We interrupt this 4-part series for a special Independence Day message. The last post in this series will be published in two weeks.
This Sunday (July 4) we, in the US, will celebrate Independence Day. It is often a fun Holiday marked by fireworks and outdoor barbecues.
This year, I am suggesting you celebrate our country’s independence (#1), your independence from the covid-19 virus (#2) and your independence from your emotions (#3).
So, what does “independence” mean?
To the extent that you are “independent”, you are capable of making your own decisions, creating your own destiny, and taking control of your own life to impact the directions in which you want to go and the relationships you wish to create and nurture.
- Our country fought the war of independence to get out from under the onerous rule of the English Monarchy. Independence meant being able to determine our own destinies.
- Regarding the Covid-19 virus, your independence, if you have taken the vaccine shots, may mean that you are now free to hug your grandkids, meet in your home in small groups, go shopping, or have a meal in a restaurant. And, you may declare your independence from the Covid-19 emotions of anxiety, anger, grief, helplessness, depression, etc. This will take us to #3.
- Now, you may wonder what I mean by celebrating your independence from your emotions.
Well, as a reader of this blog, you know that I write about strategically using your emotions as tools to improve your life and your relationships.
To the extent that you are doing this, you are independent of your emotions.
Many people, however, believe that their emotions control them.
This belief stems from their experience that emotions seem to just happen and to just happen to them. As I have explained in the Emotional Mastery Cycle, the unconscious reaction to a perception of threat does happen very quickly and is beyond one’s control. This is a survival mechanism and evolved to protect us.
But, and this is crucial, another part of the Emotional Mastery Cycle is the activation of the Cerebral Cortex or thinking part of the brain. The Cerebral Cortex empowers you to decide how you want to utilize and strategically deploy the energy the emotion provides.
Your emotions do not control you.
They alert you, inform you, and motivate you. But, you always have a choice about how you will respond to the situation in which you find yourself.
So, if you believe that your emotions control you, then, maybe, this July 4, is your opportunity to declare your independence from your emotions.
I have written numerous blog posts talking about what emotions are and how to strategically deploy them as tools.
In this post I want to list, for you, the 7 steps to emotional independence.
Step 1: Declare, regardless of how you feel about them, that “Emotions are ONLY tools.”.
Step 2: Declare that you can learn how to use a tool.
Step 3: Pick a specific emotion you want to learn how to use and write down any questions you may have about that emotion and the control it feels, to you, that it exerts over you.
Step 4: Hit the Index tab in the upper right hand corner of this homepage, open up the Index PDF and pick a post which seems to address your major questions about that emotion.
Step 5: Using the information from the posts you have read regarding the specific emotion you want to learn to use (become independent of), decide what new decisions you need to make regarding how you relate to that emotion.
Step 6: Make a Plan and a Commitment to yourself to make these decisions and apply them in your life.
Step 7: Execute your Plan.
But, remember that making changes in your life takes time. Be kind and supportive of yourself and you begin to establish that your emotions are there for you to deploy, as tools, to improve your life and your relationships.
Happy July 4th Independence Day!