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InvisibleVeritas
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Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor
    #4682782 - 09/19/05 06:24 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

There have been several discussions here about whether we are capable of choosing our responses to the events of our life.

I think there has been some miscommunication/misunderstanding of what is meant by "choosing" one's emotional response.

First of all, I would distinguish between response and reaction.  An emotional reaction occurs when an event in our life, or the life of someone we care about, triggers a process in our limbic brain.  At this level, the emotions are (apparently) inevitable and based on our memories, temperament, etc...

After this reaction occurs, our neocortex jumps in and begins to process the flood of information it is receiving from the limbic brain.  More memories get involved as our "system" works to develop a context for the current experience.

Next is the response:
We begin to make judgments about what has happened. Is it bad or good? Painful or pleasurable?  Should we express blame or gratitude? Pride or shame? We may blame others or ourself for a negatively-viewed experience, or pat ourselves on the back for a positively-viewed experience.

After we have established judgment for the current experience, we will probably put it in context of our past experiences/judgments.

"Oh, that Ted always screws up the family reunion by getting drunk or picking fights!"  "I am such a loser." "I'm really good at resolving customer service problems!"

So...which part of this was the "true" emotional experience?  Where could our choices effect the end result of the experience?  What can we change without suppressing our emotions or being phony?

IMO only the initial communication from our limbic brain is the "true" emotional experience.  It is not healthy to suppress or ignore these messages about the events in our life.  It is also not healthy to believe that everything that follows that initial communication is inevitable!

We can become more skillful at considering and accepting the emotional messages we get, without jumping to conclusions about what they MEAN.  That is the choice factor, and it makes all the difference!  :heart:


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Veritas]
    #4683013 - 09/19/05 07:27 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

One of the best posts I have seen here in a long time. :thumbup:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Veritas]
    #4683538 - 09/19/05 09:35 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

well since i've been quibbling with this, i might as well continue to quibble.

our brains give meanings to the world; you argue these meanings are our choice. yet aren't these meanings the result of experiences? don't these experiences impart us knowledge? like, as soon as a person understands something, they act accordingly. choice is thus an illusion in this sense.

example: every day X, during the course of his day, sees someone Ywho makes a nasty remark. X learns to dread seeing this person. yes X's emotional response is a result of his cognitions; but his cognitions are a result of his experiences.

the only way X's emotional response to this person changes is if X's cognition of them changes; and the only way that happens is if X's knowledge of them changes; for example, let's say the relationship changes for some reason, the person stops making nasty remarks, then X won't dread them any more.

i mean, there are reasons a person experiences the emotions they do, reasons that arise from experience, not choice.

Quote:

We can become more skillful at considering and accepting the emotional messages we get, without jumping to conclusions about what they MEAN. That is the choice factor, and it makes all the difference!




if you would, please give me two alternate examples of what you mean (one where the person does the healthy thing and one where they don't)

here's my two:

example one, X dreads Y, but is in denial. when X is about to see Y, X's friends say, "wow you look like you're dreading something" and X says, "i'm not dreading anything, dread is a choice and i choose not to dread because it's painful and i'd rather not experience pain and i don't have to if i opt out of it." all the while X patently looks moritifed, scared, nauseous, sweat on brow and palms, saying over and over "i don't dread anything."

example two, X dreads Y, and goes with it. X works to change the situation. maybe X tells Y about the dread. maybe X changes his routine so he doesn't see Y every day. maybe X thinks, "the reason the criticisms hurt is because i have an underlying need for approval, and i am looking to Y for my approval; and in fact i don't feel approved by anyone in my life"; and he decides to work finding something to meet his underlying need for approval.


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4683628 - 09/19/05 09:51 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

example: every day X, during the course of his day, sees someone Ywho makes a nasty remark. X learns to dread seeing this person. yes X's emotional response is a result of his cognitions; but his cognitions are a result of his experiences.




Your response does not have to be the same because of experience. You can take nasty remarks personally which would hurt or you can choose to see that his remarks have nothing to do with you. Only if you agree with his remarks would they have to bother you. That's choice. If you don't mind it doesn't matter (mind over matter :wink:

Quote:

the only way X's emotional response to this person changes is if X's cognition of them changes; and the only way that happens is if X's knowledge of them changes; for example, let's say the relationship changes for some reason, the person stops making nasty remarks, then X won't dread them any more.




You're example is limited by having something outside change, which it may not. You don't need the other person to change anything for your emotional response to change. You have the power to control and change you emotional response to the one which feels best and brings the best result to your life. You don't need to take what he does personally, that's a choice.

