Deep Thoughts, Deep Breaths


I want to master the skill of making my own choice.

Or at least acknowledging my own choice. I think it will lead to less stress and greater happiness in the long run, because to an extent those things are a matter of choice. I tweeted over the weekend:

I got mad at Dirk today because he said people don’t have any choice in their emotions. In retrospect, I should’ve handled it differently…

In better context, my claim was that initial reactions can be dealt with through choices, with enough discipline and determination, and eventually a habit will form that changes emotional responses. Physiological responses tied together with emotions are hard to prevent, but easier to control afterwards – but how much easier depends on how well-trained you are to reason your way out of upset.

If you’re not getting what you want, change what you want. If something incessantly bothers you, change what you’re I demand retribution! for the minor inconvenience you have causedbothered by. This isn’t repressing things. It’s a systematic, deliberate process of self-discipline and taking responsibility for anything that provides you with any modicum of choice. Religions are based on this. It’s part of the Serenity Prayer. Even if you’re not a Buddhist or an alcoholic, you can take those lessons and apply them to your life.

So flick me in the temples if I complain about something that is easy to drop. And smack me if I blame other people for problems largely internal to me. Unless that person is Dirk. Blaming him isn’t a symptom of my emotional irresponsibility – it’s a hobby.


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