“Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.” John Wooden on Self-Control
I’ll admit that the Baby Boomer in me was annoyed by Coach Wooden’s admonition to practice self-control by keeping emotions under control. After all, the whole emotional thing was one of the things that caused a big rift between our generation and our parents’ generation. We wanted to feel our emotions instead of just “sucking it up.” But, as I dug deeper, I realized that he wasn’t telling us to be robots. He was telling us to avoid emotional drama–the peaks and the valleys–so that we can be successful. We can’t always control what happens to us but we can take precautions so that we are prepared when things happen. And, more importantly, we can almost always control how we react to situations. Optimists are generally healthier, happier, and more successful than pessimists. Remember, optimism isn’t “fake happy” but rather an attitude.
I used to have friends who were drama queens. There was no middle ground when it came to emotions. Everything was either over-the-top happy or life-isn’t-worth-living-anymore depressing (Note: I’m not talking about those with bi-polar disorder). Drama queens suck the life out of other people with their runaway emotions. When I began disengaging myself from their drama, I discovered that they weren’t really attached to me…just my energy. They found new people to suck into their runaway-drama-filled-emotions.
As homemakers, we set the emotional tone for the family. I believe it is important for us to feel our emotions but not let them control us. When our emotions control us, we aren’t able to see a situation clearly and often make poor decisions that we end up regretting (and, believe me, I’ve got my fair share of regrets caused by out of control emotions). By being in charge of our emotions, we can help those around us learn how to cope and deal with negative emotions while also helping them realize that we don’t feel happy, happy, joy, joy all of the time (despite what advertisers would have us believe).
This campy little Coronet Educational Film, from 1950, teaches teenagers that they can be in charge of their emotions rather than letting runaway emotions ruin their day. It is based on Behaviorism but, even though I’m in the Cognition camp, I think it holds some valuable gems.
Control Your Emotions (13 minutes)