By Dr. Joe Rubino
We all have a tendency to gravitate toward a version of one of these three moods of anger, sadness or fear that we typically go to during times of stress. These familiar emotional reactions are the warning flags telling us that we are interpreting life in a way that does not likely support us.
For most of us, anger is our most prevalent crutch. This anger can range from irritated anger all the way to beyond rage. Anger gives us a temporary feeling of power. We are addicted to being right, controlling others, and will do most anything to avoid being dominated. Anger allows us to dominate others rather than take responsibility for creating an interpretation about what the other person said or did that keeps us in relationship with them.
For many, the anger quickly turns to sadness. ‘Poor me’ is a common interpretation that leads to depression and resignation. We give up our ability to effectively deal with a challenging situation by assuming the status of victim. We feel sorry for ourselves and attract the sympathy of others. As we wallow in our sad state, we forget that we have the ability to be happy anytime we realize that we can if we decide to shift our focus.
For others, fear is their predominant emotional state. People who worry a lot are addicted to this mood. Of course, you can’t blame those who avoid risk and play it ultra-safe if they are afraid. Like the other typical moods, those paralyzed by fear get to avoid responsibility for courageously managing their emotions and acting from their commitments, rather than their emotions.
Powerful personal reinvention involves an instantaneous awareness of our emotional states, knowing that we possess the ability to create a new mood-free interpretation about what others said or did that supports us to maintain our personal effectiveness and proactive action in place of the reactive meanings we apply to events that do not serve us.
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