Taking Responsibility for Emotions
Our emotions are our responsibility.
As neuroscience continues to explore the human experience of consciousness – findings often lead to more questions than answers. However, one theme that has repeatedly emerged is that we have way more control over our own reality than many of us realize. Our central nervous system (CNS) collects, filters, and organizes external stimuli – thus creating our reality. As we begin to explore, understand, and eventually shift our patterns and perspectives – we create new neuronal pathways within our brains, and essentially change the way our CNS creates our reality.
Before we can make changes – we have to take responsibility. We tend to have an understanding of taking responsibility for our actions. But what does it mean to take responsibility for our emotions? It means to acknowledge that no person or situation “make” us feel a certain way. We create our own emotional experience. This does not mean that we can simply choose not to feel depressed, or worried, or grief, or joy for that matter. What it means is that we can learn to understand the emotional experience, and use it as an opportunity for growth and evolution.
So how do we create our own emotional experience? Our emotions come from our needs being met or not met. The first step is to identify the emotion – sounds simple, right? But oftentimes we are actually making judgments, or creating stories, and labeling them as emotions. For example, one might describe feeling “abandoned,” “rejected,” or “unappreciated,” when the true underlying emotion is “sadness.” The second step is to identify what need is being met or not met. In our example the emotion of “sadness” may be related to one’s need for companionship, love, or approval not being met.
Taking responsibility for our emotional experience does not necessarily change the experience or the circumstances. However, it provides a deeper understanding of the self, and allows us to communicate and consciously act from a place of clarity. And as we continue down this path – our experiences, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves, will likely shift over time.