I had had enough.
My office manager had belittled me and spoken rudely to me for a mistake I had made. For three years, whenever I made a mistake, she would publicly humiliate me and exaggerate my mistakes. I had been in this situation before plenty of times and ignored her. Unfortunately, most problems do not disappear if you ignore them—and this one was no different. I had a choice to make before I opened my mouth. Did I want to be right, or did I want to be well?I didn’t want to say something I’d regret. I wanted to be different this time: I wanted to control my emotions.
We all face situations like this because nobody is perfect. So in an imperfect world with imperfect people, how can you bring your emotions under new (and improved) management? Here’s three easy ways:
- You must prepare. If you don’t understand how you act and react, you cannot improve. Ask yourself some key questions: Do you express your anger or do you withdraw and hold it in? What happens when you experience loss? Are you the first person to express your opinion in situations? Do you celebrate when others celebrate? Do you allow yourself to enjoy success? If you don’t know, ask your close friends how you handle all kinds of emotions—not just negative ones, but positive ones as well. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Start preparing and start succeeding!
- You must practice. For the three years I worked for that office manager, each time she spoke was an opportunity for me to practice managing my emotions. It also was a perfect chance for me to understand how others respond to my personality, leadership style, and motivational gifts—and how I respond to theirs. I have learned the best response sometimes is no response, which is difficult for a prophet to learn (because we love to talk and give our opinions!). But I only learned this through practice. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!
- You must pray. Prayer changes YOU! This is the most important point. You cannot effectively manage your emotions on your own. Mels Carbonell says, “In order to discover God’s will for your life, you must give him your giftedness along with your feelings, thoughts, and actions.” Bringing God the simplest things, including our emotions, is exactly what He desires from us. So seek God first, and all of these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:31)—including control of your emotions.
So what happened that day with my coworker? I calmly but firmly told her that she was being rude and condescending and that belittling me in front of others was no way to manage people. I suggested that if she wanted me to perform better, that she should kindly ask me to be more careful in doing my job. And I said all of this without yelling, without anger, and without owning her emotional immaturity—with the aid of prayer.
What are some techniques you use to manage your emotions?
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