Imagine a world without emotions.
That would be a world that knows no love, no hate; no happiness, no sorrow; no pain, no joy; no anxiety, no hope; no fear, no excitement; no dreams, no aspirations…
That would be a world that sees no reason to laugh, to cry; to smile, to frown…
That would be a world with no life.
Man was made an emotional being. The expression of emotions is in fact one of the first signs that he is truly alive. This is portrayed by the loud cries that accompany the birth of a child as the new born alerts the world of its safe arrival bringing tears of joy and heightened feelings of love and gratitude from those around it.
Though our emotions make us feel alive, they have turned out to be both blessings and curses to our existence; the good and evil we do in the world are all products of our emotional state of mind.
For us to truly reap the benefits of being the emotional beings that we are we need to become a master of our emotions, we need to understand our feelings and know just how to make them our allies of success rather than our enemies of progress. Think of the last time you lost control of yourself. What did you feel after the experience? Pain? Regret? Fear? Shame?
All these can be prevented from reoccurring it only takes practice and commitment.
1. Self Control
Self control is what authoritatively speaks to your mind just before it makes an active decision, be it a decision to walk, talk, think, eat, leap or remain at a stand-still.
While you might be inclined to compare this to a conscience, let me remind you that the conscience has little or no authority in its words.
The will power and discipline to listen to and act upon the words of the conscience just before that action is taken is what brings about authority and therein lays the definition of self control.
We tend to interpret “losing control” as getting angry and flaring up or losing one’s temper but it goes way beyond that.
What are the signs of having little or no self control?
- When you find yourself talking too much and saying things you really don’t want to say.
- When you find yourself eating too much, eating the kinds of food you know you shouldn’t eat and in manners you know are not right for you
- When you find it difficult to keep your ego in check thereby giving in to arrogance, pride, envy and jealousy
- When you find yourself saying yes to certain things, activities and people that add no value to you and you know you ought to say No
- When you find it difficult to do the right thing at the right time (or procrastinate) even when you know you should
All these are just instances; there are other areas in our lives and our personality where we exhibit great lack of self control.
So how can you truly become a master of your emotions?
2. Make Self Awareness A Habit
Self awareness is a necessary habit for one who wants to stay in charge of his/her emotions and decisions.
Watch yourself closely every step of the way, every time of the day: watch your thoughts, your emotions, your spoken and written words (and your manner of writing and speaking); watch the way you eat, what you eat, your sleeping pattern and what you do at your idle time- in other words, catch yourself in the act!
Are you irritable, quick tempered, easily hurt or offended?
Self awareness would help you identify the dominant emotions present in you and also figure out what makes you lose control. It is only then that you can seek for ways to keep the negative emotions away while maintaining the positive ones.
3. Let Your Conscience Help You Grow
The presence of a conscience in all humans remains one of the greatest miracles of our existence.
We all have a conscience and it exists for a reason. Although, for some, their conscience is more like that outcast whom whenever it’s his/her turn to speak, no one pays attention and even when they do, it’s usually with the intent to ridicule or criticize.
Let the inner you do its job. Pay attention to the life inside of you whispering the truth into your mind, telling you what to see and what not to see, what to say and what not to say, what to do and what not to do- pay attention to your conscience!
Self awareness would be useless if you cannot bring yourself to accept your faults and admit that there’s still work to be done, in other words self awareness would be ineffective if you do not acknowledge your conscience.
4. Be Mindful Of Your Influences
Our experiences whether positive or negative, have the potential to influence us. However we do not have 100% control over the kinds of experiences we are exposed to as life is unpredictable.We cannot tell for sure what will happen even in the next minute all we can do is pray, plan and prepare.
No one except God is 100% sure of what happens next. However, we can choose how we want to be influenced by our experiences.
To be a master of your emotions, you need to know what kinds of people, places and activities that can incite negative or destructive feelings and emotions in you and then make efforts to stay away from them as best as possible.
Remember that emotions are like communicable diseases- they are contagious- for example, hanging around places or people that exhibit violence can incite violence in you. Therefore, choose your influences wisely if you truly want to stay in charge of your emotions.
5. Be Patient, Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
We tend to beat ourselves up whenever we lose control and then come back to our senses. However, self criticism would only work for you when it’s done constructively.
It’s okay to acknowledge the fact that you messed up or could have done better but then don’t overdo it to the extent of losing your self esteem or letting fear consume you such that you lose hope of ever becoming a master of your emotions.
No human is perfect. You are prone to mess up sometimes but then apologize if you have offended anyone in the process, do whatever you can to correct your mistakes where possible and then re affirm your commitment to stay on top of your feelings and emotions, stay hopeful that next time you’d handle the situation more calmly with a better understanding and willingness to listen to your conscience before you take action.
Self control is a daily affair, a daily struggle and a daily strife.
Within the days are the hours, minutes, and seconds we have to pass through to get through them and in each of these lie the test of every ounce of self control we have ever striven to accomplish.
When you have mastered calmness and decisiveness, strength of mind and willpower, remember that you are only half way there…