Emotional Reactions

· Blog

Emotional reaction. Who isn't familiar with this experience? Someone says something that hurts our feelings. A driver cuts us off in traffic. Something happens that we aren't expecting and in a split second we can go from rolling along just fine in our day to a raging fire of feelings, or desperation, despair and unworthiness.

How does that happen? Well, it's interesting how, as I look back at these kinds of events in my life, I can see that the same thing, a critical remark or being cut off in traffic, didn't always create the same reaction. Sometimes it was like water off a duck's back. But most of the time it was a strong emotional reaction. And the strong reaction was the a commonly accepted response from my friends. "Who wouldn't feel that way when that happens?" they'd say. And I would feel justified in my position.

Lately we've been seeing emotional reactions quite differently from this conventional point of view of being justified in reacting. We've been seeing that, like in my experience of the same event not always causing the same reaction, the event itself isn't theof cause the reaction. What's causing our experience in that moment, being upset or not being upset, is a reflection of our thinking. It's a reflection of the meaning or interpretation we're giving it. Join us to hear more:

There's some food for thought, eh? What if, in Truth, there's only one purpose for emotional reactions, but there are two ways of viewing them, or interpreting them?

One way is to believe that I am right and they are wrong. They were wrong to say that, or he was wrong to cut me off. Can you see how in this right-wrong way of thinking, we naturally end up justifying and defending that belief, that interpretation? It's the perfect logic from that point of view.

The other way of interpreting an emotional reaction, which is making such a difference in our sense of ease and well-being in life, is to consider that we're wrong.

Now, that may sound crazy because we aren't wrong about what the person said or whether I was cut of in traffic. Those things happened. Those are facts. That's the truth. But what if we're wrong about what we're telling ourselves their comment or behavior means about us? Isn't that the cause of our reaction? That their comment means we're too much this way or that, or too... whatever. We're hearing it in a way that we're not enough, and in that moment believing that we aren't enough. And that does hurt and creates a reaction.

So, what if our emotional reactions are that GPS system we talked about in earlier blogs? What if the reaction isn't about the incident but about the meaning we're giving it. We can never change what occurred, but changing how we look at something is always just a thought away.

What would happen if we believed that who we are, as we are in every moment is enough? What would happen when someone said something about us that was uncomplimentary or even mean? If there's some truth to the fact that we are enough, just the way we are, and we can see life through those glasses, how long would an emotional reaction last do you think?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

And the recipe this week is a Chickpea Guacamole. An interesting, low-fat twist on an old standard.

To your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill

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Chickpea Guacamole (serves 4) *Adapted from Mary McDougall

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, or 1 – 28 oz. can
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large avocado, chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy or red pepper flakes
  • Optional: ½ cup cilantro, chopped

In a food processor add chickpeas, garlic and onion, and pulse until mixed yet still chunky.

Move mixture to a bowl and fold in avocado, tomato, scallions and can of green chilies.

Great to top a potato or as mixture to add to tortillas for tacos.

NOTE: Another great taste would be to roast the garlic, onion and tomatoes by air frying or baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes on a piece of parchment paper and then following the recipe above to add them in the right order.