And Other Emotions You Don’t Want

You make me so mad! I suspect most people have made a similar statement to someone they feel has given offense at some point. It’s a case of assigning the cause of our emotional reaction to another person. We may also assign the cause of joy to someone who has said or done something positive or uplifting. In managing anger and other negative emotions, you have to realize that no one can actually cause you to feel any emotion you do not accept or agree to.

Allow Me to Elaborate

That we so readily think others can cause our own personal emotions is a mystery to me, though I am just as guilty as the next person. If you study the phenomenon without preconceived notions, you may discover a great lie there. In order for someone to “make you mad”, you actually must create the anger within yourself first, then assign the cause to another. The same holds true of any emotion. Any joy you feel genuinely comes from within you, not an external cause. You are fully responsible for every one of your own emotions. Generally speaking, we are all too agreeable to assign the cause of joy to ourselves, but not anger. As an aside, anger not only spoils your day mentally, it harms the body as well.

We Are Solely Responsible for Our Emotions

If you take an honest look and find what I say has merit, you suddenly understand that you are solely responsible for all your anger, sadness, boredom, interest, happiness, and any other emotion, including apathy.

Accepting responsibility for creating our own joy and happiness within ourselves instead of assigning this to others could be a bitter pill to swallow. Taking the blame for our anger, rage, sadness, and jealousy might “make” us want to hold others accountable. The problem is, we can’t have it both ways, can we?

Can We Blame Others for Our Anger

Actually, we can. The power of decision in a human being is absolute. We have just gotten so used to assigning that power to other causes, including people, throughout life that we have forgotten we ever had it.

My mother told a story about me many times in her long life. When I was about four years old, I came running into the house saying a “bear was after me”. Other than in the zoo, there were no bears on the plains of Western Oklahoma. What impressed my mother was how real it seemed to me. The point is that I so “created” that bear in my mind that it became completely real to me. So, it goes with assigning the cause of our emotions to others.

We Create and Hold Firm Our Realities

Beyond emotions, we create and hold firm our realities. Our social and political environment can influence the emotions we adopt. A neo-Nazi creates hate for people of color and certain religions. He adopts emotion and ideas from a reality created by others he decides to agree with.  Oh, yes, he is managing anger, nursing it daily. This is anger management for a purpose, even if it is abhorrent to most of us.

 I engage in an exercise occasionally to carefully examine my opinions, beliefs, and agreements to discover whether they are truly my own or adopted from others without full assessment. I find self-examination useful and highly recommend it.

We ultimately hold power over our thoughts, decisions, and emotions. We all must decide what we are willing to accept or agree with, whether something jumps up unbidden from the depths of our minds or another person or group. The road to self-delusion is paved by granting other causes over our personal power, emotions, and decision-making. Accepting control of our own power and becoming comfortable exercising it leads to wisdom and a fruitful, productive life.

Should we not all be the captain of our own ship?

Jerry Philosophical Life Lessons

3 Replies

  1. I will say that, over the years, you and Patty have, so many times, made me so happy! I accept no responsibility. It was all your fault….both of you! Ha ha ha!

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