You cannot make someone else feel an emotion. Every word you say and every thing you do, is interpreted by those around you. It is their choice how they react. It is your choice how you react. Nobody can make you feel anything that you don’t let them.
You are allowed to feel upset, to feel hurt, to feel angry or annoyed. The challenging part is accepting those feelings as your own, and not blaming others for making you feel that way. Imagine telling a joke you found funny to someone who becomes upset with you. Is it your fault that they have reacted that way?
It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it. – Sophocles
It is an instinctive thing, to blame others when we feel negative. “You said this so now I feel this.” We develop emotional sensitivities in our formative years, when we are young children absorbing everything around us like sponges. When you react as an adult, it is a preconditioned sensitivity to a particular stimulus. This is why two people experiencing the same event can have very different reactions to it. You strengthen these sensitivities every time you react to them. Imagine that as a child your sibling would take your toys without asking. This irritated you and as an adult you feel that same irritation when people help themselves to your food, your makeup, your time, without asking. You will keep feeling irritated until you deal with the root cause. Don’t play the victim to circumstances you created.
There are ways to become more emotionally responsible, to take control of the way you react which in turn will help others to become more emotionally responsible too:
- When you react negatively, stop for a moment. Breathe. Let yourself feel the emotion
- Try not to attach judgement to the feeling, as judgement creates more negativity and resentment towards your feelings. Why are you mistreating your feelings? They are all valid
- You are not a victim. It is not someone else’s fault that you have reacted the way you have. Feeling offended means that you are admitting that you are not in control of your emotions
- Think about why you have reacted the way you have. Think about the trigger. When your sibling took your toys, they didn’t do so because they wanted to hurt you. They wanted to emulate you. Take it as a compliment. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
- Don’t allow yourself to be blamed for the way other people feel. That is their responsibility.
Remember, thoughts have no emotions. It is us as humans that attach feeling to thought. See your thoughts for what they are and feel your feelings without judging them. Take responsibility for your emotions, without forcing them on others. Understand that you have the power to empower yourself, and empower others with your words, your actions, and the way you express your emotions.