choices
 
 

How to Manage Your Reactions

Our emotional distress can arise from our expectations of others. They can be spoken or unspoken. Either way, there is an expectation that is not being met leading to a disappointment.

BY DR. BOB MEISNER – AUGUST 6, 2019

 
 

To be alive is to have feelings and passions. Life has its thrills and chills. You can be excited, disappointed, elated and terrified. What makes life special is our feelings about things and other people.

Your feelings are a God-given gift. God designed your emotions to be a gauge or indicator for your life not as a guide. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions can give you a reading on where your “source” is because they are directly linked to what you believe and value. Emotions like delight, affection, fear, anger, joy, etc., are so important they reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears.

Our emotional distress can arise from our expectations of others. They can be spoken or unspoken. Either way, there is an expectation that is not being met leading to a disappointment.

In this series, we have been taking steps to better navigate our disappointments and to find harmony in our relationships. What leads to a land of suffering is when we hold to an offense and with our judgments, we attach a penalty. Our reactions are exactly that, “our reactions.” Guessing, “Why?” and passing judgement against the situation will lead you to react with your personal expression of disapproval. You may use one or more of these reactions (Harsh words, Resort to self-pity, Ignore you, With-holding, Moody, Bring up the past, etc.) believing they will give you the attention you deserve.

 
 
 

“You can't change what other people say or do, but you can change your reaction to them. You can own your piece of it. ”

 
 
 

If we look at some of our closet relationships... the ones with our parents, siblings, our close friends, our spouse, we can find examples of things they do or don’t do that have triggered us leading to repeated disappointments and even arguments. Holding on to these resentments have not served us well. Here is a suggestion for when you find yourself in a situation where you are angry and upset at someone, ask yourself these three important questions:

  1. Why is this situation so upsetting to me?

  2. What is my part in this?

  3. As a revealer, what is this really about for me?

Most of the time, whatever we are feeling is about us, our egos, the wounds of our past, the guilt we may feel about something, or simply our need to be "right". All of these are a thief to our happiness and peace that leave us in a state of conflict and suffering from the people we love most.

So, in your journey to wholeness, the next time your buttons are pushed - pause and take that deep breath. Bring it back to you and choose to live in harmony.

Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mindset, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble-minded. Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all.

Romans 12:16 (TPT)


What are you willing to own? 

What are you willing to let go of to end the conflict? 

You can't change what other people say or do, but you can change your reaction to them. You can own your piece of it. You can take personal responsibility and choose to not allow what they are saying or doing to upset you.

Consider the possibility of discovering things about yourself you didn't even know were there. God wants to heal the brokenness of your heart and it happens within relationships. The next time one of your buttons are pushed you can now see it as an opportunity to repent (change of thought and direction with the purpose to reconnect). You may even want to say "thank you". That person may end up being one of your greatest teachers.

So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.

Philippians 4:8 (TPT)

To hear more about this subject, listen to Ep. 13 (below) with Bob and Audrey in All About Relationships Podcast.