some questions about controlling her emotions at work and not letting anyone see her cry. The conversation we had got pretty juicy and I feel that a brief summary reflecting the interaction may be of use to anyone who would like to experience more emotional stability and poise. I’m hoping if you take the time to read this, it may help you in some way.
Q: Jay, I was wondering if you might know how I could control my emotions better? I keep getting very emotional at work. When my boss is rude to me I can’t help but cry. I try to hold it in but I can’t.
J: Well... if I'm honest, I don’t think you should try to hold it in, dear. I don’t feel that crying is anything to be ashamed about. In fact, it can be a great teacher and a beautiful experience. Holding these feelings in almost always does more harm than good. You tend to end up feeling worse or exploding eventually. Have you noticed this?
Q: Yes. It doesn't work anyway, I can’t help it once I get upset.
J: Right. What do you feel is upsetting you the most?
Q: My boss can be very rude. She is demanding and criticises my work ethics. That upsets me a lot.
J: Okay then. And do you really care what she thinks of you?
Q: Well, not really. But I don’t appreciate being spoken to like that by anyone. It’s just rude.
J: Well, I can share some insight here.
It’s wise to see that whatever anyone else’s opinion of you is, it is just that. It’s “their opinion”; “their view”. It likely reflects their beliefs, their opinions and programming more than actual truth. If they are behaving poorly towards you, that is more a reflection of their development, their wisdom, or lack of it.
The truth is that we experience uncomfortable or “negative" emotions when we resist life in some way. Through wanting something or someone to be different, we begin to resist what is here already. The mind pastes its own ideas of “how things should be” over the reality of “how things are”, creating a resistance and tension in the body that we may experience as anger, jealousy, shame and so on.
Wisdom is accepting things as they are. Resistance is suffering. Things are the way they are, but it’s how we view them that dictates whether we feel peace and happiness, or emotional pain.
Let me give you an example.
See this yellow kettle bell here. It’s very obviously yellow isn’t it? But what if I really, really wanted it to be blue? What if I had absolutely convinced myself it should be blue and could be blue? Well, it is yellow. This is the ways things are; this is reality. However, if I continue to resist this reality I would begin to become frustrated and suffer on some level. I’m suffering not because the kettle bell is yellow, but because I believe it should be otherwise.
The same applies with people and situations. If we insist they be one way and in reality they are another, we suffer. Not because of how they are or how they behave, but because of our resistance to it.
Q: Yes, that makes sense.
J: Of course, this doesn’t mean that we need condone people's poor behaviour or continue hanging around them, but we start with accepting whatever comes up as it is.
Q: Okay, wow. Thank you. That does make sense right now; I feel I understand. But what if my boss begins being rude again—how can I remember this?
J: Simply notice the shifts in your experience. Notice the feeling of tension and emotion start to build, then remember what we have discussed; remember to accept the reality of how things are in this moment. Things already are the way they are. The kettle bell is yellow. Be open to that. Happiness is saying "yes" to everything; "yes" to this, here, now.
Q: Okay great. I’ll just remind myself, “It's yellow, it's yellow!" (laughs)
Further questions are welcome—leave a comment below and I will answer them personally.