5 Reasons to Keep Your Emotions Under Control in Love Matters

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Recently, I watched Jill Scott’s Storytellers spot on Vh-1. Throughout the television special, Ms. Jill took me from wanting to light some candles and get the mood right to thinking of lighting a match and pulling a “waiting to exhale” on someone. And then, out of nowhere, I had an “Aha Moment” – emotions are best explored in music but not necessarily in everyday life.

While one of the purposes of music is to help the listener explore a range of emotions, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be replicated in real life relationships, particularly in such schizophrenic fashion. I strongly believe we should have more control over our emotions in our romantic life and here are five reasons why.

Great Decisions Are Rarely Made While Emotional

Think about it. When was the last time you made an emotional decision and it turned out to be the best decision? My guess is rarely, if at all. We all have been there: starting arguments because we are irritated or for no reason at all, storming out of the house, or saying something we later regretted. In order to have healthy relationships (romantic or not), we must control ourselves and take responsibility for the way we feel and the words or actions that are the residue. Literally every emotion we feel can be sourced to a thought, whether it’s logical or not. The key is to be honest and correct the source which in turn corrects the resulting words and actions.

One day, I remember being so irritated with my husband for no reason apparent to him. I was short with him, refused to show interest in his day, and just flat out had a nasty attitude. Initially, I realized I was emotional because he came home and immediately turned on ESPN without missing a beat. After digging deeper and being honest with myself, I understood that my real beef was with myself because I really didn’t care about ESPN and wanted to monopolize all of his time. I should have understood that his ESPN time was his “quiet time” and I had to stop being so selfish (and emotional). Since then, I’ve learned to be more rational and control my emotions, saving myself from unnecessary stress… and also saving my marriage.

Fear and Defensiveness

When I think back over the craziest decisions I made in my life, they were nearly all rooted in fear or in being defensive. For example, fearing that all of those “why black women are alone” articles are true, trying to keep a man who didn’t want to be kept happens out of a fear of being alone, going through a boyfriend’s email account out of fear of being caught off guard by news of a cheating mate, or refusing to completely share oneself out of fear of being vulnerable and ultimately getting hurt.

The remedy? Try to view things in black and white and be as rational as possible. So, for example, if you “feel some type of way” because the person you are “feeling” isn’t being as responsive as you know he/she should, then cut out the grey area and keep it moving. No need to get your emotions out of control. Put on your rational hat and remember that someone who is interested will definitely pursue you. Sometimes, it really is that easy.

Emotions Are Usually Temporary

In a single day, you can go from happy to sad, excited to frustrated, and calm to anxious all before noon. As such, it is very risky to make decisions while in a temporary state of emotion, particularly when it comes to relationships. For example, instead of thinking with a rational head, we (both men and women) can start to channel Anita Baker and get all “Caught Up in the Rapture,” deciding to give into someone who is a waste of time but just happens to “feel good” at the moment. But soon thereafter, “crazy James” starts stalking and you start to think twice about your decision. It really is best to take a step back, try your best to remove the emotions from the story and think your decisions through.

It’s Better To Deal With Underlying Issues

I remember a friend of mine who always argued with his wife. He frequently yelled during arguments, slammed doors, and even cried a time or two. After digging deeper, I discovered that he was subconsciously mimicking the behaviors he witnessed as a child but didn’t realize it until it was brought to his attention by a professional therapist. His emotional responses filtered over to his adulthood and he essentially used his rage to manipulate situations where he felt out of control. Once he realized this, he was better able to recognize triggers, as well as develop a desire to break the pattern of behavior for his family. Dealing with underlying issues allows you to skip the fluff and deal with the real causes of your emotions and behavior to initiate real change.

Your Life is Not a Reality Show

The problem with reality shows is that they are, in part, based on reality so we sometimes feel as if we can identify with the characters and inadvertently start to mimic them. Of course, the problem with that is 1) we aren’t getting paid for it and 2) we have to suffer real life consequences for our behavior. So, as much as I’d love to ride in a Bentley and take spontaneous trips to the Caribbean on a yacht, my husband and I are not (yet) on that level. So, it would be very unfair for me to feel sad about that and place those types of expectations on my husband. By placing my rational hat on, I understood we have a purpose to fulfill and those luxuries will come later in life with hard work and, just like that, my emotions are quickly put to rest.

Am I saying to never explore your feelings or express emotion? Absolutely not. For the sake of mental health, it is very important to do so but with boundaries and restraint. Emotions seem to be the one thing we tend to let get out of control without real checks and balances. So, the next time you want to “pop off,” ask yourself why or even “what would Jesus do,” then calm down and revise your approach. Trust me, your mate (or potential mate) will thank you for being able to keep your emotions under control.

 

Angele D. Russell is a writer, blogger, and the owner of Dinners + Dates, a luxe date planning service. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and a lawyer by trade, Angele is passionate about love, life, laughter, travel, and fulfilling her purpose of helping others (and herself) live the best life possible. She is a regular contributor at Madame Noire and pens her own blog on customer service, May I Speak With Your Manager. Follow her on Twitter @angeledrussell.

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