Observe Your Emotions and Chose Your Reactions

You can kill many birds with the same stone (this is actually not a nice expression but you know what I mean). You do not have to take on many different actions. When you can address the “emotions” thing and choose your reactions, you make progress in many different areas.


Everything I read and conclude with regards to self improvement and personal development comes back to emotions. The steps to higher self-esteem and becoming a better person (up to you how you define this) involve always something about observing emotions, understanding them and choosing your reaction.


My understanding of what you can do with regards to emotions is the following.


Observe Your Emotions

The first step is to start observing your emotions and seek understanding of why you have these emotions. Why do you get angry? Why do you get sad? Why do you get frustrated? Etcetera.


Do not stop with the answer on the first “why”. Drill deeper and ask again “why” to the answers that you are giving yourself. Answer these questions always in terms of “I ….” And not in terms of what others are doing.


As an example, I have observed that I get often angry when I get a question that I cannot answer. Why is that? I think I get angry in those situations because I think the person should not have asked that question since they should have known that I cannot answer it and I have this internal notion that you should not ask someone for something that you do not have any right to or that the other person cannot say yes to. That internal notion does not seem rational to me, but I do have it. Not sure yet where it is coming from, but I will find out.


Thus not all answers will come instantly. But to make progress, you have to ask yourself the questions. Often you find that when you analyze your emotions in this way, the emotions fall away and you discover some unconscious thinking that you are not aware of and that you do not even agree with.


Choose Your Actions

Besides observing your emotions, you can choose your actions in and reactions to certain situations. The start here is to acknowledge that you always have a choice. You do not need to react automatically to a certain situation. You can learn to observe emotions first and then chose how you want to react to a situation.


When choosing your action and reaction you can contemplate how this action will affect yourself and others and how happy you are with the consequences.


I do not think that your objective shall be to get rid of your emotions. I even like to think that we can enjoy our emotions. The problem is not in the emotions but in the consequences of our automatic reactions to our emotions. By observing your emotions, understanding where they come from and choosing your reactions and actions, you can increase the quality of our live and our self-esteem.


What is your strongest emotion that causes you to react in a way that has consequences that you are not happy with? Why do you get that emotion?