From the desk of Harsh Strongman
Subj: Don’t become a slave to your feelings
I recently got married and was flying from the honeymoon back to the city.
On the plane, there was a lady who was flying with her daughter. The lady had apparently pre-booked a fruit meal instead of the regular meal.
Unfortunately, on the flight – they were out of fruit meals on the flight and the lady went… insane.
She was pissed off at the air hostesses, at her daughter, and kept doing back and forth with the staff asking “where’s my meal huh?”.
This was a long flight and she spent most of it being mad at the staff and her daughter because she didn’t get to eat fruits.
The air hostesses kept apologizing and explaining the situation to her but she wouldn’t have any of it. She refused replacement meals from the available options and just refused to be consoled.
Imagine being pissed off for hours and hours because there wasn’t any fruit on a flight.
The lady made such a fuss over not getting food of her choice that the staff gave her some fruits from their own crew meals. When this happened the lady felt so humiliated by her own actions that she didn’t eat it.
It was hilarious to see someone get so upset for hours and hours (and ruin their own day) over fruit. At the same time I felt bad for the daughter who has to deal with her tantrums regularly.
Do Not Become A Slave To Your Emotions
Your emotions do not exist to be indulged in like a drug.
If you feel pissed off, it does not mean you need to act pissed off. If you feel angry, it does not mean you need to act angry.
A lot of people like this lady let themselves get swept away by the momentum of their emotions and make mountains out of molehills.
Once you let your emotions decide your actions – you will do things that are absurd for the situation and look like a clown to everyone around you. You will lose dignity, authority, and respect.
It is very easy to keep regurgitating your emotions over and over again and indulge in whatever you’re feeling, especially if you think you’ve been wronged. But you must remember that by replaying the scenario over and over again, you are making it a bigger deal than it is and it will make you react inappropriately.
You must remember to stop yourself (yes it takes awareness) if you find yourself replaying an emotional scenario in your head over and over again to feel the emotion of the moment because your emotions are evolutionary guidance not a mandate to behave a certain way.
Humans evolved emotions to survive across the millennia. You see a dark dingy isolated cave and feel fear. You don’t enter and you don’t get eaten by whatever lives inside it. Pretty simple.
Your emotions are meant to serve you. You are not meant to serve your emotions like a slave.
Use Emotions to Serve You
What was this lady planning to achieve by becoming so upset over not getting her fruit meal?
Will her being mad somehow make a plate of fruit appear in the plane? No.
Will her being mad make anything better? No.
So what’s the point other than getting the nice feeling of being able to scream at some poor waitress who wasn’t even responsible for the problem? None.
You must understand that every time you show your emotions, it should have some use.
Always be aware of what you want. If showing your emotions (anger, etc.) help you get what you want, then feel free to use it. If not, you’re wasting your energy bro.
Positive and Negative Anger
(Know When To Be Angry and When Not To)
I was at a hotel and I’d ordered some food to my room. 1 hour goes by and there’s no food in the room yet. I call the manager and act pissed off. The manager goes to the kitchen and my food is there in 2 minutes. In this case, me being pissed off got me what I wanted.
Likewise, a kid is failing his exams – it is smart to act angry even if you’re not angry just to instill some fear in the kid and make him study harder.
Another situation. I was traveling with my wife and she lost a bag full of stuff we’d bought.
My first instinct was to be annoyed at her. But what was the point in that? It wasn’t going to bring the bag back. Just because I wanted to be annoyed does not mean I should be annoyed.
She already felt guilty about losing the bag, so instead of getting angry, I acted rationally and told her to be more careful next time. I didn’t get upset. Everyone loses stuff from time to time. The important thing is to be careful the next time so it doesn’t happen again.
I got what I wanted – she was much more careful from then on and appreciated me more for not being mad at her. I could have gotten mad but what would it achieve? She already felt guilty about losing the bag.
Now of course, if she kept losing stuff over and over again I’d need to show some anger to drive home the point that it’s important to take care of your stuff. In that case, being angry would be of use to me.
But given that it was a one time thing, not acting annoyed was the appropriate thing to do.
Reacting over inconsequential things adds up
All the examples I gave you are reactions over small “inconsequential” things and that is because life is full of small inconsequential things that add up.
Reacting emotionally over inconsequential stuff over and over (across months and years) is usually what kills love and affection. I know people who won’t even call their parents because “every time I speak to them, they’ll find something to nag me about”.
A friend of mine moved to a different city simply because she didn’t want to live with her family anymore. She’s 28 and her parents would ask her little things like what she ate and would get upset if it was even remotely unhealthy.
What was the outcome of her parents reacting emotionally over little things over and over again? The daughter just learned how to lie to them convincingly. And eventually just moved to a different place.
Same thing applies across all relationships. If a woman is too unpleasant to be around, their husbands just start spending more and more time at the office away from them. A boss that gets mad over little things will see his best employees quit to more peaceful shores.
Wisdom is in knowing how and how much to react over a situation. And knowing that not all things merit a response.
Getting What You Want Instead of an Ego Trip
In all situations, you have to be aware of what outcome you want. You have to act such that you get the outcome you want to get. Sometimes being angry is useful, sometimes it’s counterproductive. It depends on the situation.
Letting your rational side get lost in a torrent of emotion will nearly always lead to you doing or saying things that you will regret doing or saying.
You never want to act wildly just because your ego is hurt and you’re pissed off. If you get pissed off and feel a real good power/ego trip but don’t actually get what you wanted from the situation – you LOST.
It might be hard to control your instinctive emotional reaction to a situation, but it pays off a lot to be able to do it.
The more collected and composed you are (especially when everyone around you is getting out of control), the better you will be able to handle any situation that comes your way.
In summary –
1) Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean you have to act that way.
2) You have to keep in mind what you get from the emotions you show. Sometimes it benefits you, and other times letting your emotions show up in your behavior is a total liability.
3) Keep in mind what you want from each situation. This lets you rationally decide how to behave. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll let your emotions dictate your behavior.
4) Repeated emotional reactions over inconsequential stuff kills love and affection. Stop nagging people you care about and let people live their life how they want.
Hope this helps.