REACT… FEELINGS: to each their own

Who hasn’t heard or said this?

Don’t make me angry!

You are making me sad!

She made me furious! 

You make me so happy!

We live and grow thinking we have a say in what others feel…

That we are responsible in part for their mood and reactions to what we say and do… which, in turn, makes us hypervigilant/paranoid of the other person’s body language, along with their words of course… 

Thanks to the wonderful combination of all I’ve read and listened to, I’ve learned that whatever we feel and however we react is our personal choice and responsibility… 

How wonderfully liberating is this?! It was for me…

To know that I do not need to carry the burden of keeping everyone happy and content was interesting to hear but so good to finally understand…Nobody makes you Angry you decide to use anger as a response

Of course, that you might get it and let go of it doesn’t mean the other person will be on the same wave length. You know what I’m talking about, because up to now, it has been quite comfortable (though they don’t even see it) to disengage from their feelings knowing someone will be there to face the responsibility and be accountable for them.

They have seen you run up and down, worry yourself into a headache, bend over backwards just to see them smile once…

However, when you are the one disengaging, you suddenly realize that you aren’t as bad as their reactions make you feel, uuummm, let me rephrase, as your lack of self-confidence makes you believe…

It becomes this sick two-way street that feels like a one way road to relationship hell…

Back to the liberating part of this 🙂

Yay, letting go of any misunderstood accountability is, besides liberating, destabilizing to the other person in the mix…

They are up to their eyeballs in a fit and you keep living life as previously scheduled, how dare you?!… which puts them in a much more sour mood, they are left to their own devices in dealing with this tantrum…

Am I making any sense? I know you had already heard about this many times, but do you believe it? do you practice it? have you let go of your significant other’s emotional state as another of your chores/worries?

I recently found myself saying this to several of my students in reference to different relationships in their lives:

– a mom’s reaction at daughter speaking openly about her feelings on her (the mom’s) new relationship

– a girl opening up to another girl about her romantic feelings

– a boy expressing his discomfort to a teacher at the way a complicated topic was approached in class

All of them were worried about “what they (teacher, mom, girl) would think”, “how they would react”…

It is very important to understand that we are solely responsible for what comes out of our mouths, taking  care of our discourse, making it logical, based on respect, coming from the heart, searching for balance, neutral ground: responsible self-expression… but the responsibility stops there, whatever happens in the listeners head, however they choose to interpret or, sadly, misinterpret is for them to carry and ultimately solve…

I’ve found that the most defensive people have often found someone willing to play the part of the offender

I wish more people carried their own emotional load…

I have stopped mysf in time and rephrased when I’m about to drop any of these unfair statements on my children. You know, that’s where it all starts…

As an example, Sofía and Pablo have this terrible way of making any car trip a memorable one by bickering all the way… so, now instead of threatening them with “You are making me angry and when we get home…” now I just tell them the effects of their attitude on themselves and their relationship, plus, last time I added, “as long as you keep acting out this way when we are together in an enclosed space, elevator, car, etc… I will avoid risking this happening on an airplane, so start considering making changes or there will be only mom and dad vacations” DEAD SILENCE FOLLOWED… I did not mention feelings, only consequences to their unpleasant behavior…aaaaand, I consciously protected myself from letting that uncomfortable situation alter my mood… I discovered I owned and was in “control” of my feelings (quotation marks because, really, are we ever in control of our feelings? do we want to be fully in control of them? … now that’s a whole other topic)

So, letting go of the responsibility of others feelings is LIBERATING and EMPOWERING!

Try it and please let me know how it went and how magically delicious you felt! 🙂

xo lovely people

p.s. more links to read on the topic:

and many more by typing in your favorite browser: you are not responsible for others feelings


10 responses to “REACT… FEELINGS: to each their own

  1. Thank YOU Karen! I’m glad I could offer some worthwhile food for thought… it’s complicated to say “it bothers me” without it sounding like “it’s all about me” which only fuels our teenagers’ natural self-centered phase… xo to you my dear friend!!

  2. Alexandra, I need to practice this more often, especially with my sons. We have the same kind of bickering in the car, and I’ll have to think of some meaningful consequences and take the feelings out of it. Thanks for the helpful advice! 🙂
    All the best to you,

  3. Thanks Teecee! …”have you ever asked yourself why the hot tempered man always responds with a temper and the calm man always responds calmly?” Because they have not considered the possibility of having some say over their reactions… the thing is, even the word REACTION seems like it’s something immediate that should not be tampered with, it’s like INERTIA, not to be questioned or altered… I feel a whole lot of mindfulness- conscious effort, as you very well put it- does help alleviate these habits we learned from childhood… Oh, I feel so energized when I am able to write something that makes sense and resonates, specially with an intelligent and positive person like yourself my dear friend… KAIZEN!! (my new mantra) so lovely to read you, huge hug to you

  4. Hi Mati! I had to go back and reread to understand what you meant… definitely, from my experience, few think, apply or even know about this “right” they have to only be responsible and accountable for their own feelings… Oh, it also took me years to be completely mindful of my reactions and to be able to step back, reassess and rephrase, and, in all truth, there are moments I do play that card, knowing fully the effects it’ll have of manipulation…for example with my students when they turn in a less than worthy assignment I say, “do you really want me to think less of your abilities, do you want me to think you are mediocre?” … of course, they can’t control my concept of them, I have to go beyond but I put it up for them to see clearly how their work does not measure up to their potential… thanks for dropping by Mati

  5. Awesome thoughts, Alexandria!
    So beautifully portrayed.
    Our reactions to our circumstances are completely our responsibilities.
    Habits may have made us loose consciousness of how our thoughts trigger our emotions, but have you ever asked yourself why the hot tempered man always responds with a temper and the calm man always responds calmly?
    We have nurtured ourselves to respond by reflex in certain particular manner.
    It takes a conscious effort to re-engineer our minds as you are doing, to right a wrong that took our entire life to nuture.
    I’m so happy you made this discovery and I hope that you practice to reap it’s beautiful fruits.
    I’m with you all the way!
    Longest time, my dear friend. This is quite a lovely and refreshing post!

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