Dealing with Emotions

Allow me to share with you today a way to deal with emotions. For the majority’s concern, this is namely about a more healthy way to deal with negative emotions, although it is the same with positive emotions, as people never think in terms of dealing with positive emotions. By no means am I an expert or guru, but this is something I believe and practice and that is why I am sharing with you.

Before going into the description, I categorize below the common ways people act to deal with their emotions. Note that the categories usually happen in combination. After that, I share with you the way I have in mind, and finally I provide an example from my personal experience.

Distraction through External Means
We should all be familiar with this category, whether we know someone or we have done it ourselves. Things like drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, or even food/chocolate… People use these external means to block out the mind and to numb the senses in order to avoid truly feeling emotions. It becomes abuse because the effect of is only temporary, which means they will have to do them incessantly to keep the effect.

Dramatization
This is another way for people to distract themselves from the real emotions, by blowing it out of proportion. “The end is here!” “Everyone hates me!” Is that really true? I doubt it. While the person focuses on those dramaticized thoughts, he does not have to deal with the emotions, and hence, another form of distraction.

Being in Denial
Somewhere in the continuum of human race, the notion that people should not have negative emotions was thought up. The ones who believe this notion refuses to acknowledge the fact when they are feeling emotion such as anger, hatred, jealousy, etc. Those are label as “bad”. It’s not right to have them. And they will relentlessly ignore them and probably claim that everything’s fine and they are happy, optimistic, kind, etc.

Obsession with the Emotion
This is the scenario where the person allows the emotion to completely take over. He loses self-control and most of his logical ability. He fixates on the emotion so much so that all his actions are purely as a result of that emotion. It is very difficult to talk sense into such people but easier to just try to calm them down first, even if just physically.

Substitution
Instead of feeling disappointed, people switch to anger. Instead of feeling sadness, people switch to anger. Instead of feeling love, people switch to hatred, at the end of relationships. It’s like playing musical chair with emotions.

When people react to their emotions in terms of the categories above, more negativity and harm are generated. My hypothesis on why people have so many problems due to emotions lies in the fact that they never deal with the emotions at the root when they happen. They do not fully experience their emotions, especially the negative ones. Therefore, they keep accumulating and eventually lead to detrimental effect, which can take years to happen and then years to resolve. It is similar to how people handle their physical body. They often do not maintain the body where they do not exercise and not have balanced diet until illness occurs, but this is another topic. Moving on to what I think people can do to deal with emotions.

Be Okay with Emotions
The first and foremost thing to understand is that it is okay to have emotions. Any types of emotion. Human beings are emotional creatures. It is part of being humans. You feel emotions. I feel emotions. Every single day. Lots of time during a day. As long as we are still breathing, emotions will happen. So it is okay to feel sadness, jealousy, hatred, anger, disappointment, frustration… Just as it is okay to feel happy, satisfied, excitement, passion, love… You need to understand that they are your emotions. Your emotions are not you. It is a big step if you can simply be aware that you have the emotions when you do. You want to fully feel your emotions as they happen.

Identify the Thoughts
Now that you know it is okay to feel emotions. You can be more comfortable with them. When you are sad, you feel sad. Just as when you are happy, you feel happy. This is about simply being with your emotions. When you are okay with having emotions, you can be aware of them. Once you are aware of what you are feeling, you can begin to understand what are the thoughts associated with it. Why do I feel sad? Why do I feel anger? The answers to those questions are our thoughts, which are the true culprits of the pain those emotions are causing you. These thoughts exist together with your emotions. Emotions are created from thoughts. And more thoughts can intensify emotions. Now that you know you have these thoughts, know that it is also okay for thoughts to exist also.

So the first two steps involve identifying the emotions and thoughts that exist within you. By no means are these two steps small or easy. It is very uncomfortable to do at first, but like everything else, it comes with practice. It may be so hard at first that you will want to run away and go back to the usual routine of distraction, dramatization, denial, obsession, or subsitution. We all do it. So let me say that this is also okay, but try to be aware of the behavior and if you can, return to identifying what are the emotions and thoughts. If you cannot, just try to stay calm and not act rashly for awhile. Then try again.

