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Be A Master Of Your Emotional World

Choose whatever you may like but reclaim your life of peace and prosperity and be a master of your emotional world.

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Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Anger, Low Self-Esteem and low self-Confidence are a few common terms most of us are familiar with and these in different combinations do affect us some time or the other in our lives with varying degrees and intensity.  An empathetic and consoling feedback is what most of us look for when we are affected by these.  However, if I said that essentially most of these emotional and psychological problems are self-created, self-inflicted and self-induced, people will jump at my throat and strangle me to death and call me insensitive and cruel.  

Whether it be a dislike for something, someone or somewhere or an extremely gloomy outlook. Whether it is displeasure with what you have or be or do.  We create all these negative emotions, but we do not do it intentionally or with purpose.  The fact, sadly, is that we are not even consciously aware of how these emotions are created in us.  Since I possibly can not cause these negativities in me, there must be something or someone, other than myself, who must be responsible for causing these in me, is the general (seemingly natural) conclusion.  My immediate response, therefore, always is to find, literally or notionally, the one who I can safely and convincingly apportion blame on for my sad life and its plight.  For this reason, the cause or the source for my plight is always external to me.  Consequently, all my mental and intellectual energies, necessarily and essentially, are directed at managing my external environment, desperately trying to get immediate relief and continued search for permanent solutions for my agony.  This is a kind of foolishness as I am trying to control uncontrollable.  That’s what I have been taught since childhood.  When I started walking as a toddler and had a fall, which inflicted pain on me, all grownups around me shouted at the chair or the table or the floor or someone else and blamed them to have caused the fall and the injury to me.  That’s how they managed to keep me from crying and maintain a comparatively peaceful environment at home.  So, I learnt my lesson, which got squarely instilled in my mind loud and clear, that there is always someone or something other then myself responsible for all my sufferings.

No matter how much I try to stop or control my external environment, which inflicts pain on me, it doesn’t stop and no matter what I did, I do not seem to have any control over it.  Many of us can easily relate with this continued reoccurrence of such negative emotions despite removing all such people, things and places from our lives that has caused us grief.  Often people will go to the extent of breaking their relationships, divorcing their husbands and wives, countlessly changing their jobs and cities, but the problems continue to follow them like their shadow.  The reason my emotional and psychological problems follow me like a shadow because these, in fact, are nothing but the shadows of my own thoughts.  Therefore, fruitless efforts of breaking relationships, divorcing husbands and wives, countlessly changing jobs and cities does not bring desired outcome i.e. peace of mind and relief from pain.  Solution, therefore, lies in de-learning certain learnings, gaining insight into oneself and learn the dynamics and interplay of senses, mind and intellect.  How my own internal instrument(s), though very sincere and dedicated and always ready to serve me and protect me from all the dangers in life, become the very cause of all my problems and agonies in life.  Based on my past experiences and misinterpretations of people, places and things around me, my mind concludes and assigns a meaning to my current experiences, invariably negative in nature, but most certainly contrary and conflicting to my own sense of self.  
When there is continued and repeated external verification that my self-image is much lower than my expectations (ideal-Self) and that there doesn’t appear any hope in the horizon for stopping it or altering the chances or bringing any improvement, it manifests itself as Depression.  A self-evaluative negative thought process results in conclusion that “I am worthless”, “I am good for nothing” and “nobody cares about or love me”.  Such negative thoughts supported by countless subsequent negative perceptions, eventually get consolidated in negative self-belief.  Depression is nothing but a result of this vicious negative cycle, which is a manifested effect of past events or experiences occurring in the Present.  

Any situation, where I anticipate a danger to my self-esteem and that it could be maligned, or it will be adjudged as lower than what I aspire it to be or it could be fear of exposure of my filthy self-image, that I believe it to be. It causes Stress in me.  Though the danger continues to loom over, yet there is still a hope for protection and salvation, hence the struggle ensues and continues.  This struggle consumes a lot of my mental energy and results in exhaustion and fatigue.  This collective experience of anticipating a danger, associated defensive struggle and resulting dissipation of energy is referred to as Stress.

When the intensity of this stress grows out of my control and all hopes for salvaging fall flat on its face, it manifests itself as anxiety.  Anxiety is an effect experienced in the Present, of events or experiences, that I am more than convinced about, will most definitely be occurring in the future, immediate or distant, with me having no control over it.  
Our life is a constant balancing act in order to achieve an ideal self, the image of my-self which I hold in my mind and constantly aspiring and striving to achieve it.   Any voluntary or involuntary efforts or lack of it that frustrates my striving causes Anger in me.  If my own opinion about myself is higher then what others think about me, I have higher self-esteem and whenever I rate other’s opinion about myself higher then my own, if causes low self-esteem in me.  It is my own self-evaluation of my day to day perceptions and experiences as a result of my interaction with the external world.  A sustained negative evaluation of low self-esteem is the very cause of my low self-confidence.

It is not very difficult to note that most of the mental or cognitive activities are happening within me, I myself either  form opinions about myself or accept other’s opinions about myself as true, I perceive the world around me the way I want to, and my mind is drawing its own conclusions and the resulting affects are falling squarely on me.  So, I am the cause, I am the effect of the cause and the experiencer of the effects caused.  So where is the OTHER person, place or thing involved in this entire process.  THINK !!

Let us now consider a scenario to understand the dynamics of how our own senses, mind and intellect play games with us.  If and when, for example, I mistakenly misinterpret a rope for a snake, all my subsequent reactions and experiences will be directed at the snake.  I know that I have seen a snake, rather I believe that there is snake in the room and I am most convinced that my senses can’t go wrong.  So long as I continue to believe that there is snake in the room, I will not enter the room and any prospect or compulsion for me to go in there will cause me an immense sense of fear, anxiety and danger to my life.  Therefore, I will do all in my command but to enter the room.  This behaviour to the onlooker, however, will not only appear weird but would give enough cause for concern for them to be worried about my state of mental health.    
The problem, however, lies in my perception of reality.  It is my lack of self-consciousness and self-awareness about myself, my internal but subtle mechanisms.  That is where lies the solution for most of our emotional and psychological problems, but only for those who wish to take charge of their lives, for those aspiring to rule their internal mechanism rather then being ruled by it and become master of their experiences.  What all is required is to gain the ability to see rope as rope.  The moment I wake up to the reality of rope and can see the rope for rope, all my fears and anxiety will disappear and be dispelled in a blink of an eye.  No more anxiety, no more fear and no more danger to my life and I reclaim the room.

The process of replacing negative thoughts with positive one is prescribed in Cognitive behaviour therapy, the process of becoming aware of your own self and your mind’s functioning is indicated in Mindfulness Therapy and waking up to your own fuller, complete and higher (real) self and replacing your unreal (perceived) identity with that of the real you, is advocated in Spiritual Therapy.  Choose whatever you may like but reclaim your life of peace and prosperity and be a master of your emotional world.  That’s what Ram did, and only then he was coronated as Raja Ram.  Raja Ram or Lord Ram, meaning the Ram who rules over his senses, mind and intellect and no more ruled over by these.  To celebrate his journey of struggle, his resolve and fight for reclaiming his internal but subtle instrument (Sita) back to its original form from the clutches of negativity, negative thoughts (Ravan), with the help of his mental strengths (Hanuman) is marked as an occasion for celebration, which we refer to as the festival of Diwali (an occasion of enlightenment).  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Anupam Srivastava .

The author is Director, Insight - Life Coaching Services

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