• Lifes Apprentice

Is your Emotion Justified?

One of my role models, the great Marcus Aurelius once said:

How much more harmful are the consequences of anger and grief than the circumstances that aroused them in us!

One of the most commonsense pieces of advice is 'when you find yourself in a metaphorical hole, stop digging', yet why do so many of us ignore this and keep on digging until our hole is the size of a small planet? (bit dramatic I know, but you get my point)


What most of us do when something bad happens to us, or something goes wrong is make it worse, by getting angry, frustrated or 'overly emotional' (I've heard that one a few too many times). But unbeknown to ourselves, we add and add, chucking more emotion onto the, what was a calm fire.


One HUGE human truth is that:

We react for the sake of reacting.

We can't stand to just leave things as they are.

Why do we do this?

Anger and guilt are two of the big bad guys that help us to do this. When we initially feel that little bubble of anger, it is so easy for us to latch onto it and let it loose. The majority of the time, the cause of what made us angry in the first pace holds minuscule importance. 'A care cuts you up' or 'your mum forgot to buy you the crisps you asked for' or one of mine is when 'you are watching your favourite tv show and the electricity cuts out because of the weather'. I have turned into a she-hulk because I couldn't watch the end of Greys Anatomy once. But in the end, it was just a tv programme, one that I could easily watch online, yet I got so angry, shouting at the weather, working myself up and then falling into a grumpy mood. I felt shit all day because of that; because I couldn't just let it go.


And the reason I probably got so angry was that I was not in control of what happened. We cannot control the weather or what somebody does or says, so we get pissed off because it either crossed a boundary and wasn't in line with our way of thinking.


The act of justifying

You can also easily slip into the act of adding more anger or guilt onto a situation because you tell yourself (maybe not consciously) that feeling this level of emotion is justified. Whatever just went wrong deserves this amount of anger or I deserve this amount of guilt because I did this so-called 'bad' thing.


We tend to blame the cause of our emotional outburst for the reaction it provoked, but really it is the aggravating emotion that causes most of the damage. Negative emotions are ok to be felt, in fact, we need to experience them every once in a while to have an emotional equilibrium. But, we do not need to give them the power in which we do. Instead, try to keep hold of the power and harness it by not latching onto the negative emotion you feel.


Being able to acknowledge the presence of anger, resist it, stay calm and level headed is so much more powerful than letting it run free.

There may be a certain level of justification that your emotion deserves- I'm not saying to ignore that. But most of the time, it gets more than it really should have.

Building insight and awareness up within your own self and reflecting on your past behaviours may help you stop and think next time you experience too much anger or too much guilt. Be aware that you might not get it right the first time, the second time or even the third time around, I certainly didn't, but I am incredibly aware of what I am doing and most of the time I am able to stop it before I reach she-hulk level.

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