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Archive for the ‘Emotional Control’ Category

Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.

—René Descartes (by Frans Hals; Public Domain)

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There are good and bad times, but our mood changes more often than our fortune.

Carlyle, Thomas pc Eliott & Fry Ph

—Thomas Carlyle (By Eliott & Fry Photography)

…The importance of learning to control our states of mind, developing that wonderful ability to move from one state to another at will, cannot be overemphasized. Think of it! Being able to move from sadness to joy, or from loathing to gratitude, discounting external forces, can quite literally change the level of happiness within our lives!

MSH

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The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

James, William, Father of Am Psychology

—William James

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He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances.

Hume, David see citation

David Hume (Oil on canvas by Allan Ramsay, 1766; in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.)

…We’ve all been there. Actually, some of us are forced to live most of our lives there. Stuck in a time or place where the circumstances don’t suit our temper. Maybe we are in a job we don’t like, working with people we aren’t like. Perhaps we are at a social function we were forced into, and don’t share the values or characteristics of the people surrounding us. We may be watching a “popular” television show and tell ourselves, “I have nothing in common with the viewers who actually find this to be entertainment.”

I think of the country I grew up in, and I look around today and see a totally different world. A stranger in a strange land, in the words of Robert Heinlein’s classic novel. But we can’t create the world surrounding us, so we appear to be at its mercy. Though some wealthy enough (a few Hollywood actors come to mind) may be able to insulate themselves from opposing viewpoints and be lauded for it by sycophantic fans, are they growing spiritually, or are they inhibiting their growth by living in a bubble?

No, the answer is not to ruminate about days gone by or to always search for circumstances which suit our temper. That is not what we are doing here. The answer lies in roaming around and exploring the world which surrounds us. With a stoic philosophy, we should welcome circumstances which previously made us uncomfortable. Instead of lamenting those who oppose our viewpoint, we should study how and why they came to believe and act the way they do.

After a real or perceived defeat at the hands of those who do not share our viewpoint, we have a choice. We can become bitter and rigid (does anyone come to mind?), or we can accept what has happened and move forward; not compromising our own belief system, but vowing to grow from the experience. One path is simple and rote, while the other requires effort and self discipline. Despite our surface feelings, we know which path will make us “more excellent.”

MSH

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Action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can regulate the feeling, which is not.

James, William, Father of Am Psychology

—William James

…Let’s face a simple fact: most of us are controlled, to quite a large degree, by our feelings. The way we feel at any given time almost always has a visible impact on our actions at that time. When you think about it, this is a pretty lousy way to live. We willingly give control over much of our lives to the dictates of our emotional states. And we call ourselves free?

This quote by William James, one of the trailblazers of modern psychology, may sound elementary, but its impact can be profound. By fighting the inner demon of negative thought and dark emotions, by taking small positive actions despite the way we feel, we can literally wrest back control over our feelings. And what a wonderful victory that would be!

So, stay focused on your goals and objectives for your life, no matter your age or circumstances, and continue to move forward, inch by inch and step by step. When you do finally look up, you will be amazed at just how far you have moved. And, odds are you will feel pretty great as well!

MSH

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