We can’t always control where and when our emotions arise. If only it were that easy, right? Since emotions are our monitors to tell us there’s something present for us to see, they arise in all sorts of situations and timing. And often, because human connection and relationship is so important, and many of us spend so much time surrounded by others, deep emotions arise when we’re in the midst of interacting with people. In dealing with emotions while interacting with others, sometimes it’s important to step away and take time to think things through and evaluate the situation – partially so you can get a clear head about what’s going on and what you really feel, and possibly so you can shield the other person from having to feel the intensity of what you are feeling in the moment (ie. projecting anger on someone when it’s not fair to them to have to feel what you’re feeling).
There are times, however, in dealing with emotions while interacting with others that the wisest option is instant and transparent communication. The other day, for example, I had a situation where I was triggered by something someone expected of me, and yet I found myself agreeing to it anyway. I chose not to tell them that it did not feel fair because I did not want them to feel that I was judging them or their decisions. And because I had already committed to going out of my way for them, I put myself in a situation of doing something that I did not want to do, simply out of the integrity of keeping my word. As I drove out to see this person, I ended up in a traffic jam (clearly no one’s fault), and found myself more triggered about their expectations by the minute. Before I got to them, I ended up buried in frustration. I was tempted to shy away from dealing with my emotions and just call and cancel on the person, but knew that would not be in integrity. And yet I also felt it not in integrity to show up to help them and pour my frustration on them. And I knew the strong emotion wasn’t going anywhere soon. I quickly realized that dealing with emotions in the moment was the only choice I had. And since I was due to see this person any second, dealing with emotions alone was not an option.
And so, immediately upon arriving, I spoke up. I spoke in the most calm, and yet transparent way I knew how. I spoke about what I was feeling, and the story I made up about it all, and took responsibility for my place in it all. And the result – quick and smooth understanding of each other, basic discussion that helped me in dealing with emotions, as well as removing the “story” from it all, and, within minutes, resolution and clearing of my emotions. It was that simple. And all because I spoke up about how I felt, and took responsibility for my place in it. In this situation, had I stepped away and taken the time to deal with it on my own, I would have never found the mutual understanding with the other involved. Proof that dealing with emotions often seems harder than it is.