Podcast Episode 35 – Your Emotions Are Yours

Jul 1, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 35 Your Emotions Are Yours.  

DIANA: Hey. Hey. How are you doing today? I’m swell. Are you swell? Uh, I was doing so good rationalizing the craziness of 2020, but lately, I have to admit, it’s been hitting a little close to home. Many of my close friends have been having struggles and tragedies lately. I mean, it’s a, uh, crazy year. You all and I care so deeply about these friends, so I’ve been grieving for their grief. Does that make sense? I love them, and they’re hurting and grieving, and so I’m grieving because they’re in pain. It’s just a tough year, and I guess that’s what I have to say about that. We just keep going, though, right? 


Life is easy, and then other times it’s hard. Part of it’s amazing, and part of it is not so amazing. Sometimes it goes smooth. Other times it’s rough. That’s just how it goes. It’s the human experience, and no one escapes it. But we can feel the discomfort and have joy and peace because God’s in control. So there you have it. It’s possible. There is joy that we can embrace at all times. We can set our sights on it. We need to we need to look for it and take responsibility for bringing joy into our lives. And that kind of flows right into what I’m going to be talking about today. Your emotions, they’re yours, right? Your emotions are yours. Doesn’t that seem obvious? I know, Diana. My emotions are mine. If I feel sad, I’m, um, the one feeling it. And I know you’re kind of agreeing with me right now, but a lot of you aren’t taking responsibility for your own emotions. A lot of us go around passing out responsibility for our emotions to all the people around us. If my boss is nice today, then I’ll feel happy at work. But if my boss isn’t nice, I’m going to feel crappy. If my child behaves, I’ll feel peace. If my child doesn’t behave, I’ll feel annoyed. If my mom says nice things about me, I’ll feel confident. But if she’s critical, I’ll, uh, feel inadequate. 


These are the kind of examples I’m talking about, where we are taking responsibility for our emotions, and we’re handing it off to other people, wanting them to behave a certain way for us to feel what we want to feel. All of these examples give responsibility to everyone else in the way they behave, being the reason for us getting to feel what we feel. When I ask my clients how they’d feel, if someone they loved expected them to behave a certain way in order for them to be happy, I m ask them how it would make them feel and they say they’d feel used. And yet this is exactly what we’re expecting other people to do for us. Or even if we don’t realize we’re expecting it, maybe it looks like we’re kind of bouncing around in life where our emotions are just reacting to what everyone else is doing, how they’re behaving, and we blame it on them and we’re not taking responsibility for our own emotions. I used to tell people that when my marriage was good, then I was good. And if my marriage struggled, then it felt like everything in life was hard. I thought this way for years. I thought it was a good way to think. I thought it was a way to show that my marriage was a priority. 


That the way I had a relationship with my husband was so important that it could affect how I felt day to day. That how he behaved and how we behaved with each other was determining whether I was going to be content or discouraged. I used to tell him he was my everything. I mean, for years, for the first 20 years of our marriage. I’m like you’re my everything. And it seemed so romantic. But this kind of interdependence was not helping our marriage at all. It makes for good books and movies. But what it was really doing for me and my marriage was putting my emotional state into the hands of my husband. Essentially, I was giving up control of how I felt. My emotions were now at the mercy of his behavior. I was making him responsible for my happiness, but also my misery. This way was never going to allow me to feel peace and joy continually. It was a roller coaster ride. And then we went in and out of counseling. And so often the counselors are telling us we need to learn what our spouse’s needs are. And then we got to meet the need. And we tried. We tried and we tried. I made sure he knew what my needs were. And I also made sure to let him know when he failed to meet them. And he was doing the same thing for me. 


We kept trying to make the other person happy, and we kept feeling responsible for the other person’s emotions. And then we would hold the other person responsible for our own emotions. But all we did was go deeper and deeper into resentment and misery. I made him responsible for making me happy. I made him responsible for my sadness and frustration. I made him responsible for all of my feelings. And I was trying to manage him and control him like a puppet so I could feel good. It seems so twisted when I look back on it. You know, it would have been a lot quicker it would have been a lot quicker if I would take him out as the middleman and I could just be responsible for my own emotions. I didn’t, though. I, uh, just kept trying to control him. I wanted to inspire him to act in ways that would produce the feelings that I wanted to feel and I thought I was doing in a loving way. But I would tell him what to do, and I’d tell him what not to do. And if he didn’t comply, I’d be mad or hurt or sad or frustrated. And I’d tell myself, he must not care. He must not care about me. Uh, does that sound familiar? So much drama. And it’s not just marriage. 


