Many of us walk through life thinking other people push our buttons. That guy who cuts us off on the freeway makes us mad. The woman who lets her dog poop in our front yard annoys us. The child who says he did his homework, but we find out later that he didn’t, disappoints us.
We spend a lot of time blaming other people for causing our emotions. But here’s the big surprise: Other people don’t cause our emotions. We create our own emotions. The guy on the freeway doesn’t make us mad. The only thing he’s guilty of is being a bad driver. We get mad because of what we THINK about the guy.
“Who does he think he is, cutting in front of me and forcing me to slam on my brakes? Just because he drives a Mercedes doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants!”
It’s that thought that creates our anger, not the guy driving the Mercedes.
If you don’t want to experience a certain emotion, don’t hand over your remote to others. Take control of your emotions and you’ll have better control of the situation.
This week, when you find yourself getting angry or upset, take back your emotional remote control and change the way you think about the other person or the situation.
Maybe that guy on the freeway is in a hurry because he has a loved one in the hospital and he’s rushing to get to his or her side. Maybe your neighbor, who does in fact pick up her dog’s poop, doesn’t know that her habit annoys you, and it’s time for a talk. Maybe your child needs to cut back on his or her activities to have more time for homework.
Regardless of the situation, relinquishing control of your emotions to others should no longer be an option. Keep your emotional remote control and you’ll be better able to communicate and problem solve with those around you.