Independence...From Being Upset

Independence...From Being Upset

Author: Dr. David Cooper is a psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
? Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

Each Independence Day as we celebrate, we are reminded of our political and personal freedoms. But what about our emotional freedoms? How can we learn to be free of letting others make us feel angry or upset?

Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome from 161-180, and his “Meditations” were his daily diary where he jotted down his thoughts and reminders to himself. He was a Stoic, a school of philosophy that focused on learning how to practically live from day to day.

One of the areas Marcus Aurelius talks about the most in his “Meditations” is reminding himself to reflect on his own thinking. So if someone calls me a name, am I that thing? If I am, then they were right to say so. If I am not, then why should I care since they are obviously wrong? Why should I let someone else dictate whether or not I will have a good day or bad day, or how I will feel?

When we get angry or upset over something someone else has said or done to us, most of the time we are only hurting ourselves. If that other person was selfish enough to say a hurtful thing to us, why should we think that they care if we’re upset about what they said? (In fact, that may have been their purpose in the first place!)

So if you find yourself getting upset over this holiday weekend about something, take some time to stop for a moment and reflect. Did the person do something that actually hurt you? Is getting you upset exactly what they wanted to do? By thinking about what’s going on, rather than letting yourself get hooked by emotion, you can celebrate your independence from letting others control you. Community Terms and Conditions

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