We do this in so many relationships. With all the drama, my feelings were going up and down depending on what he’d say and what he’d do. And I’d blame him if he didn’t do it right. I told him he was the problem. He did the same thing for me, telling me I was the problem and we were headed for divorce. We never got there, but the GPS was headed that way. That is the road we were on. And we were so consumed with our emotions being the other person’s responsibility, we were so frustrated when they didn’t get it. It was some mess. What finally got us out of it is when I did take my husband out of being the middleman, and I started owning my own thoughts and my emotions, they were mine. I stopped making my husband responsible for how I was feeling. And you know what was funny is even though I thought he was responsible for my feelings, I was really the one responsible for them all the time anyway. Nobody really has control over our emotions. We do. It was the way I was thinking about it that made it seem like he was responsible for my emotions. 


Think about it this way. If my son cleans his room, I can feel peace. If my son doesn’t clean his room, I will feel frustrated. It seems like his behavior is responsible for my emotions, but it’s not. I am. If my son cleans his room, I will allow myself to think that everything is in order and I can feel peace. But if my son doesn’t clean his room, my brain thinks, this is not okay. He should be behaving differently. And I feel frustrated. It might still seem like his behavior is in charge of my emotions there, but it’s not. It’s what I’m thinking about the situation, whether if he cleans his room, I have a thought. If he doesn’t clean his room, I have a thought. And it’s actually possible for me to step in and not allow my thought to go to a default thought about his room not being clean and how it’s not okay. I don’t have to think it’s not okay. I can step in and I can interrupt that. I don’t have to think it should be different. I can think that everything is as it should be and feel peace whether his room is clean or not. Seriously, let’s not put my teenage son in charge of my brain, right? And think about that. 


With your relationships, do you want to turn over your brain and your emotions to your kid? Do you want to turn over your thought and your emotions to your spouse? Do you want to turn over your mind and your emotions to your boss? Do you want to turn over your brain and your emotions to your mom? Do you want them to be in charge? If not, who is the best person to be in charge of your emotions? Who knows you best? Who has your best interest in mind? Most of the time? You do. You do. It’s your job. Your emotions are yours. They’re your responsibility. For me, I was miserable. I was so tired of having everyone else in charge of my emotions. It wasn’t working. And by the way, I don’t think it was fair for me to expect all these people to take care of my emotional well being. Like, hey, person, I want to feel happy today. So you’re going to need to behave in a way that matches my preferences so I can be okay. All right. Got it. When we do that, we’re trying to manipulate everyone else’s behavior for our own benefit. Can you see how that is problematic? And if they’re trying to do it back at us, I mean, it’s this back and forth recipe for disaster. 


Nobody wants to be a chess piece in your game of life. You don’t want to be a chess piece in their game of life. I know you don’t want to be used by someone else just so they can feel better. They don’t want that either for me, finally, I was just tired of it when I realized I needed to stop making everyone else responsible for my emotions. It was when I was in the middle of working on getting a, uh, college degree. I was studying communication psychology. Then I added my life coach certification. And through all of it, something finally clicked. I’m like, uh oh, I need to take responsibility for my emotions. I get to manage my thoughts. I can drop my expectations, and I can stop requiring my husband to meet my needs or other people to meet my needs. And I can release myself from meeting my husband’s needs or other people’s needs. I know some of you might be saying, like, say what? We don’t have to meet each other’s needs, and I’m going to tell you what I mean by this, but ultimately, no, no, you don’t have to meet other people’s needs. This was magical for my marriage and my relationships with my kids. When I stopped trying to maneuver the people in my life to meet my needs and help me feel better. I was able to let go of frustration. I was able to let go of resentment. My relationships improved. Now, I’m not saying we stop caring about other people’s needs. I’m never saying that it’s great to care about other people’s needs. What I am saying is that we don’t have to try to meet every need of the people in our lives. It’s not our responsibility. It’s a privilege to do caring things and meet each other’s needs. But we can never meet the needs of somebody else. It’s not possible. We can’t meet them all. And when we hold ourselves responsible, we tie a whole bunch of emotions to it, and it becomes a burden. But when we’re not responsible to meet their needs, and we can just show up and do it out of love, oh, uh, that’s so good. When we release ourselves from that and decide to do things for other people because we care, because we have compassion, because they matter, and because we know they’ll benefit from it, and we don’t do it out of obligation or trying to control them, that’s freedom. It keeps us out of resentment. It keeps us responsible for our own emotions. And we can manage our own thoughts better and we can manage our own emotions better than anyone else can. 


