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The Key to Emotional Control

by Marlimus

One cannot have game unless one has Inner Game. All the tips, techniques, and memorized language patterns in the world are meaningless unless one has the mindset that allows one to benefit from such things.

Conversely, if one has sound Inner Game, one may not need such things to be a Don Juan, since many of our structured techniques were in fact copied from naturals.

One cannot have Inner Game unless one has Emotional Control. You may know perfectly well that calling on a certain day may be calling too soon, or that you should not be jealous or show signs of jealousy if your date flirts with another, but your emotions may override your Don Juan sensibilities.

So it is agreed. Control your emotions.

There is even a must-read article in the Hall of Fame dedicated to this subject. We are told: "Do not give her the remote control to your emotions." - Sebastian Steele.

But until now, no one has said exactly HOW to control one’s emotions with any real conviction. There are several common approaches to emotional control, some involuntary, some learnt.


1) Distraction

One tries to change one’s emotional state through distraction, internal or external. Internal distraction involves trying to think about something else, to place one’s mind elsewhere, to think about anything except the girl whose coquetry is driving you crazy. External distraction is as simple as turning on the television, relying on outside stimulus such as comedy or music to distract us from an unwanted emotional state.

This strategy is a long-term failure, but can work in the short run provided that the emotional state is not potent, e.g. a girl has rejected you, but you weren’t that interested anyway.


2) Repression

One tries to control one’s emotional state by sheer force of will. You try to command yourself not to feel a certain way. You close your eyes, grind your teeth, and wish it away.

This method almost never works. Zen Buddhism teaches that in a contest of will versus imagination, imagination always emerges victorious. There is some truth to this. Repression can be counterproductive, because the psychic energy spent trying to repress an element adds to the element’s power, and even if the element is temporarily cast into the Id, like all repressed elements, it reemerges eventually. See Freud concerning the behavior of repressed elements.


3) Affirmation

A variation of repression found in the NLP community, one repeats empowering phrases in one’s mind over and over until it supposedly sinks in.

This method takes a great deal of time to be effective, and is subject to relapse. It does work in some cases, but one must persevere beyond the point of frustration. All in all, it works in some cases, but is generally ineffective because subconsciously one believes that one is practicing self-deception.


4) Rationalization

"I shouldn’t feel this way because." Since when can you debate with emotion?


THE REAL KEY TO EMOTIONAL CONTROL

In Stephen Covey’s landmark self-empowerment text "The 7 Highly Habits Of Highly Effective People" he teaches that the essence of human freedom lies in the fact that unlike plants and animals, man is self aware, and that one of the consequences of that self awareness is that given any stimulus, we have the power to choose our response.

In psychoanalysis, one of the key elements required for eliminating any neurotic behavior pattern is to understand its stimulus, i.e. its cause. Once the deep rooted cause is brought to light, change and treatment is possible because the underlying issue can now be addressed.

This also applies to emotional control, and the neurosis we call ’oneitis’. When we believe that we have fallen for a girl, oftentimes we have not fallen for her, but an ideal we have in our own minds that the female represents to us. Let me give an example.

I once fell for a girl who was a close, personal friend. She was on my mind night and day, until I began to apply some of Covey’s principles. I analyzed myself and asked ’why does she have such a hold over me?"

I realized that her sheer warmth and sincerity, and her maternal caring, had effected a regression on my part so that she became an oedipal mother figure. She admired me openly, and I had become dependent upon her as a source of validation, and desired more, the ultimate validation would of course be to possess her.

I realized that I was not in love with her. My feelings for her were then demystified because I understood that it wasn’t ’love’ at all. Once I realized what the stimulus was, I compared that to reality. She was not my mother, and a Don Juan such as myself should have absolutely no external dependency for validation and self worth. Emotional self sufficiency was part of my value system.

My ’love’ for her disappeared.

Stephen Covey advocates that one must analyze one’s emotions through the lens of one’s value system, your core beliefs about who you are or who you want to be.

I identified with the Don Juan psychology of being emotionally self sufficient, and not being dependent on the approval of others. When I compared that to the emotion of craving further validation from a female, I realized that I could not abide that emotion, and that I knew and fully understood that my ’love’ was all in my head.

This, gentlemen, is the key to emotional control. Instead of repressing and ignoring your unwanted emotions, or trying to rationalize them away, step outside of yourself and analyze them by trying to find out what caused them, what was the first cause. Once you have figured that out, ask yourself--In the light of my value system (being a Don Juan) does the stimulus justify my emotional response? Do I approve of this response?

Remember, between stimulus and response, man has choice. Analyze your stimulus and often times you will realize that it is silly, then exercise your choice by condemning that emotion in the light of your value system, whatever that may be.

Let me give another example. In the fourth grade, you had a terrible crush on a girl who liked you, but you never got, or she rejected you. Now, you meet another girl, and for some reason you can’t quite put your finger on, you feel yourself becoming infatuated.

You tell yourself, "I’m falling in love/getting oneitis, and there’s nothing I can do about it!" Your belief that you have no power over how you feel reinforces itself and you fantasize more and more.

BUT...

You analyze her and realize that in fact this new girl, in your subconscious, represents something, something in your own mind such as the girl you lost in the fourth grade who scarred you, and remained buried in your psyche. Then you realize that the girl itself has nothing to do with how you feel, it is the symbolism that you have projected unto her.

You realize that she is not the girl you lost, and that you hardly know her, and that there is no halo around her head. You realize that your Don Juan mentality cannot abide infatuation, so your value system condemns the unjustifiable emotion. Your infatuation has been demystified and deconstructed, and quickly begins to fade.

It’s like being obsessed with wondering if Santa Claus will visit, only to learn that there is no Santa Claus. It’s all in your head.


FINAL NOTE

In order to be able to execute this process, you need to believe that you have the power to chose who you love. Let love be a verb and not a noun.

Another critical concept Covey talks about is the Circle theory. Your Circle of concern is everything that you are concerned about, and within that circle is a smaller circle called the Circle of Influence, which is what you have the power to affect or change.

If you believe that a thing is outside your circle of influence, THEN IT IS. If you believe that love/oneitis/infatuation is involuntary and uncontrollable, then your mind operates accordingly until you realize that these things are inside your circle of influence.

If you throw your hands in the air and say "that’s just the way I am" then you are simply abdicating responsibility for that element which is within your po wer, and giving it power over you.

Take responsibility for what goes on inside your heart and your mind. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, "Each man must learn to live within the citadel of himself."

Become the Lord of that citadel.

Marlimus
marlimus@hotmail.com

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