Article extracted from a workshop & book called:
... ... all articles, are written as workshop manuscript
... questions were asked to stimulate active participation.
Everything is rewarded, instant gratification, consuming (anything) to make you feel better?
I am sure you are aware that the first time you started to eat (or rather drink), may have been as a result of your mother responding to your screaming; "she fed you to make you feel better"; ... and she succeeded. Sooner or later you discovered that whenever you felt cranky, because you were hungry, wet, lonely or whatever, by showing that you were uncomfortable, somehow, your mother came to feed you.
So far this response is a simple natural learning response. Within time, the learning constantly deepened.
Then you started to grow up, and sooner or later you got a bit sick, (perhaps a cold), and something funny happened.
(Not all parents do this, but certainly, at least in the past, a lot did.)
Your parent would reward your cold with a lollipop, or something to make you feel better, just a natural response, nothing wrong, (no blaming here):
"Here sweetie that will make you feel better." Instead of a sweet it could be something like a toy, a book or any little reward, any of them in effect being and representing metaphoric lollipops.
The difference in your adulthood reaction is that you reward yourself; you may eat something or buy yourself something nice in order to feel good (compulsive shopping). Some of us may not be able to manage to make our self feel better without using something external. That would make us 'dependent', not capable of relying on our own interal resources.
Actually we probably could blame all human misery on this principle; gratification, the need for more, greed, needing to be right, wanting power; everything could be blamed on this principle that we need something to make us feel good or better.
Obviously we all do that to a certain extend, without causing any harm whatsoever, however by bringing this principle into our awareness we may be able to understand some of our behaviours and may even choose to select a better and more suited behaviour.
Possible now, for the first time, you are aware of that response in wanting something nice to make us feel good, either in yourself or friends and family.
To fix this "little problem" is easy, as we simply go by the old rule:
IF YOU DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DO, YOU GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GET
... so, do something else. This something else, is to work the other way around.
Be proactive, change before you have to change.
That is what we are going to do. We will change our usual response emotion, before we get that emotion. This is called emotional choice.
Coming back to the 'lollipop society,' and the the reason I coined the phrase.
Firstly, our whole society seems to react like this; secondly, if you take your child to a doctor, (in the past, even sometimes a dentist), the child will often receive a lollipop.
That lousy lollipop may well be, in adult life, a metaphor for "instant reward", it even may be related to more serious reward systems, such as drug use.
Is that far fetched? Do you think an addict loves him/herself? Addicts need a 'lollipop' to make themselves feel better.
How do you make youself feel better? - Which way are you reacting?
Do you use too many external rewards, like sweets, drugs, food, sex, or just shopping, etc?
Can you find out what specific emotion you feel? The emotion associated with needing something. (could be just low blood sugar :-)
What is that emotion telling you, and what do you do about it?
An important aspect of achieving emotional choice is knowing how to select and access the most advantageous emotion for when you want it and need it.
Before you can do that, you obviously have to know what kind of emotion you do feel and what you would like to feel instead.
If your answer is simply, 'good' or 'bad', then you are not really in touch with your emotions.
'Feeling Good' or 'Bad' can't help you, they are generalisations.
You have to know specifically what kind of emotion you feel.
Knowing your specific emotion, helps you to either choose it again, or find a more appropriate one to replace it with.
Let's have a look at feeling 'bad' and go behind that word to find out what you really feel.
Could it be that you feel: bored, lonely, restless, skeptical, sorry, lethargic, unmotivated, suspicious, anxious, nervous, fearful, hopeless, irritated, disappointed, insecure, cheated, etc?
The advantage of making these "feeling distinctions" is that your emotions actually indicate what you need to do, to feel different.
If you feel bored you look for something exciting, but what could you do specifically if you only feel bad (buy somehting)?
Let's explore the other general feeling; 'feeling good'.
Feeling 'good' may mean you feel; joyful, intrigued, fascinated, curious, grateful, encouraged, hopeful, inspired, warm, excited, motivated, determined, sure of yourself, happy, naughty, carefree, sexy, enthusiastic, ecstatic, etc.
Having any of these above mentioned specific emotions will do a number of things for you:
It helps you to appreciate emotions more fully.
It helps you to become more aware of your emotion generally.
It points out to you, where those emotions are coming from.
It helps you to recall the emotion you need.
It helps you to 'avoid' doing things which make you feel 'bad'.
And even more important, it shows you directly, what to do, to trigger more of those emotions you want.
It helps you to become aware of the messages behind your emotions.
You may even have a PET EMOTION.
*This is an emotion you particularly like and also find easy to trigger.
My pet emotion is curiosity. I love to find out things and know things. If I feel bored, I trigger the feeling of curiosity, that gets me going immediately.
It is you who wants to be in control of your responses and of your experiences, and not be controlled by your emotions.
Let me give you one more example. Perhaps the anxiety or dread you felt about an upcoming meeting caused you to concentrate your planning on how to get out of the meeting, rather than planning the most effective presentation. If you had a pet emotion, you would have triggered curiosity or somehting apporopriate, to overcome your anxiety. You could feel curious as to how the people would respond to your presentation, or feel curious as to whom you may meet.
Alternatively you could have asked yourself "which emotion would be good to have in that situation?"
You may have come up with emotions such as determination, anticipation or others.
As you will appreciate, it makes sense to bring your life, (including your emotions) under your control or under better management.
True control comes from having a choice, having options for your emotional responses, and from having the ability to choose whichever of those options are more satisfying, given your current desires and circumstances.
Here are three main ways and victim positions of emotionally loaded situations, in which people demonstrate an inability to cope emotionally:
Take some time now to have a good long look at your own emotional responses!
Do you recognise yourself in any of the above emotional responses?
Have you got any emotional inhibitions such as a belief that you shouldn't have some particular emotions?
Find out your own emotional traps, (reaction to circumstances)!
Are any emotions hindering you from doing what you really want to do?
Can you make emotional distinctions? Do you know your emotions, specifically?
Have you got a pet emotion?
We have come much closer to emotional choice and control! You are aware that you have a wide range of emotions. You are aware of your emotional traps.
What are emotions?
The following chapters will discuss:
The functional meaning of an emotion.
Triggering and changing an emotion.
... to be continued ... Article Number 18 > Emotional Choice
Excerpt from a workshop & book - published 1993 - titled; "Do you believe in You" www.usenature.com - Dieter Luske ©