“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
Leonardo da Vinci
If there is one determinant of success, what would that be?
Well, all three are definitely critical in helping you achieve your goals. But the one thing takes precedence over willpower, grit and perseverance is your ability to manage your emotions.
Emotions are a necessary part of your daily existence. Being able to handle your emotions calmly and being in control of your behavior will mean that you can manage adversities, maintain healthy relationships and more likely to do well in life.
Managing your emotions and assuming full control of it can be tough at times. Many people struggle with this. They let others take control of their emotions.
Have you ever said something when you are in a fit of rage and later regretted?
Or in a moment of emotional high, you made a promise only to realize later that you could not fulfill it?
When someone else makes you feel upset, guilty, angry or inadequate – then it is a sign that everyone (except you) is running your emotions. If this is the case with your life right now, then it is time to make a decision to take control of your emotions instead of letting it take control of you.
Fortunately, how you handle your emotions is a matter of choice. With practice and dedication, you can master and regulate your own emotions. By gaining mastery over of your own emotions, you (and not someone else) will be the one pushing your own buttons.
Now, what does it means to achieve “emotional mastery”?
It is the ability to understand and control your emotions, respond positively to negative emotions and to steer your feelings to help you overcome all of life’s challenges. Gaining control of your emotions can enhance your life in these major areas:
Your emotional finesse will help you express yourself better and have a better understanding of others’ feelings. This leads to lasting and healthy relationships established by your ability to communicate effectively.
The workplace can be a jungle if you are not able to steer your way through all that social complexity. A socially adept individual is one that has mastered his or her emotions and will be able to motivate, lead and inspire his or her way to a successful career.
When you are in control emotionally, you are also keeping your mental health in check. Resilience to emotional challenges keeps your immune system strong and less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression.
Emotional mastery, one step beyond emotional self-control, is when you masterfully turn your emotions into something resourceful – no matter what the situation is like. The journey to emotional mastery begins with a deep understanding of your own emotions. With that you can respond to any emotional experience appropriately.
If you have consistently struggling to keep your emotions under control and it has been affecting your career, relationship and wellbeing…
…then one of the most valuable skill that you can develop in your life is the ability to control your emotions. The first step towards control is an awareness of how your emotions work. A good way to get started on this journey is getting familiar with 3 emotional mastery secrets.
I call these the best kept secrets to emotional mastery because, although these bits of information are readily available, they seem so obviously simple that not many would think that these are the keys to mastering your emotions.
As humans, we cannot help but attach meaning to our life experience, relationships and anything we come across. Self-help guru Tony Robbins once said “The meaning you attach to something produces the emotion of your life and your emotion is your life.”
This means we attach meaning to our emotional experiences. So, in order for you to feel good about an emotion, all you need to do is give that emotion a meaning that will empower you.
Since you have the power to attach a meaning to events, experiences and interactions in your life, you can choose to give them meaning of a positive and negative nature. The choice is yours.
You cannot control what’s going on in the world around you. The only thing you can control is your reaction to those events. When you have a firm grasp on this, you will realize that HOW you respond to the events that is happening around you is the key mastering your emotions.
All your emotions stem from your thoughts. Pay close attention to it and you will realize that it is your response to any event, words or the environment that determines your mood. No one can put you in a state of misery, make you angry or get you all stressed up without your (subconscious mind’s) permission.
It is your response to another person’s act, behavior or words that contributes to the state of mind you are in. Someone can “invite” you to feel angry. Then, he or she have to say or act in a certain way to make you think angry thoughts.
There will definitely be people out there who can create a strong catalyst to incite a feeling of anger in you. But the onus will be on you to respond in a way that will yield a positive outcome for you.
“A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”
If you want to master your emotions and your life, just bear in mind that change comes from within. It all begins with your thoughts.
Thinking is crucial for your emotional state. Your thoughts will directly influence how you feel. And how you feel will influence your behavior and therefore your results.
Since your thoughts directly influences your results in life, would it not be prudent to train your mind to recognize unhealthy thought patterns? Once you are aware as to how a certain thought affect your emotion and action, you can control your thoughts to give you the best possible outcome.