Check with Priorities
Now you are aware of the thoughts that you have. These thoughts are at the heart of why you are feeling the emotions. Remember I talked about priorities before. It is beneficial to line up those thoughts with your priorities, your values in life. The thoughts you are having, are they aligned with the priorities in life? If they don’t pertain, maybe they are not so important after all. Have you done your best in terms of your priorities in the event that leads you to feel those emotions? If you have done so, maybe it is not so bad after all because you did not abandon your values. If you haven’t, it’s also okay, because we all make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from it and do your best next time.

This is not an easy process, and it doesn’t make emotions and problems go away immediately. However, I do believe by following this process, you can face your emotions with a sense of peace and not to do anything destrustive to yourself and others. This is a process of fully experiencing your emotions and thoughts. I am also confident that you will “handle” the emotions in a shorter time frame instead of having them linger for ages. The more you practice experiencing emotion as described, the quicker it gets to free yourself from the burden of emotion.

I have briefly mentioned that I experienced a break up in a recent post. I will use what I have gone through as an example. Break up is never easy, as for you, as for me. As long as one is truly devoting one’s self to a relationship, the end is never easy. Definitely I was sad. Besides that, I also somewhat confused and then a bit angry. I think that is normal for most people :)

My Sadness
The fact is that I only enter into a relationship when I genuinely like the person a lot. I would like to spend time with her and have fun together, go through experience with her and be able to support each other through good and bad time. I sincerely care for this person, and hope that I can be there to make her and her days better. But in the end, she made the decision to leave. All these things combined together are the thoughts that made me sad. I still feel some sadness, but it is okay. During the time we are together, I did my best being the person I truly am and giving in the way I believe in. “I truly did my best yet it still ended”, that maybe another thought that is causing me sadness. That doesn’t matter because it is okay to have sadness. On the flip side, it can be, “I truly did my best and I have no regret.”

My Confusion
As for the true reason behind the end of relationship, I probably will never find out, which causes confusion. Being human and being me, I am curious. I also wonder what I could have or should not have done. However, the reason behind and all the wondering mean nothing. Does it really matter if it is really due to circumstances in life, or if she has found someone else? The bottom line is that she is certain about the choice. By staying calm during the conversation, that is exactly what I endeavored to ascertain with her. She has made up her mind. She has made the choice to walk a different path, and I will just have to be okay with it. And I am okay with it.

My Anger
As for anger…I am not quite sure, but probably for all the reasons that left me sad and confused. And also perhaps I was looking forward to spend our holidays together, decorating Christmas tree. A happy scene only to be decimated. A bit of anger was there, but it is now gone. After all, there is not that much to be angry about once I can be okay with my sadness and confusion. I should be thankful that we had a chance to share a part of our lives together.

In a nutshell, the key point here is to be aware and to be okay with your emotions, truly experiencing the emotion when it happens. Staying calm and just feeling it, know that it is there. It is okay for it to be there. Once you can do that, you can move on to seeing your thoughts. If you can do something about those thoughts, then do something about them. If you cannot, then there is nothing to do and no reason to have those thoughts and therefore no reason to have those emotions. And if there is emotion remaining still, just be okay and experience them. And repeat the process.

It will take time to develop this way of dealing with emotion. However, there is definitely this peace you feel by doing so, which will allow you do deal with more emotions that happen in the moments in life.

On a final note, this post has a lot to do with awareness, so if you enjoy reading this, feel free to check out my post on Awareness and Zen.

Originally posted 2007-12-21 16:54:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Thoughts on Saving Money in Your 20s

Fast approaching the end of my 20s, I am in a good position to reflect a bit on savings in our 20s.

Is saving money too much for you handle?

Is saving money too much for you handle?

Saving is often discussed together with investing. While they may seem inseparable, we should distinguish between them. Saving is a learned behavior, a habit, and a discipline.

The habit of saving needs to be built up and then it becomes the foundation for future investing.

Having money saved in your 20s, and moreover, programming the habit of saving in yourself is the foundation of your financial future to come.

That said, to start saving, first you need to be clear about two things…

  1. How much you are making — This one should be easy for most people in their 20s because it comes from paychecks, calculating from the after-tax income rather than pre-tax.
  2. How much you are spending — For this one, we can first jot down the fixed part of the monthly expenses. For the variable expenses, spend a few months to learn the range and from there you can learn what their averages are.

Learning about these two things are required! If you really have strong intention about saving, you should be able to overcome both the resistance to sit down and track them and also the unwillingness to learn more about your personal finance… so that you are giving yourself the opportunity to self-denial.

