Other people get to think and feel and act like they want. They have agency to choose how they are going to live their life. The trouble is that what other people do or say can cause us suffering.
Or at least, we think it can.
The reality is that no one can make you feel anything—including suffering. Every feeling you have is created by your thoughts. No matter what the other people in your life choose to do or say, you always get to decide how you want to think about it.
In this episode I'll teach you the difference between emotional adulthood and emotional childhood and how when you choose to act from emotional adulthood you will reduce the suffering you think is caused by other people.
You get to create your own life experience and you never have to be the powerless victim of other people's actions and behaviors.
This is the best news I can give you because it means the people outside of you don't have to change or behave in a certain way for you to feel good. Anything you want to feel or not feel is your choice.
As you live with other people in the world, one of the most powerful things we can do is take responsibility for our own emotional lives. The more we can act in emotional adulthood (or emotional self-reliance) the more peace and joy we can create for ourselves.
Consider the two ideas of emotional childhood and emotional adulthood:
Emotional childhood - Whenever we blame someone else for how we feel, we refer to this as being in emotional childhood—meaning that we are being dependent of someone else and their action and behaviors to determine our feelings.
Emotional adulthood (Emotional self-reliance) - Emotional adulthood is recognizing that I am in charge of my emotions, I create my emotions, and I am NEVER dependent on other people for HOW I feel. My feelings are my choice.
Emotional adulthood means:
1. Taking responsibility for our pain and also our joy.
2. Not expecting other people to "make" us happy.
3. Not expecting others to "make" us feel secure.
4. Recognizing that we are the only ones that can hurt our feelings and we do that with our thoughts.
Thoughts that make it easy to indulge in emotional childhood:
1. When we think that other people are doing it wrong. We know best how they should live.
2. When we think that the way other people behave tells us something about us.
3. When we think the way other people behave is not right or fair.
Questions and tips to help you get to emotional adulthood:
1. Use Byron Katie's turnaround to show yourself how you are doing the exact thing you wish others would not do.
2. Ask yourself, So what? or Why is this painful? to find out what you are making other people's behavior mean about you.
3. Remind yourself that even if other people behave in way that's not fair or right, it's not fair or right to punish yourself for their bad behavior.