Quote:

i mean, there are reasons a person experiences the emotions they do, reasons that arise from experience, not choice.




You can change your response to your experience. That is the freedom.
But as Veritas said, your initial response is pure emotion and needs to be felt. After that you choose to build on it or let it go. If it feels good to let it go, you have the tools to do it. This is the power of not taking what others do or events personally. :mushroom2:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Veritas]
    #4683721 - 09/19/05 10:08 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I feel like a pinnochio most of the time
all these words I can read and write enhance the magic carousel sense of the pretend world.

it really seems kooky and automatic too
unless I press pause

and review my 'big picture' perspective.

i am not any smarter then, but at least I have taken my necessary peek at the universe - surely I have a right to that at least.


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: redgreenvines]
    #4683955 - 09/19/05 10:54 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

I feel like a pinnochio most of the time




Doesn't everyone? Fake it till you make it. :wink:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Icelander]
    #4684369 - 09/20/05 12:08 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

see, the thing is, i've been in the situation where i've been asked 'am i angry' and i say 'no i'm not' when plainly i am. and ive been in the opposite, where im the one asking 'are you angry' and i can see from the persons red face, clenched teeth, frowning expression, yes they are angry.

so i dont think it's enough for a person to say, 'i dont feel this way' not to feel a certain way. this makes me conclude something more general, that when people talk about choosing their feelngs, theyre actually repressing them (pushing something out of awareness).

there's no reason that listening to one's feelings has to make a person depressed. depression is different from sadness. a depressed person might never get out of bed and might be very inactive for example. but a person who is sad about something but not depressed can still choose to get out of bed and do all the things they'd otherwise do. there's no reason becoming aware of a feeling (like sadness) has to take away from a person's life. they can continue to do the things they did before. in fact learning about a feeling helps improve a person's life, because then the person can figure out what they need to change about their environment to make themselves feel better.

if i'm cold, why don't i put on a sweater instead of telling myself, "i'm not cold" ?


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4684486 - 09/20/05 12:31 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I see what you're saying. It not a good idea to lie about your feelings. What good does that do? It changes nothing.

Choosing how you feel is a skill. It takes practice. Lots of it. You cannot lie to do it. It's a process in which you first learn to accept all of your feelings in an unconditional way. Once you don't judge your feelings as good or bad (for real) then you have the power to choose what feels best. Like I said this isn't a given and takes work and practice. Like in Kens book. It's reprogramming your mind to be more open to experience without fear. Only then do you have the chance to choose.  :smile:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4684488 - 09/20/05 12:31 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

what if you feel sad about something in your environment that you cannot change? if you base your happiness on environmental factors its very easy to get completely screwed over.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Deviate]
    #4684643 - 09/20/05 01:00 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

what if you feel sad about something in your environment that you cannot change?




then i would ask what is the need not being met that causes sadness? maybe there is another way it can be met. example: person Y won't be my friend; maybe i can find someone else to be my friend.

Quote:

if you base your happiness on environmental factors its very easy to get completely screwed over.




it depends on how reliable your source is.

also i don't think people choose to base their happiness on environmental factors; i think all happiness is based on environmental factors, unless there's repression going on, in which case it's a false front.


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Icelander]
    #4684704 - 09/20/05 01:11 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

I see what you're saying. It not a good idea to lie about your feelings. What good does that do? It changes nothing.

Choosing how you feel is a skill. It takes practice. Lots of it. You cannot lie to do it. It's a process in which you first learn to accept all of your feelings in an unconditional way. Once you don't judge your feelings as good or bad (for real) then you have the power to choose what feels best. Like I said this isn't a given and takes work and practice. Like in Kens book. It's reprogramming your mind to be more open to experience without fear. Only then do you have the chance to choose. 




sadly i am only halfway through the book.  maybe that's my problem! :tongue:

let me try paraphrasing.  please tell me if i understand.  you've got all these various feelings.  you focus on a portion.  the portion you focus on becomes your reality.

?


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4685338 - 09/20/05 07:48 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Basically, yes. When you finish the book you will better understand the method I and Veritas practice. It's powerful but the change comes not from reading the book but working with the material and practicing it.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Invisibledorkus
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Icelander]
    #4685377 - 09/20/05 08:43 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Great post, great people. Thank you all. :japsmile:

If anger or sadness surfaces, I have seen that opening up to it in acceptance and a little self-irony, make them feel almost exciting. When curiosity and excitement arise I find my feelings gliding over from bad, to neutral or good because the hurting seems to lay only in the buffer, the relation to reactions. Responses was a good word.

