Is Your Ex an Asshole?
I would be willing to bet that you have someone in your life who you think is an asshole. Maybe they are an ex-boss who was condescending and constantly spoke down to you, or a colleague who always takes credit for your work. Perhaps it’s a friend who is talking shit behind your back, or your ex-spouse with whom you are struggling to co-parent. At the end of the day, what is most important to understand is not whether or not they are an asshole, it’s understanding the degree to which your thoughts and perceptions of them negatively impact your emotional state.
Do any of these statements resonate with you?
You find yourself continuously thinking and talking about something they did that hurt you, or about how badly they treated you.
- Communicating with them is emotionally stressful, draining and negatively impacts other relationships and areas of your life.
- You’re holding onto feelings of anger and resentment and just can’t “get past it”.
- Your thoughts are fixated on their actions and behaviours ̶ what they say and do bothers you.
- You feel judged and find yourself getting defensive.
- You are reactive and /or engage in behaviours that don’t serve you (i.e. arguing, avoiding, tolerating, etc.).
- Your negative thoughts and beliefs about this person impact your happiness, peacefulness and clarity.
If any of the statements above resonate with you, let me ask you this: Do you believe that you’re in control of your own emotional state, or do you believe that unavoidable circumstances and other people determine how you feel?
The answer is that we are always in control of our emotional state, regardless of what’s going on around us. I’ll explain.
First, you need to understand that our thoughts instigate our emotions, our emotions direct our behaviours and our behaviours produce our outcomes.
When we consistently focus on negative thoughts, we feel negative emotions associated with that thought and therefore re-live negative experiences and outcomes. In order to change these negative thought patterns, we need to slow down and become aware of how we are thinking. We can then choose to change any given thought we have that doesn’t feel good. We can also decide what meaning to attach to each thought.
So, since we can change the direction of our thoughts, that means we have the ability to control our emotional state, our behaviours and ultimately our outcomes.
We don’t have control over what other people say and do, but we do have control over how we choose to perceive them and respond to them. When we allow another person to be responsible for how we feel, we have given them power over our emotional state.
Our state of being and our outcomes have nothing to do with an outside circumstance or person. It’s up to us to choose how we want to think and feel.