Controlling Our Emotions in Social Interactions

Jun 9, 2012 | Goals & Motivation

Our question this week is “What is the best way for me to handle someone who is pushing my buttons, even bullying me? How can I stay grounded and not get sucked in?”

This article is going to approach this question from the perspective that these interactions are with someone you either want to or have to interact with. A few things to consider before we begin; first, we cannot change or control someone else’s behavior. Also, we do not know what the other person’s true intentions are for this interaction. What we can do is control how we interact with other people, and know what we want to get out of our interactions with others.

It is also important to note that actions and events are inherently neutral. It is only our personal perspectives and opinions that give a positive or negative change to them. What this means is that whether we feel that something is bad, rude, and insulting or kind, nice and encouraging it is solely due to the fact that we chose to feel that way about it. The powerful thing to observe here is that we can choose to feel nothing at all about an action or event because it is neutral until we make it otherwise.

So what all of this means is that when we interact with someone we can choose how we are going to do it. We can choose to be upset, angry, happy, glad, indifferent or any other emotion we wish to be or use for that conversation.

The key to this is being able to release our emotional attachment to situations that we wish to be separate from. As soon as you put an emotional charge on an event or situation, you become attached to it; this can either be bad or good. Emotions are powerful bonds we have with the world around us. Emotions allow us to love someone for our entire lives and they also allow us to never forgive someone when we feel we’ve been wronged. For anything that you wish to not get sucked into; you must maintain emotional neutrality. Once you develop an emotion about something or someone you are attached to it until you choose to release that attaching emotion.

Another important observation from this is that judgments and emotions have more to do with the one making the judgment than the one being judged. So what we can do when interacting with someone is to have a positive approach toward the person; being negative will only draw more negativity to you. Be willing to hear what others are saying without placing an emotional attachment to it, realizing that their words and opinions have more to do with themselves than they do with you.

Please understand that this awareness and process will not create an overnight change in how you think, feel, and react to events. This is an ongoing process that takes a higher level of self awareness and patience to see it through. I’ll admit I coach on this for others on a regular basis and am still processing my success in this area myself.