Try to visualize the face of the most reliable and trustworthy person you may have encountered in your life. Now tell me whether you often see the person losing their cool or getting emotional in difficult situations?
I bet that the person in the picture doesn’t lose control easily in a difficult situation. But how do I know? Because this particular trait is actually what makes him or her reliable and trustworthy.
Being someone people can trust is often better than someone people like. The reason – being liked is fragile and can overturn by just one expectation not being met, but being trusted is like a solid foundation which does not get broken unless some brute force or in this case some unlikely act happens.
Every person loses control on emotions at some point
Don’t get me wrong, every person loses control of his or her emotions at some point. However, it is our ability to remain in full control of our emotions in most difficult of situations is what makes us different.
Now, the good thing, with a little bit of practice and self-awareness we can overcome this tendency to lose control over our emotions. Needless to say this will help you in many ways.
There are many advantages of being in control of your emotions
There are multiple benefits of mastering the art of not losing control of your emotions. Some of the most important ones are listed below:
- You will speak and act more rationally
- It is better for your relationships
- You will be perceived as trustworthy
- People will look up to you and your social equity will increase
- It will be good for your personal satisfaction and self-esteem
There are many other benefits when you develop the ability to control your emotions. Foremost is the fact that you will be able to avoid great damages both personal and professional when people lose control over their emotions and act in a way that has long-lasting negative implications.
These steps will help you control your emotions if those stressful and difficult situations.
1. Know your stories
Whenever we are in a stressful situation we tend to build many stories around it. Most of the times these stories are self-made and are not the actual reality.
For example one of my colleagues was extremely upset with one of our vendors thinking that they are not interested in serving us because they didn’t like dealing with him. It was a story created by my colleague in his mind.
The reality, however, was different, they were actually winding up their business and were going slow on orders. This fact, however, came after a confrontation between my colleague and the vendor, and the damage was already done.
This is in our human nature to build stories in our minds and imagine the reason for the difficult situation or emotionally charged events. We often attribute this reason to something external and build stories around it.
The fact is 90% of the times these are false stories. Now that you are aware of this nature of our self-made stories, just remind yourself that this is a story in your mind and reality most likely is different.
The next step for you would be to seek clarity on your story with facts and individuals involved. If your story says for example that your neighbor purposely parks his car to obstruct your way you will need to verify if he really does. Follow step 2 to first question your stories and then step 3 to verify your stories.
2. Question your stories
Before you seek to verify the stories you must look inwards to evaluate whether your stories have any basis, are they logical? Remember, you must be open-minded because it’s your story and you’ve created it in your mind.
It’s not easy to convince yourself that it may not be true. No matter how convinced you are that the stories are true just try to imagine two scenarios in which your story may be wrong. In the earlier example, two scenarios could be that
- Your neighbor is not aware that he is parking in a way that obstructs your way
- He doesn’t know how to park and may need help
It is much better if one of your alternate stories talks about helping the other person. This way you are less likely to approach towards confrontation but try to find a way to help.
3. Verify your stories
Sadly, the reality is that there is a still a chance that your worst fear may be true and the neighbor is purposely parking his vehicle to annoy you due to a past grudge. In short your story can also be true sometimes.
The best way forward is to verify your stories. The steps to verify your stories are:
- Begin with fact : in this case three consecutive days when you were parked in such a way that obstructed my way.
- State your inconvenience, pain or objection: I am unable to get my car outside and have been reaching office late for 3 days in a row.
- State your actual story and then provide your alternate stories: I initially believed that you are doing it on purpose but then I realized that may be you are not aware that it obstructs my way or maybe you need some help parking your car in this difficult parking slot.
If you have followed these steps you have tried the best possible way to avoid losing your emotions and getting into a confrontation. Your neighbor would most likely chose your alternate story. Try this, it really works! What if it doesn’t work? Next step
4. If the other side is unfair to you
Very unlikely yet it happens that the other side is simply unfair and wouldn’t even listen. Try to find a common ground in that case.
For example he may be upset with you about some past events, what you need to do is to guide your conversation in a direction where you both have previously agreed on.
It may be related to parking space problem in your street. Then move towards the resolution of your problem.
5. Managing first five seconds
The most difficult part is to control first five seconds when something extremely unfair to you is said or done. You need to understand that your body sends a fight response and you have adrenaline
You just need to master the art of controlling yourself in these five seconds. Why? because you simply are not rational in this period and unless you want to get into a fist fight, this is not the best period for you. But if you are self-aware and now know this fact try to
- Count to five in your mind
- Tell yourself you need to get through these five seconds
- Then think about what else can be done
There are to vital aspects that will ensure that you don’t lose emotions in crucial moments or difficult situations.
- Mastering your internal stories that are often false
- Controlling 5 seconds of disaster that leads to irrational response and actions and never helps the cause
This works not only in case of any confrontation or difficult situation but in every emotionally charged event in your life.
It will come through practice and don’t fear to fail and sometimes, but very rarely it is okay to lose your emotions. But most of the time the points above will help you remain in control and not lose emotions.