Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Enlightened Living: The Myth of Managing Emotions

Posted by Michael J. Formica in Enlightened Living:

One of the great secrets of life is that ‘it's not all about you.' When we interact with others, we tend to see ourselves as the cause of their reactions and emotions. The folly of this perspective is that, in truth, we are responsible only for ourselves, and our own feelings. We are not responsible for the feelings of others (although we are responsible to them), and we cannot, nor do we, cause those feelings to emerge. Unless we do something intentionally hurtful to another person, the feelings that they experience are those that they have created for themselves. Similarly, others do not cause the emergence of our own feelings.

Failing to recognize this balance of responsibility within our relationships can get us into the dance of managing others emotions. When we do this, we immediately introduce inauthenticity into those relationships. As soon as we begin to anticipate another's reaction, and shape our behavior to meet our expectation of their reaction, we engender a subtle deceit. Firstly, we deceive ourselves into believing that we are somehow helping the situation, and, secondly, we deceive the other into believing that things are different, sometimes vastly different, than they actually are. This dynamic is at the core of both codependence and counter-dependence, and it can be destructive for a number of reasons.


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