"You make me so mad!"
Can someone "make" you feel an emotion? Before you say, of course, obviously, realize the amount of control such power bestows on them. What if the truth is that no one can cause us to feel something? Its good news that we cause ourselves to feel emotions because if we cause our own emotions, we can change them. We aren't at the mercy of anyone else.
“Master Your Own Story” is a process based on the concept that people cause their own emotions and therefore are responsible for and able to control their actions. Others do not make a person mad or cause any other emotion. Rather one’s own story, often triggered by something someone else says or does, provokes an emotion and therefore a resulting action. People directly influence their own emotions and problems. “Master Your Own Story” is a process that allows people to recognize their own part in causing their emotions and actions along what is called a “path to action.” The path to action begins with an experience that causes people to create a story. That story generates feelings, which lead to an action. The point where change is possible is in the story.
Having clarity about the facts as well as story and feelings is important to any dialogue. By seeking more information, considering other possibilities, understanding another person’s story, one’s own story changes.
Consequently, the emotions and actions change as well. This skill is extremely useful in many settings and begins to alter the way people look at their experiences. Individuals who have learned “Master Your Own Story” can help others see that their initial stories and feelings also might be reevaluated. Engaging in these conversations adds clarity, builds trust, and demonstrates mutual respect.
(Excerpted from Shut Tight)