163. Our personal feelings factory.

For the past two weeks we have been discussing The Habit of Emotional Ownership.

Those who have incorporated this habit into the fiber of their very being understand, at the deepest levels, that every emotion they experience is manufactured internally by themselves and consequently, the power and ability to change those emotions at will rests with them.

Many wrestle with the concept that there is no cause and effect relationship between things that happen outside of ourselves – a driver cuts right in front of us forcing us to slam on the brakes – and the emotions we feel on the inside – anger.

When events like this happen The Habit of Emotional Ownership reminds us that we have both the right and the ability to interpret that event any which way we choose, and along with that decision rests our choice in how we will emotionally respond.

In other words, any anger we feel – and attribute to the incident of being cut off in traffic – is created by ourselves, inside ourselves and our act of linking the cause of our anger to the actions of the other driver is completely disempowering as it suggests that we are mere puppets with no choice other than to respond this way each time our strings are pulled by an external puppeteer.

Think of it this way: every emotion we experience is felt by us somewhere inside of our own bodies. There is no cable or Wi-Fi linking our insides to any external event on the outside.

The events that take place outside of our bodies – pretty much everything we experience – may well be viewed as catalysts or triggers for the emotions we feel on the inside but, in and of themselves, cannot possibly play any role in the emotions because of their complete disconnection from us.

When firmly embedded within us, The Habit of Emotional Ownership immediately presents us with a vast menu of all possible emotional choices available to us and invites us to select the one best suited to our present state as opposed to a belief that there is a causal effect which imposes an emotion upon us that we must accept as an inevitable consequence of the event that occurred outside of our bodies.

There are, I believe, three things that must take place each time we experience an emotion.

The first is the story we tell ourselves in the moment – i.e. what we focus on while slamming on the brakes.

The second is the language and tone – either internally or out loud – we choose to use to describe what we are focusing on.

And the third is the role our physiology plays in completing the motion to feel.

Our bodies know exactly what to do to assist us in our choice of feelings. We know instinctively how to adjust our breathing, our facial expressions, our voice tones, our gaze, our body language and our posture in order to grant us the emotions we desire and once we learn how to adjust our focus (perspective), our language and our bodies, we achieve the most liberating gift we can ever give ourselves – emotional ownership.

The Habit of Emotional Ownership is a gift available to all those willing to pay the price of forming a new habit.

And it’s a small price to pay.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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