With adequate practice, you can identify thoughts that causes unwanted emotions. You can then shift those thoughts into something empowering or positive.
In short, you can “think” your way out of a bad feeling.
To sum it up, all emotions are equal. It is your thinking and your body’s reaction to an emotion that makes it different. You give meaning to it; you react to it and your thoughts influence it.
With these 3 secrets to emotional mastery, you would have realized that in the past, you responded unconsciously to a que from an event or environment or even from someone’s facial expression or body language.
This is concept from the field of psychology known as the stimulus-response theory. You are exposed to a stimulus (like a spoken word, gesture or facial que) and you had a response (emotions ranging from shock to surprise to disgust, for example).
With emotional mastery, you will be widening the space between stimulus and response. In the words of psychologist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl:
“In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Emotional mastery involves recalibrating your thoughts about the emotions that you are experiencing. In the past, you might have no idea why you feel the way you do. But now, with this new awareness, you will have better control over your emotions.
Thought patterns are your habitual thinking. If you have been thinking a certain way for a long time, chances are those thoughts are already hardwired into your subconscious.
Each time you experience a thought it triggers a specific emotion. With each repetition of this thought and emotion, it becomes a pattern and over a period of time, it becomes a habit. Then it gets ingrained into your subconscious mind.
Once the thought gets ingrained into your subconscious mind, it becomes your belief. And your life will be guided by that belief which will eventually dictate your emotions, actions and behaviors.
So, in order for you to change your results, you got to change your behavior. And to change your behavior, you need to change your action, which stem from your emotions. That is why it is so crucial to your life that you gain mastery over your emotions.
The first step to emotional mastery is to manage your thoughts. To get you started, here is a short relaxation exercise which will help you reprogram your thoughts at the subconscious level.
Take a deep breath … allow yourself to feel calm and relaxed…just imagine that you are in your favorite place of relaxation…it could be the beach…at a park…or even in your living room…it is a safe secured place…a place that you can put your mind at ease…
And be aware of your thoughts…allow your mind to be filled with pleasant thoughts…nice thoughts where a calm and soothing feeling envelope you…and in this state of relaxation…
You are now aware that you are in control of your thoughts…because your thoughts can control your emotions…and positive emotions lead to empowering action…which will give you the positive results you want in your life…so that you may life a happy and fulfilling life…
You will also realize that negative emotions are not helpful … they are simply a waste of energy…only positive thoughts and feelings that will help you…allow your subconscious mind to accept…the fact that…by just changing the way you think about things…by creating positive thoughts…you can create your own happiness…
If you recall times in your life where you experience … anger … frustration … guilt … or jealousy…this is because you have allowed your emotions to be led by outside events or by the people around you…and now that you are aware that you are the master of your own emotions…
You will use this new found knowledge to become a better person…to become more effective…to be able to fulfill your dreams in life by thinking only positive and empowering thoughts…
Negative thoughts and negative feelings might have got a hold of you in the past…and they get in your way of moving forward…of making the most of your life…but you are free from these negative emotions now…they no longer have a hold on you…you are free…
Because you are the master of your emotions…you have power over them…and they do not have power over you…so whatever remaining unwanted emotions that you are holding on to …you can now let them go…… they have no place in your life…release those feelings and be free…
As you are in this calm state of relaxation…you will realize that your subconscious is helping you form positive thoughts and emotions …and it will keep prompting you in an empowering manner whenever you experience a negative thought … such as sadness…guilt…anger…fear … jealousy …you have a choice … you can control your thoughts … your feelings … and decide only to have good thoughts and positive emotions …
From now onwards… whenever you experience a negative emotion … your will immediately shift it into a positive thought…now…in that relaxed state…just allow your subconscious mind to help you gain mastery over your thoughts and emotions…
As you slowly emerge from this relaxed state…you will also emerge a new person…a person who can confidently take hold of your own emotions…because you know that with mastery over your thoughts…and mastery over your emotions…
You can achieve much more…at the count of 3…you will open your eyes…feeling safe…secure…confident…and from now on… in full control of your emotions.