“He who rules his emotions is greater than he that takes a city.”
This principle highlights the critical importance of self-discipline in managing reactions and responses from your emotional feelings. Everyone experiences frustrations, set backs, anger, and pain from time to time. How you respond to these situations determines your character and reputation. “Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which ones to surf.” (Jonatan Martensson)
It has been proven when you are angry or in an emergency situation, your body can produce enough adrenaline to make you twice as strong and have long stretches of endurance. Clearly your behavior is directly affected by your emotions. In order to rule your behavior, you must control your reactions. Reality is experienced through your senses, but defined through your mind. Everything you hear, see, smell, taste or touch is captured and analyzed by your mind. Once your mind has examined a situation, it communicates a response (reaction) to your body.
Responsibility in managing your behavior, emotions and reactions will help you to activate your dreams. By directing your emotional energy, you can become more productive. The most valuable types of energy are also those with the greatest power for destruction. Consider nuclear energy: It has the potential to add a lot of value to society but, when out of control, becomes a powerfully destructive force. Likewise, emotions can be used to add a lot of value to your life; they can fuel your determination, give you a passion for your vision, and help you to feel compassion for others. But if you are unwilling or unable to control your emotions, it can bring destruction to your life. If you are in a crisis and your primary reaction is explosive, you will waste opportunities, ruin good relationships and endure unnecessary loss. If these behaviors become frequent, you may be branded as unreasonable and avoided by others.
If you govern your emotions, you will experience these benefits:
- You will have clear thinking and will not be controlled by your emotional impulses. You will make good decisions because you have taken the time to consider all factors before reacting. This affects not only you but also those around you.
- You will be viewed as a mature person and will create a good reputation. People will trust that your response will be rational and well thought out, so they will more readily open up to you.
- You will be healthier mentally and physically because you will remain in a stable frame of mind rather than letting situations send you out of control.
People who handle their emotions can be recognized by these traits:
- They control their situations rather than letting their situations control them. They handle themselves well while identifying problems and finding solutions.
- They are consistent with their moods and attitudes. They communicate with their behavior and example. They realize that actions (like slamming a door) and non-verbal body language (like giving an angry look) can be even more powerful than words and they seek to keep these, as well as their words, in check.
- They have good judgment of people because they are able to objectively listen to and view others.
- They think before they speak – especially when they are under stress.
Steps to Follow
In order to control your emotions:
- Discipline your mind to master your emotions. The mind is primarily a processor and will recommend responses based on what you put in it. If you condition your mind with good values and sound principles, it will advise you properly.
- Remind yourself of the danger or cost of extreme emotional stress. The better you control your emotions, the healthier you will be.
- Learn to recognize your emotions and govern their energy. Ask yourself when and why you have quick reactions. Coach yourself to take some time before reacting. Ask yourself what response will most benefit the situation. Choose your battles wisely.
- Eliminate moodiness. Know yourself well enough to recognize what situations have the potential to send your emotions out of control. Moody and unstable behavior can bring as much harm to you as to others. This instability may be the result of internal hurts that need resolved, unmanaged stress, or lack of sleep.
- Practice tolerance of others and wait to judge until you know all of the facts. Do not expect perfection from yourself or from those around you. Emotions are good and necessary to our daily life. They energize our convictions and actions. Once we know what is right we need to give it all of our energy.