Emotional Filters

Did you ever witness an event and think, “That was terrible”?  We learn at a very early age which actions are good which ones are bad.  Usually it is our primary caretakers that teach us the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, and we blindly accept their judgment.  Later on we develop our own belief systems and values initially based on those of our primary caretakers.  Belief systems are those thoughts, ideas and concepts through which we judge the world around us, usually as being good or bad.  For example, if you believe that stealing is wrong, that is based on a belief system of right and wrong.  Values are those thoughts, ideas, concepts and things that we feel have worth in our lives.  For example, love is often considered something of value; honesty and integrity would be other personality traits we place value on. 

Being the emotional creatures that we are, we should not be surprised when we attach some emotion to almost everything we witness, think, or do.  Indeed, we go through life “feeling” one way or another all the time, and how we feel is typically based on what is going on around us, or what we are doing or thinking.  It is as though we are slaves to events in our lives, that somehow what is happening in our lives causes us to feel one way or another.  It would seem as though our emotional state of mind is completely dependent on the world around us, and to a larger degree what we are thinking about the world. 

The reason we are this way is that we learn to judge events and thoughts by filtering them through our emotional state of mind at that particular moment.  If we are in good mood then the things that happen around us or to us may not bother us much.  But, if we are in a sad or sour mood even the slightest infraction may cause us tremendous grief and anxiety.  How we react to the world around us seems to be dependent on the mood we are in. How often do we claim that we are in this mood or that because of external events?  Probably far more often than we would like to admit.  Or how often do we claim that our feelings were hurt by the words or actions of another person?  Again, this probably occurs far more often than we would like to admit.  How many times have you heard someone say they are “having a bad day?”  Worse yet, how many times have you heard yourself saying you are “having a bad day?”  Again, this probably occurs far more often than we would like to admit.

Are we really at the mercy of the surrounding environment?  Are we really simply slaves to our moods?  Have you ever wondered how it is possible that some people seem to never have “bad days”, while others always have them?  Can we imagine an identical event happening in two people’s lives, one reacting one way and the other person another way?  Sure we can.  So how is it possible that two people experiencing the same event can have vastly different reactions?  The answer is simple, emotional filters. 

The person who experiences the event and seemingly isn’t bothered at all by it has probably learned not to attach their emotions to everything around them, while the person who is bothered by the event is probably attaching some emotion to the event, or filtering the event through their emotions.  One decides how they want to feel and the other is a slave to their environment.  Obviously, the slave is usually miserable, or at least, not a very happy person, while the other person appears to be quite ok no matter what happens.  Which would you like to be, the slave or the free person? 

Chances are that if you are reading this book you are like the slave, blaming the environment for your moods and unhappiness.  So, how does one become like the free person, able to go through life, seldom upset, hurt or angry, no matter what happens?  The answer is simple, but like most tasks in life, not all that easy.  One has to simply not attach their emotions to everything that occurs around them; stop filtering your judgment of events through your emotional filters.  It is imperative that you understand that it is not necessary for you to feel one way or another about everything that happens in your life.  You are capable of simply witnessing an event and not experience any emotion.  I’m not suggesting you become a cold-hearted, calloused person never experiencing emotions.  Instead, what I am suggesting is that you decide for yourself how to feel about anything that happens, or perhaps decide there is no need for you to feel one way or another.