Knowing how much you earn and spend leaves no room to question whether you are saving or not. In other words, doing so will help you to live within your means.

I know this seems very basic but basic things may be the hardest.

If you can keep tracking and maintaining your expense below income consistently staring in your 20s, there is no doubt that you will be in good shape.

You must have a saving account, or else...

You must have a saving account, or else…

Having a saving account separate from checking account and seeing the amount grow could be exciting… at least for me, because it’s similar to what one does playing video game.

That said, I think everyone is different and we all have different preferences and therefore, we will all maneuver in the gap between the money earned and the money spent differently for which I will break it down into three saving approaches.

Note, there is no “right” approach. Rather, it is more about understanding yourself and picking an approach that works for you.

Extreme saving

This is the most unlikely scenarios for people in their 20s because of the amount of discipline and sacrifice usually required to do it — like saving 70% or more of income. Not only is the discipline hard, I find it essential for the person to have identified clearly what they want out of life — like KNOWING you want financial freedom as early as possible — to subject himself through the process because otherwise, it may feel fruitless later on.

If you want to do this… ask yourself, for what purpose? Binging on anything could be unhealthy.

Slow and Steady wins the race

I find what I do fall more into this categories. the idea is to consistently save a good amount like 20-50%, on average. There will be months where it’s not possible but this is a balanced approach where you plan for the future while still able to enjoy things you like in the present.

Save minimally

If you’re in your 20s, perhaps your income is just not far above your expense or you are more into the experiential now, it is okay. Still, take the opportunity to learn how to consistently save by putting away 5-10% monthly into saving. Practice makes perfect.

As a last mention that really does not belong as a “saving approach,” there people who live paycheck-to-paycheck or even go into debt by overspending.

Without talking too much into debt here, it is safe to say that it is best for anyone in their 20s to stay away from consumer/credit card debt if they can help it. Not only will you not be saving, it takes away your future potential savings by having you to pay interest over time. Definitely try to minimize debt in your 20s.

Forget Kin, listen to me.

Forget Kin, listen to me.

At any rate, I leave you with what Bruce Lee’s father had said to him…

If you make $10 this year, always think to yourself that next year you may only make five dollars — so be prepared.”

And that… is why saving is a good habit to have.

What do you think someone in their 20s should know about saving?

Originally posted 2013-01-28 00:32:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Holidays, Commercials, and Consumerism

Watching TV, we see commercials.
Listening to radio, we hear commercials.
Surfing online, we see online ads.
Driving on the roads, we see billboards.

What do most of these commercials and ads have in common?
They are telling us to spend!

This past weekend is memorial weekend. Along with New Year, Valentines, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the other special days and holidays, what do they have in common?

All the stores will be enticing us to spend money with deals on those days!

I am not against spending. Hoarding money is not our purpose. I believe in spending money to reach a certain quality of life that bring us and people around us happiness, so long as we follow the simple rule of spending less than what we make, distinguish want from need, and/or really understand that the things we are purchasing WILL increase the quality of life. For example, I love music, so mp3 brainer is a no brainer. It is okay to spend!

But observing all the ads/commericals and holiday deals, I am amazed at what these marketers are doing. In this age and days, they have associated the idea of spending with saving. If you pay attention, most of these ads basically say something like “Spend $x to purchase [item] and save $y” or “Get this deal and you will save x%”. Obviously, they want to manipulate/brainwash people into thinking that buying these things will save them money. It would be true IF all those items are a necessity in life.

Maybe I am pointing out the obvious, but I think it is important to point it out in order for all of us who are in pursuit of financial freedom to be clear and understand not to fall fow it :)

Bottom line is, Spending does not equal saving.

Originally posted 2007-05-28 22:32:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Most Basic Rule to Personal Finance

Spend less than what you make.

A very very simple way to explain this… If we compare two persons, one making $50,000 and spending $45,000 and the other making $100,000 and spending $105,000, who’s going to be better off and has more money?

Now to be able to do that, it means following one or many of the behaviors below:
– don’t spend more than your monthly salary
– tracking your finance (money in-flow an out-flow)
– have a monthly budget
– distinguish wants” and “needs”
– try not to “borrow” from credit cards
– pay off any “bad” debt at high interest rate

Originally posted 2007-02-26 23:24:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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