Emotions are from perceptions, which are from thoughts and senses. In other words, if I feel happy my emotion is whatever construct I believe is associated with happiness. If I have bought into the idea often sold in mass media of what happy looks like I may “see” happiness quite differently than if, let’s say, I have never seen a television in my life. My idea and your idea of what is happy likely have similarities AND differences.
What is a perception? A perception is a point of view, a belief based on anything one has gathered into their mind from experiences. What we sense we itemize and categorize and tie meaning through labels. Labels have emotions tethered to them. Sometimes, we perceive inaccurately, and then we often find ourselves behaving in a manner that surprises even ourselves. Sometimes we attempt to ignore or deny our perceptions and again, find ourselves behaving in a manner incongruent with our idea of Self.
Managing emotions in a healthy manner is not tricky business but it is busy-business because the first step is to practice noticing connections between your perceptions and your emotions and we have many, every hour, every day. However, not only is it essential to notice those connections you must also practice cutting the ties that no longer serve your goal.
For starters, plan to notice every time you experience an uncomfortable emotion (feeling) of which you blame another person (this could be the neighbor because their dog is incessantly barking, the person who cuts you off in traffic, or the barista who gets your order wrong and so on). When you notice the connection between uncomfortable emotion and perceptions ask yourself if it is at all possible that you are taking it personal when in fact the other person is not intentionally crashing your feel-good energy system.
So, now you’ve noticed the connection and identified that the majority of the time your uncomfortable emotions are triggered by your perception, now what? Most people tend to look toward asking “why” at this point. Seeking out the origin and contributing factors as to why you perceive the way you do can be an important part of an individual’s journey of healing but it is not necessary. Knowing the past does not change the present. It certainly can have an impact on the future and gives insight into the present. Starting from noticing and connecting can be the first step without delving into history.
Changing perception and cutting the ties is a meticulous endeavor. It must be repeated and repeated with conscious effort until a new pattern solidifies. But even then, no pattern of behavior, including how we perceive is unchangeable. The good news is, as you practice this re-wiring within, you build energetic momentum and get to a point where the new, healthier and aligned emotions are practically automatic – automatic in the manner that many of your current unpleasant emotions are automatically tied to uncomfortable perceptions.
~ Life is to Beauty as the Eye is to the Beholder ~