This marks the beginning of a new blog post series on mastering your emotions. Emotions are one of the most misunderstood aspects of human existence. We all experience them but few of us know how to manage them effectively to the point that we often appear to be victims of our emotions.
In order to get on the path to mastering our emotions we need to understand more about them. The first thing is that emotions can arise from one of two sources. They can arise as a direct result of the thoughts we are having or our daily life circumstances. Let’s discuss our thoughts in more detail.
Most of our thoughts arise from our subconscious mind which is programmed in our early childhood. This is why the majority of the more than 50000 thoughts we have in a typical day are negative. With negative thoughts come negative emotions and these are the emotions that we have control over. But how can we control our negative thoughts if they arise from our subconscious mind you may ask?
The way we do this is by making our subconscious negative thoughts conscious. This is done by identifying our limiting beliefs which are the greatest subconscious source of negative thoughts. What are limiting beliefs? A belief, by definition, is a belief that you take to be true regardless of whether there is any proof of its validity. A limiting belief, therefore, is any belief that keeps you from achieving your highest potential.
We all suffer from negative beliefs. Examples of these can be, I will never find love, I will always be a slave to my job, I will never lose weight, I will always be dependent on my medications and the most common limiting belief which is, I am not good enough. As I have already mentioned, these beliefs are usually programmed in our early childhood through outside influences which could be our parents, our peers, the education system, religious authority figures, the media and popular culture, to name a few.
The problem with limiting beliefs is that they are one of the biggest sources of negative thinking which, in turn, leads to negative emotions. If we are able to identify and remove or rewrite our limiting beliefs, we could eliminate the negative thoughts they lead to and, thus, eliminate this source of negative emotions.
The first step is to identify our limiting beliefs. The way we identify limiting beliefs is through a recurrent pattern of personal challenges that we have dealt with or a recurrent pattern of negative thoughts that we suffer from. For example, if your are a victim of serial relationships which only last a few months before they dissolve you may have a limiting belief around the ability to find love or whether or not you deserve love.
Once you are able to identify a limiting belief you then need to go through the process of eliminating and rewriting that limiting belief. The way to do this is to first ask yourself is there any truth to your limiting belief? For example, if you believe that you can never find love, you can dispel this belief by realizing the times in your life that you have been in a loving relationship, even if it were only brief. If this is not true then identify the close, loving friendships that you currently have in your life.
When you prove to yourself that there is no truth to your limiting belief, you then need to find an alternate meaning to your limiting belief. For example, for the limiting belief that you can never find love, one alternate meaning could be that you are seeking love from the wrong person. Another alternate meaning is what you think is love is actually just a codependency relationship where you and the other person just use each other for selfish needs such as money or sex. Another alternate meaning for this limiting belief is that there is something about love that you have yet to learn and understand.
Once you are able to find an alternate meaning to your limiting belief you then need to reframe your limiting belief into an empowering belief. For example, for the limiting belief, I can never find love, you would reframe this into I can and will find true love. You then need to embody this empowering belief by taking action on it.
For example, in order to embody the empowering belief that you can and will find true love, you may want to reassess who you are seeking relationships with and whether these people are truly compatible with you. You may want to look for people who have similar interests and hobbies as you. You may want to seek counsel from your friends who you are close to and know you well. You may also want to start taking risks and talking with more people in any place you frequent whether it is the supermarket or the gym. You have nothing to lose by doing this because your motive is only to strike up a friendly conversation.
In summary, you can master your emotions which arise from your negative thinking by identifying the limiting beliefs which are the source of those negative thoughts and eliminating and rewriting them into empowering beliefs that you take action on. In the next blog, I’ll discuss the emotions that arise out of daily life circumstances which you seem to have no control over.
Nauman Naeem MD