A few weeks ago, in the space of two hours, I broke the back window of my car as well as the glass door of my home… a good time to test the writings of Lucien Auger on managing emotions.
Bad mood consumes our energy, impairs our judgement, makes the mind tense and damages the relationship with others by making us unaware of our impact on them. It is precisely for this last reason that I became interested in emotions when I took up my first management position.
We can obviously use a categorical affirmation to better frame our state of mind, for example: I use my vacuum cleaner of emotion, or: I do not give anyone power over my mood, or even: when a blow occurs hard, I have the patience and the confidence to believe that it is temporary.
That’s a good start, but there’s a much better method.
If we become able to avoid suffering, stifle our anger, bury our envy, soften our temper and get rid of our sadness, the cream of our personality will surface for the pleasure and happiness of all.
The key lies in the famous half-second between an event and our emotion, this half-second where thoughts, inner sentences, perception and judgment mix, which gives rise to our emotion.
The event is wrongly accused of having created the emotion when events are neutral; it is our judgment that makes them happy or unhappy events.
We must therefore face our spontaneous thoughts following an unfortunate event. Is there evidence? Do my thoughts accurately describe reality? Is the event so important and the consequences so dire? What am I willing to do to make things turn out the way I want?
The best recipe is to say that it must be postponed, which naturally leads to forgetting it.
The second trap is the imagination. When misfortune strikes, the imagination tends to see it bigger, closer, and scarier. The best recipe is to ask yourself what will happen to this misfortune in six months.
This is how I reacted to the smashing of the two panes: I thought it was less bad than the time when, returning to a party after a long and tiring journey, I spilled half a bottle of port on a wool carpet!
This brings me to the fascinating terrain of worldview: hostile or optimistic? A garden to cultivate or a terrain strewn with pitfalls? When a door creaks, does it close or open? When trying to sell an idea, do we feel rejected or have we just been misunderstood? What is fascinating is to see the major difference in reaction of people who have lived in the same environment.
The final pitfall is blaming others in a dispute rather than analyzing the situation from the other side’s point of view. Blaming others frees us from the hard work of taking our destiny into our own hands, lucidly facing reality, and courageously going to work to change our unpleasant emotions. Unmanaged emotions can turn into a deeper feeling like the build-up of anger, which leads to antipathy.
Come to think of it, the following statement can serve as a guide: I am not a puppet whose strings are controlled by my emotions.
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