Anyway, I’m the expert. On me. You’re the expert on you. I’m the one that has the power to help me feel better, and you’re the one that has the power to help you feel better. When I was feeling miserable all the time, that was on me. I m was miserable in my marriage not because of how my husband was behaving. I was miserable because of my thoughts. All right, example time. I always say, I’m going to give you example when I’ve already given some examples. But here’s a very specific example. Okay, ready? Here we go. I learned two months after I left a job that my boss thought I had lied to her. And when I found out when my eyes were actually reading the words in an email and my brain became aware of it, I felt disappointment. I thought, how could she think that? I thought we had a trusting relationship. I’m wrong, I guess. I guess I’m wrong. We don’t have a trusting relationship. That’s when I felt disappointed when I read the email. And then I had the thought I thought we had a trusting relationship, but I guess I was wrong. That is when I felt disappointed while I was still working. She had thought I was lying. I just didn’t know it m she was thinking it. Yet I didn’t feel any disappointment. I only felt disappointed when I learned she thought this. 


That is when my brain produced thoughts about the situation. My disappointment was on me. My boss didn’t do disappointment to me. Okay, m so back to marriage or my marriage or your marriage or any other relationship where you think the other person is making you feel something. The truth is, any feelings you are having are coming from your thoughts about the situation or about them, or about yourself. Your feelings are not being created by the other person. Feelings are called feelings because we have a, uh, physiological manifestation or experience in our physical being of emotions that are created by thoughts we’re having in our brain. Okay? They can’t be created by the other person. So now this realization is your new superpower, if you want to try it. You do not need to change how the other person is acting to feel better. You only need to change how you’re thinking. You have the power to change how you feel. The other person’s off the hook. And this makes it a lot easier for you, too. You don’t need to try to change or control the other person. Isn’t that a relief? Now, actually, changing your thoughts is kind of like the next step. I don’t necessarily recommend you start there, but I want you to know you have the ability to change your thoughts in order to feel better. The first step in taking responsibility for your feelings is just to start being aware. Watch what’s going on in your brain. Notice what you’re thinking about the other person, and then notice what you feel when you think that thought. Or if you aren’t sure what you’re thinking, but you’re observing how you feel. Notice what emotion you’re feeling. When you give yourself a chance to notice what you’re feeling, it’s a lot easier to back it up and see what thought might be tied to that feeling. And you don’t even need to change anything in this first step of awareness. And for Pete’s sake, do not judge yourself when you realize how you’re thinking. A lot of times when I share this with people, they’re like, now I just feel terrible because of my thoughts and I shouldn’t think this way, and I shouldn’t feel this way. No, stop judging you. Just be nice to you. We’re noticing. We’re paying attention. You’re a human. Notice it. Notice what your brain does. Notice how it thinks. Notice how it affects how you feel. No judgment. You’re just a human. And you don’t have to try to take it to the next step, but maybe you will want to try and change your thought, and you can see what that does for you. This is one of the most practical tools I teach. Owning our emotions and seeing how our thoughts are tied to it, releasing everybody else from it and just taking charge. 


So I hope that helps you a lot. And if you are looking for more practical steps that you can take to start managing your mind and emotions, I am here for you. You can go back and listen to all the other podcast episodes. If you haven’t listened to them all, there’s a lot of good stuff in them. But you can also sign up to get my weekly mind management tips. I call it thinking on a Thursday. I send one email on Thursday. It’s a weekly email. It comes right to your inbox with some easy steps where you can just get started on tweaking your thinking. That means you can start feeling better right away. You can have more peace and more joy. You don’t have to do it alone. I’m right here to help you every step of the way. So make sure you go over to Rympodcast.com. You can scroll all the way to the bottom. It’s a short page, so quick scroll and it says weekly Mind Management Tips. Enter your first name and your email and I’ll send you your first email right away. Let me wrap it up with this. Take responsibility for your own emotions so you can let go of, uh, frustration and resentment. Take responsibility for your own emotions, and you can take back control of how you feel day to day. Take responsibility for your own emotions and get access to more contentment, more peace, and more hope in your life. And I’m so glad you are here with me and have joined me on this renew your Mind movement. Together, we’re going to start feeling better. All right? Okay, you all, that’s it for today. I will catch you next week. Take care of you. 


As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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