When Everyone Knows You Are Angry, But You Self-Awareness: The Most Important Step in Controlling Our Emotions
It is sad and somewhat comical. Someone gets really livid. But when challenged about why they are so upset, they snap right back, “I am not angry!”
When everyone knows you are angry except you, you’ve got problems. I want to talk to you today about how to control our emotions.
We Must Be Aware of Our Emotions
The first step in controlling your emotions before they control you is self-awareness. We must be able to assess our emotions in any given moment.
In the context of psychiatric symptoms, the word insight is an interesting term. If someone is seeing a pink elephant in the air, but they understand it is a hallucination, we say the patient has insight. If, however, they believe there is actually a pink elephant flying in the air, we say they do not have insight.
In determining these patients’ prognosis, those who have insight have a much more manageable disease. Similarly, those who have insight into the state of their own emotions are much more capable of managing their life. They are self-aware.
Consider a two year old. When a toddler has a tantrum because he did not get the toy he wanted at the store, what is he aware of when he starts screaming? One thing: he did not get what he wanted. Toddlers are not aware of how silly they appear or any long term habits they may be forming. They are two. Sadly, as adults we can fall into the same trap. We get into an emotional state, and our self-awareness plummets. We have no clue how ridiculous we look or the effects our behavior has. So how do we grow in the area of insight?
How to Be Aware of Our Emotions
A few years ago, I really wanted to improve my self-awareness. I was dedicated to keeping my emotions in check. So I went to the extent of setting an hourly alarm on my phone that read “Check Emotions.” It may seem extreme to some, but for me it was an effective way to train myself to become more self-aware.
To improve emotional self-awareness, make a list of the most common emotions that personally seem to creep up on you. For me, it is feeling down, defeated, discouraged, or hurt. These are the emotions I know I must guard against. When I am in the midst of those feelings, I am aware I should not make important decisions or engage with others about sensitive issues. What I must focus on is pulling myself out of those emotions.
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