We all realize that different emotions tend to get us to react to different situations in various ways. At times it’s these emotions that could be stopping you from living your dreams. We allow them to become so controlling that it stops us from thinking or responding in a productive way.
Emotions are learned responses to memories. Let’s talk about how distressing memories can stifle your development and growth. A memory of a bad experience or action from your past could affect you today.
How do we break through this mental conditioning? How do we grow and develop beyond painful experiences if we bury them in our subconscious and don’t take the time to understand how they influence our lives? How do we change and grow so that we can live our dreams?
The first step is to break the hold of these debilitating influences from the past. Why are these memories so powerful Studies suggests that we recall bad memories more easily and in greater detail than good ones for perhaps evolutionary reasons? Researchers say negative emotions like fear and sadness trigger increased activity in a part of the brain linked to memories.
- Recognize them and then either get rid of them or turn them into a positive force that pushes you ahead rather than holds you back.
- Did someone hurt your feelings? Forgive them and forget it. Move on. Did someone punish you unfairly? It’s over. It’s done. Move forward stop looking in the rearview mirror you are not headed that way.
Here are a few of the most common emotions that burrow into the subconscious and impede our growth as individuals:
Anger: This is a natural response to a perceived attack or injury. It makes energy flow. But when allowed to simmer, it depletes energy that could be used to improve your life. If you hold your anger for more than a week, it is only hurting you. Make yourself let go. Envision yourself throwing it out. Ease your mind. Transform your anger into positive motivation. Don’t get mad, get motivated.
Revenge: The first cousin of anger. It also robs you of strength in the long run. The person who has injured you has probably gone on with life; so should you. Don’t let the injury hurt you further by impeding your growth. Lose it or use it. Instead of saying, “I’ll get them,” say, “I’ll show them, or even better “I’ll use that episode to develop myself!”
Sadness: This is more crippling than anger because it drains you from the start, sapping your will to go on. You probably will have to let this drain away slowly at its own pace. Time heals, but if the sadness seems to linger, consciously force it out. Seek out things that make you laugh and feel positive about life. Realize that feeling sad will not change anything. It’s appropriate to feel sadness but don’t let it become despair.
Resentment: Life is not always fair. It is unrealistic to feel any other way, and holding on to resentment is no way to fight back. Accept that we are not all the same with the same circumstances, opportunities, skills, or even wants. What someone else has, gets or experiences does not need to stop you from living your dreams.
Guilt: Guilt is another emotion that stands between you and your dreams. All of us have done things we feel bad about and regret. Things we would do differently. Many of us carry that guilt around and it keeps us from moving forward. Don’t let people put you on a guilt trip. Say to yourself when someone is putting you on the defensive, “No matter what you do or say to me, I am still a worthwhile person.” I have made mistakes in the past but I will learn, grow and move on even if someone else won’t. That may be more about them than you.
Take Control of your Emotions
To rid yourself of these past emotions, put them in a perspective that is positive rather than negative and thereby cut off their painful roots in your subconscious. Reinterpret the past with these methods: Get better, not bitter.
Find a quiet, comfortable place. Sit back and relax. Think about something or someone who caused you pain or disappointment. Now take a mental step back from that feeling and the situation. Assess it. Did the emotions that resulted make you stronger? Did they give you determination? Can you use those memories to empower you rather than drain you? Why let them hurt you further?
When you start to feel these emotions that could be stopping you from living your dreams. Practice gaining control over them by doing the following:
- Recognize when it’s happening
- Reframe the memory as a lesson learned
- Take the time to think about why you are reacting a certain way
- Make a conscious plan to react differently
Most people can’t let go of the past because they don’t appreciate their present. Reframing our relationship with our past requires us to stop thinking of how things should be and accept them for what they are. As Dalai Lama said, “Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”
Take control of your emotions to take control of your goals.
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