Choosing How We Feel
By Jeremy Jordan
How is today going to go? This is a question that I often think every morning. Wired as curious beings, it seems reasonable that we would often wonder how things will go. How is my job interview going to go? Will I do well on an upcoming exam? What will they say when I tell them the bad news? Questions such as these plague our minds, and for good purpose. We ought to think ahead about what we could encounter and prepare ourselves for difficult situations. By doing this, we can develop the skill of choosing how we feel. Sadly, as much as we might consider the future, we cannot control what happens. I may not get the job, or I could fail the exam, or maybe they get really upset when I give them the bad news. Ultimately, it really isn’t up to us about what happens. But that doesn’t mean we can’t influence the results. Even more importantly, we can control how we perceive the event, and we do get a say in choosing how we feel about the event. This idea places responsibility on our shoulders for how we feel in the end. Typically, after I wake up and consider how the day might go, I then am approached by my 2 year old daughter. She’ll hold up the remote control and ask, “What watch?” We’ll then open Netflix or Youtube, and begin the laborious task of selecting a show. I find that choosing how I feel about difficult situations is very similar to how I go about selecting what to watch. Just like I have a few standard shows that I frequently watch, I also have a number of emotional responses that I will typically utilize. Every time that I choose a specific emotional response to a situation, I find it that much easier to use that response again. While I can go into autopilot and continue using that response (just because it’s easy), I have to remember that I do have other choices. In other words, what I’m saying is that I don’t have to get angry when something goes wrong. I don’t have to be sad when the job interview doesn’t go well. We do have an option to choose how we feel in those moments. Does this mean we get to choose what the results are? Hardly! But we do get to decide how we perceive what happens, how we respond to the emotions, and how we move forward from the event. Of course, this is all easier said than done! That’s why we need help along the way. Do you find yourself frequently struggling to overcome obstacles? Are you finding yourself sad, frustrated, anxious, nervous, etc, when other people just seem happy all the time? While there isn’t an overnight fix, there is a way to make changes that lead to a more fulfilled life. Give us a call at Front Porch and ask how we can help.
Jeremy S. Jordan is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works at Front Porch Counseling. He is especially interested in working with couples and families, helping others learn how to navigate the many challenges that occur throughout life. Including his training, Jeremy has been counseling since 2013 and licensed as an LPC since 2016. He currently resides in Cincinnati, OH, with his wife, two children, and two dogs.