“One may not regard the world as a sort of metaphysical brothel for emotions.” ~Arthur Koestler
You might think your primary indulgences are things like chocolate or junk food or craft beer. Or maybe you think they are experiences like watching sports or enjoying spa treatments. Some indulgences may be expensive, some may be time consuming, and others are actually harmful to your health and wellbeing.
But none of these hold a candle to your most destructive and pervasive indulgences.
I Did It Because I Was Weak
The worst possible indulgences are detrimental emotions, emotions like blame or anxiety, craving or hatred. Indulging in such feelings are the worst because they warp your perspective and color your reality.
If you eat too much, you get fat. If you party too hard, you get a headache. But if you indulge in destructive emotions your overall life is shortened and your present life is lessened.
I Didn’t Ask For This
There is no getting around the fact that emotions arise of their own accord. The question is how long will you hold them in existence? We may not have a choice what shows up but we certainly have a choice about what we allow to remain.
If somebody offers you a piece of cake, do you eat the piece they offer and then go back to finish off the whole cake…and then look around for more cakes to decimate? Emotionally speaking, this is what many people do when offered anger or pridefulness or guilt.
A bird may land on your head but you don’t have to let her build a nest, lay eggs, brood her eggs and hatch them into a squawking family of new birds that don’t even have to land on your head, they are already there. Our momma bird represents any undesirable, damaging emotion that comes our way. Her family is all the costly emotions we invite in because we didn’t make it a point to dismiss the first one promptly.
I’m Angry Because I Care
Some of these injurious emotions masquerade as passion or precision or standards. But must they be inextricably intertwined? Not at all. Isn’t it possible to be passionate without anger? Can’t you be precise without anxiety? Isn’t it better to hold high standards without judgment?
Let’s deconstruct that subheading, “I’m angry because I care.” Really? Is anger the inevitable result of caring? Of course not. You could be a lot of things “because” you care. So choose something more beneficial to you:
- I work hard because I care.
- I love people because I care.
- I eat healthy because I care.
Whenever you encounter an emotion that is bringing you down and you mind leaps straight to that “because”, work it backward. What profitable emotion could produce the same good fruitage that follows your “because”? Go sign up for that and let the harmful emotion go. The bottom line is you have more choice in this matter than you may have realized.
How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice
Right now this practice will mean an extra step for you. But it is worth your time, energy and effort. As you internalize this process, you will find you head off a lot of injurious emotions. Furthermore, the more committed you are to this practice, the faster you will embody it.
“Your indulgences may not be what you think they are.” click to tweet
Love feels better than hate, courage feels better than fear, peace feels better than pride. Every negative emotion has an upgrade, and you don’t have to think about it very hard to figure out what it is. So think about it whenever the bird lands. It will alter your business and it will alter your life.
What emotions have you upgraded? Tell us about it by commenting below.
Photo credit: Gernot Poetsch