Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Controlling your emotions

There have been times in my life where I was able to control my emotions pretty well.  Bottle them up, ignore them, shut them off, I am not sure which analogy is going to be best.  As a martial artist it is implied and in some school outright expected that you control your emotions.  No anger, fear, happiness, etc...

So is emotional control possible or is it more of an illusion?


  1. My personal view is that emotions cannot be controlled, only our reactions to them. The question I would like to pose, though, is why must emotion be controlled? Self control is necessary, yes, but emotional control usually implies the denial of feeling. Why must feeling be denied?

  2. What about anger, hatred, or lust? Should we acknowledge and perhaps even act on those feelings? I think this things can get us in a great deal of trouble.

    If I don't deny some of my feelings then I might have a fit of road rage on the way home and take someone out. (To be fair some of the people on the road probably have it coming but still.)

    The more I think about it, the more I think that logic and emotions are leaveraged against each other.

    Example: I get outraged by an idiot driver that nearly hits me while my kids are in the car. I could choose to run the jerk off the road or I can decide not too. If I decide not too is it self control or is it simple another series of emotions that make me consider my options. If it is other emotions like fear of jail or fear of my kids seeing me go nuts then I don't think of that as control. (Hence the illusion part of my previous argument.)

  3. I prefer to view logic and emotions as not leveraged against each other, but rather balancing one another. Life without logic is chaotic, life without emotion is cold. My view is that emotion should be acknowledged, regardless of what it is- fear, anger, lust, happiness, all of it. It is the refusal to acknowledge, to allow yourself to feel, that causes physical pain and suffering (heart attacks, ulcers, etc). Is acknowledging that you are angry at another driver the problem? Or is it your reaction to your anger at the other driver that may be the problem? I agree with emotional control being an illusion- my thoughts are that people who consider their emotions to be under control are really just controlling reactions to their emotions. Reactions you can control (and probably should in most cases of road rage), but does it matter how? If the control comes from another emotion, such as fear as you describe, what makes that any less an agent of control? Firemen will sometimes set a fire to gain control over another fire. What is your definition of control?