Emotional Responsibility

What does it mean to be responsible for your own emotions?

If someone hurts you with their words, is it right to fight back and insult them? Is that acceptable? Will that resolve the matter or defuse any given situation?

Maybe we can look at this a different way…

Where do these emotions and feelings come from?

We’re all human [aside from the SpamBots who’ve been bought to this site through keywords – not that you’re actually reading the text, anyway] and we’re allowed to feel whatever we like in response to a situation. Fighting our feelings isn’t normally a good way to go (unless you’re working undercover for some government agency and trying to defy a lie-detector, perhaps….).

If someone says something that upsets you, how do they do that?

You hear their words. But how do they transfer that emotion?

It’s taken me a few years and two separate counsellors to be able to begin to understand this but the simple answer is that NOBODY can ‘make’ you feel anything at all. Good, bad or in between.

Our feelings and emotions are our response. It’s a simple as that.

Beyond that, we make a choice in how to respond.

I personally find it pays to be mindful when experiencing strong emotion (which I’ve had my share of this past month). I try to step back and look at what is really going on… It’s not easy, it’s dark and the path is initially unknown but I start by looking inside myself and, once there, I can begin to explore what’s really going on.

I guess providing a scenario might help to add clarity, here…

Let’s say you’ve begun a new relationship with someone and it’s been going well, you’ve been feeling great in yourself in response to this (again, the relationship doesn’t ‘make’ you feel good – it’s your response). Suddenly, at the other person’s wishes, that relationship comes to an end, several weeks down the line.

There was no conflict. They shared their own reasons for this decision.

In response to that, you might feel quite terrible inside, feeling as though you have lost so very much and so soon, just when you only felt it was going so well.

How do you respond?

You ‘could’ blame the other person for the hurt you are feeling. You could even go as far as to use anger and/or aggression towards them, as your response. But however you feel inside, that is where these feelings have originated from – inside of you. Your former-lover didn’t ‘give’ you anything or ‘make’ you feel any certain way because that’s fundamentally impossible.

Even if you do react with anger, using words, slurs and insults to try and ‘make’ the other person feel as bad as you suddenly do… Is that going to ‘make’ you feel better? Will it resolve and even reverse the situation?

Chances are, it will not. If you’re hurting, try talking to them without pointing that finger. Stop and think for a moment, before you react.

If you are feeling hurt in response to something another person has said, I would like to encourage you to talk them, tell them how you feel and, if you feel it was intentional, considering the option of forgiveness.

Where physical abuse is involved, I have no first-hand experience but I imagine it’s a little harder to understand as physical interaction will trigger other senses. In the same way that sex and other romantic interactions will stimulate parts of your body that will mostly only lead to positive feelings inside.

Let’s looking at feelings again but out from the shadows and in to the light.

Can you think of a time someone has ‘made’ you feel good?

Okay. Hold that and try to focus on where the positive vibes have come from… Because I promise you that, as in a negative experience, those feelings has only come from inside of you.

Feeling good is your response to a positive situation that you might also have enjoyed. Feeling loved works in a similar way.

If it is wrong to blame others for ‘making’ us feel bad then, where’s the harm in praising someone for ‘making’ us feel good?

Here, I believe it is as important to recognise that your feelings only come from inside of you. If you were to continue praising others for your own positive feelings and experiences then, at what point would you stop to look inside yourself? Surely, there’s a great risk here that you would end up dependant on others for positive feelings… I’ve been there and, trust me, when you can’t find it, you end up in a very dark, cold and lonely space.

You’re welcome and allowed to feel happy, sad, depressed, angry or glad in any given situation. Just try to be mindful of where those feelings are actually coming from. It takes a lot of practice over a long period of time to begin to understand and accept this notion which, sadly, only a small proportion of the population seem to be aware of. But I promise you, once you start to realise this truth, you begin to feel enlightened, not emotionless or cold.

If you’re still struggling with the concept then I’d ask you to think of a time when you most recently felt and expressed anger towards someone or, even do this the next time those emotions rise… Ask yourself then; what do I truthfully have to gain from being angry with them?

You don’t have to love them. You don’t even have to like them, if you don’t feel that way. But expressing anger in this way doesn’t necessarily relieve the feelings inside of you.

Thanks for reading. I hope this makes some sense and that people might gain from my own experiences… I welcome all questions, just in case. 🙂

In my own case, I accept full responsibility for my own words and actions, which were not always best placed. But I refuse to accept responsibility and ‘the blame’ for someone else’s feelings and even pain – sadly, what was a beautiful friendship may be coming to the end as the other person will not accept this. No matter how much I care for another person, I cannot accept more than my own share of the responsibility. I’ve been there before and I don’t ever intend to go back.

If anyone feels offended or upset by anything in this post, I ask you to accept that as your reaction. I can only take responsibility for the words I have posted here.

“When playing the blame game, there is no winner.”

4 comments on “Emotional Responsibility

  1. janonlife says:

    I feel that what you say is absolutely true. It took me an immensely long time to discover it.

    • Thanks, Jan! I’m just gutted that my friend won’t or cannot see it. I fear she will one day and may reflect on recent events differently. I hope you’re well. 🙂

  2. Loved reading this!! It took me a long time to have the ability to own my emotions, really feel them, and regulate them as well. Had a super hard time doing so, it took a really long time and a lot of help and support.

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