I was a Yo-Yo flunky. Those two flat disks connected by a center axle looped in string was my bane. I was great at winding the string around the axle and throwing the yo-yo away from my hand, but having it return to my hand, let alone do tricks, was a frustrating challenge for me. Perhaps it was due to the size of my hand, my lack of eye-hand coordination, or the fact that I never persisted at perfecting my technique?
Learning to regulate my emotions was just as cumbersome. My Emotional Yo-Yo responses were totally out of my control. At times I let my emotion out without thought or consideration of whom it might impact. Other times I kept my feelings tightly wound inside, afraid of judgment or rejection. As with my inability to control the little wooden Yo-Yo, I blamed other things. My feelings and lack ability to honor and regulate my feelings were because of other people or events. "They" made me feel that way, "they" were the reason I could not express what I wanted to express. Worse yet, what would "they" think of me if they knew what I felt? It took me a long time before I realized I needed to Own and take control of my Emotional Yo-Yo.
No person or event “makes” you feel a certain way. Neuroscience has demonstrated that there is a fraction of a second between a stimulus and our brain's decision to make a response. It is within that fraction of time, we choose. Our first responses are based on our emotional triggers, the learned patterns of response we have developed over time.
Your positive emotions can open up your life, inspiring growth and goodness in others and yourself. Emotions such as happiness and joy are expansive and engaging. They open your circle of possibilities, fostering creativity and insight.
Emotions such as anger and fear close your mind down, limit your opportunities and seek to hurt and to blame. Since our brains are hardwired to pay attention to the negative, it takes effort to stay within our closed mindset. The Emotional Yo-Yo remains in the clenched hand, allowing the negative emotions to fester and feed on themselves. Left unchecked and misunderstood, these decaying emotions lash out seeking revenge.
It takes courage and persistence to work with your Emotional Yo-Yo, looking for safe ways to express your need to be heard. Fear and anger, just as love and joy, are all opportunities to explore and understand our emotional triggers. Once we learn the triggers, we learn when and how to choose our responses. We can regulate our Emotional Yo-Yo. The more you practice emotional choice, the more you open yourself to understand and learn from others.
Watch for more excerpts from my upcoming book, the little book of MORE: the evolution of YOU.