THE SITUATION“Tim makes me so mad. I hate him!” Sara, a new client, was yelling at me. Truth be told, Tim does not make Sara angry. He triggers her rage, but Sara is making herself furious.

It works like this. Sara’s focus on Tim’s current behavior pulls up certain thoughts, memories, and pictures in her mind. These create the meanings she attaches to Tim. At this moment, she sees him as mean and unreasonable. The meanings she attaches then cause the emotion (anger) that Sara is feeling.

But let’s suppose Tim makes Sara laugh and hands her a small gift. Her focus will still be on Tim, but the meaning she attaches to him will change. I’m pretty sure her emotion will change from hate to something more positive, hopefully love.

Note: Our focus causes the meaning we attach to a person, thing, or situation and this causes the emotions we feel.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO?      Our challenge is to stay aware of our reactions and take full responsibility for them. It’s true that others trigger emotions in us. But how we process that flow of energy and information depends on us. Moreover, we mustn’t forget that in most cases we repeat these useless reactions over and over again. We get stuck in this habitual way of reacting, and it’s up to us to train ourselves to get unstuck.

BAD NEWS - GOOD NEWS     If we refuse to take responsibility and insist that others are making us feel a certain way, we give away our power to change ourselves. We are at others’ mercy until they make us feel different. In contrast, if we take responsibility for our reactions, we can choose to do something about them. If we acknowledge them, and our responsibility in them, we are better prepared to resolve the issues and situations that cause them.

THIS MIGHT HELP   If you struggle with taking responsibility for your reactions, do not despair, the tools and four steps of the Choice-Cube Method found in the book, Become the Person You Were Meant to Be, can teach you how to train yourself to take responsibility for your reactions and change them.

A LITTLE SECRET     Here’s a secret. Forgiving is often necessary for us to change our focus. This means forgiving others and ourselves! Sometimes forgiving is possible only with help from God or our Higher Power. Connection to God or our Higher Power can often help us find the compassion and forgiveness we seek.

My book, Become the Person You Were to Be, gives you the chance to explore some of these ideas. Look inside the book at Amazon.com or download its first chapter for FREE. Just click here and get an idea of what the Choice-Cube Method can do for you