Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Act in your own best interest

There are many situations in which we can find ourselves conflicted over how to behave. This is especially true when a person, place or thing has made us angry.” Responding” instead of “Reacting” is always in our own best interest. Our choice of behavior is often dictated by the specific situation or environment we are in.

As our many clients learn, we always chose our actions. Many claim their behavior is the result of another person’s words or actions. They blame others. “If he hadn’t yelled at me, I wouldn’t have thrown his cell phone”. “If you were married to my wife, you’d drink too”. Blaming others is irresponsible and it prevents change and growth. We give our personal power away when we claim that another person is responsible for our words and actions.

We have the freedom and power to decide how we will respond in any situation. Regardless of how unfairly or badly we think we are being treated, it is our “choice” how we respond.

Responding in the right way at the right time with the right person in the right situation takes “emotional intelligence”, a topic largely discussed in Anger Management Classes. It is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.

Our behavior choices differ according to the setting we find ourselves in. Exploding with anger at our boss is definitely not in our best interest. Neither is being so stressed out that we verbally abuse our children. Our personal relationships call for different behavior than our public or professional life.

This is why having emotional intelligence is so important. In each area of our lives, we need to know what we are feeling and then be able to control our feelings. Like the many stories we hear in our classes, an angry outburst or an instant “reaction” can cost a relationship, a job, your freedom or even a life.

For most people these are costs that are too high to pay. Fortunately, we can learn new ways of thinking and processing our emotions so that we don’t allow our anger to hurt ourselves or others – and this is always in our own best interest.

Daybreak clients are grateful when they recognize the past consequences of their anger and are able to change. They report better relationships, more self esteem and less problems in all areas of their lives.

Daybreak Counseling Service
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