Every day brings a new set of challenges. The car won’t start; our children have struggles in school; we are treated unfairly at work; our marriage is not what we want it to be.
With each situation brings a different set of emotions—sadness, hurt, perhaps fear. Each situation demands that we balance our emotions. This is often easier said than done.
I’ve always felt a bit different than many men—I feel everything. In fact, I often process events through my emotions. I sense situations before I even think about them. As I consider my emotions I’m able to process events. As “situations” arise, as they inevitably do, I have varying kinds of emotions and at times struggle to keep them balanced.
You may be able to relate.
While each situation brings a different set of emotions, my challenge—and yours—is to balance our emotions. It doesn’t work to react to situations; I must step back, balance my emotions, consider the situation and choose how I want to respond. As you can see and perhaps have experienced yourself, a reaction is likely to be less helpful than a response.
Most of my work at The Marriage Recovery Center involves helping couples stay balanced with their emotions so that they can approach problems from a rational perspective. This doesn’t mean that they are robotic or Spock-like, but that they utilize their emotions to assist them in knowing what to do.
We just finished a Marriage Intensive where we assisted both the man and woman to balance their emotions in very different ways. We assisted her in modulating her emotions, choosing the way she wanted to respond when her feelings were hurt by something her husband said. We assisted him in being able to access his different emotions, helping him not become flooded when she approached him with concerns.
Scripture has much to say about our emotions and many different examples of emotions balanced effectively, and emotions gone wild. Each brings a different outcome. The Apostle Paul reminds us to think about “whatsoever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…..if anything is excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8) Our emotions, and subsequent behavior, needs to be run through the grid of Scripture to determine if we are on the right path.
Consider how you tend to express emotions. Are you prone to anger? Do you tend to shift into feeling sorry for yourself? Do you become overly discouraged? Consider these additional steps to take to balance your emotions.
First, become aware of your emotional disposition. Explore how you tend to process your feelings. What are the feelings you experience most often? What are the thoughts that accompany those feelings? Are you able to balance your emotions so that they serve you rather than you being controlled by them?
Second, ask for feedback from others on how you tend to express your emotions. Often those around us have a better sense of our emotional disposition than we do. Seek input from trusted friends, colleagues or mate. Consider what they say to you. How does their perception fit your perception of yourself?
Third, consider whether your emotions need balancing. Do you tend to have exaggerated reactions to situations rather than a healthy response? Do you make irrational decisions based on fleeting emotions? Are you able to self-soothe and modulate your emotions, or do they “run away with themselves?” Consider whether you might need a professional to assist you in determining what else you might do with your emotions.
Fourth, cultivate a plan where you can balance your emotions. Many have found journaling helpful in unloading painful emotions. A good cry can be good medicine. Talking it out is often beneficial, asking for feedback on your particular situation. Praying through emotions can bring a situation back into perspective. Exercise has been shown to be an excellent way to modify emotions, along with good nutrition, sleep and balanced work life.
Finally, be thankful for your different emotions. God created us with emotions, and as such they are good. What we do with them can be healthy or unhealthy. Your emotions are a product of your life experiences and how you interpret them. Step back, review your emotional life, and consider what your emotions are telling you. Be thankful for all of your emotions and utilize them for making healthy decisions.
We have had an incredible response to our free offer of my eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams, found on our website. This is an interactive eBook for you and your mate to work through together. We want to hear from you—What have you found useful about the book? What would you like further information about?
Please also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website www.MarriageRecoveryCenter.com and YourRelationshipDoctor.com. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: October 1, 2013