Also I find that feelings scaling all the way over to bad cloud the mind. Conclusions are best drawn when they have passed.


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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: dorkus]
    #4685455 - 09/20/05 09:38 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Yes! :thumbup:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Icelander]
    #4685479 - 09/20/05 10:43 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

<sigh>


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4685486 - 09/20/05 10:47 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

:scrambled: :rofl2:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleVeritas
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4685626 - 09/20/05 11:58 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
if you would, please give me two alternate examples of what you mean (one where the person does the healthy thing and one where they don't)

here's my two:

example one, X dreads Y, but is in denial. when X is about to see Y, X's friends say, "wow you look like you're dreading something" and X says, "i'm not dreading anything, dread is a choice and i choose not to dread because it's painful and i'd rather not experience pain and i don't have to if i opt out of it." all the while X patently looks moritifed, scared, nauseous, sweat on brow and palms, saying over and over "i don't dread anything."

example two, X dreads Y, and goes with it. X works to change the situation. maybe X tells Y about the dread. maybe X changes his routine so he doesn't see Y every day. maybe X thinks, "the reason the criticisms hurt is because i have an underlying need for approval, and i am looking to Y for my approval; and in fact i don't feel approved by anyone in my life"; and he decides to work finding something to meet his underlying need for approval.




Are you saying you think example one is the "healthy" choosing I am referring to? Denial of emotional reactions is NOT healthy.

In your first example, X is anticipating critical remarks from Y, and causing his own emotional response. This is not a reaction IMO, because it is generated by his thoughts about the past. These thoughts trigger feelings of dread without ANY interaction with Y! How is this not a choice? And if X can trigger his own response, couldn't he consciously choose NOT to do so?

Your second example, where X examines his emotional response by considering his need for approval is closer to the choice factor I am talking about.

I would take it even further than seeking other people to fulfill that need, though. My next step would be to consider whether it is rational or healthy to NEED approval, and to ask whether I am withholding approval from myself and thus leaving myself desperate and vulnerable to other's opinions. This is an issue I am actually dealing with in my life now, and it is very challenging.

If personal growth was an important value to him, X could see Y as an important teacher, and choose to seek him out MORE often, rather than avoiding him. Every time X feels his emotional reaction starting, he could "pause" the moment to fully experience all the tangled emotions and memories being activated by his experience with Y. He might remember painful reactions he had during childhood, and begin to recognize the "story" he has been telling himself about those reactions, and what they mean about him.

None of this involves Y needing to change, or being judged for his unskillful actions. None of this involves X judging himself for having emotions, or trying to pretend he doesn't feel what he feels.

Realizing the part our responses play in creating our world view and experience of our life is not about blame or shame. It is about finding ourselves in the driver's seat and deciding to steer rather than being driven.


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Invisiblemecreateme
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Icelander]
    #4685660 - 09/20/05 12:11 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Like in Kens book




What book?! :heart:


--------------------
No ONE wants to know the ultimate TRUTH, as soon as YOU find IT out, YOU want to forget IT.

You are everything's way of feeling itself.

Happy Schwag, everygodly!


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InvisibleVeritas
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: mecreateme]
    #4685662 - 09/20/05 12:12 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

"The Handbook to Higher Consciousness" by Ken Keyes, Jr.


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: Clarifying The Emotional Choice Factor [Re: Veritas]
    #4685766 - 09/20/05 12:50 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

"then i would ask what is the need not being met that causes sadness? maybe there is another way it can be met. example: person Y won't be my friend; maybe i can find someone else to be my friend."

and what if that fails too?

Quote:


"it depends on how reliable your source is.

also i don't think people choose to base their happiness on environmental factors; i think all happiness is based on environmental factors, unless there's repression going on, in which case it's a false front. "

i don't think that's right. people do choose to base their happiness on environmental factors. take sporting events for example, when i was younger i used to base my emotional state on whether or not my team won, this lead to a lot of sadness when we lost. as i got older i realized i could choose to be happy regardless of whether or not we won and just enjoy the game. as buddha would say its attatchment that leads to suffering. if you think its a false front then the people you were observing were not unattatched, without attatchment, without wanting or expecting something , you will not suffer emotionally if things don't go your way.

" i think all happiness is based on environmental factors,"

i think you're wrong about this too. i've had the experience of being in what would be considered an unpleasant situation with no pleasant environmental factors but still feeling peaceful or happy inwardly through my acceptance of that situation. i've also had the experience of getting exactly what i wanted, of having everything i could possibly want in my worldly situation and yet still feeling very unhappy and dissatisfied.


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