Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Finding Freedom From My Emotions

I just finished reading Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. I checked it out from the library because I had heard good things about the author but I wasn't sure how applicable the book would be. I'm not a particularly emotional person, at least not outwardly emotional. However, in the book she talked about the various ways we deal with emotions (stuffing or spewing) and I was able to see how I tend to process emotions.

I liked that she acknowledged that we are not necessarily always a stuffer or always a spewer. How we react can depend on the situation or the relationship we have with the person in the difficult, emotion raising moment.

Lysa stated that the goal is not perfection - never losing our cool, never lashing out and hurting others, never stuffing our emotions down to keep the peace but feeling bitterness rise within us. Her goal is imperfect progress. It is growing in managing our emotions with rationality, peace and wisdom. It's getting out of our immediate feelings to gain perspective on what may be underneath the emotions.

I was very skeptical about the book but was very pleasantly surprised. Her words gave me a lot to think about in my relationships with my family and friends and how I tend to deal with uncomfortable emotions. I liked the reminder that emotions are external signs of internal issues.
Image courtesy of Mr Lightman at
I have also been reading Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and I feel like these two books are related. Boundaries talks some about not giving others control of how we feel. Others can't MAKE us feel angry. We have to choose to feel emotions and deal with it by changing our circumstances (preventing an undesirable action or event to occur that causes us feel negative emotions). We cannot ever change another person, only our response to others.

Some of this really resonates with me. I have a tendency to think that I am not living up to others' expectations and then feel guilty. This is my own negative thinking. I am allowing myself to feel guilty. I can choose to ask the other person about their expectations rather than project what I think their expectations might be. It can save a lot of anxiety. Thinking more about what words and actions stir up my emotions can help me address them for clarity. I can ask what someone meant rather than thinking the worst. It is encouraging and freeing to me.

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