Our emotions arise automatically, so it is useless to ask someone to be less emotional.
Let’s go back to the previous table:
1-THE EXTERNAL FACT: Frances is forced by the union to do something contrary to her principles. She has no possible control over this situation. She can express a desire, an opinion, but the final decision escapes her. She must therefore live with a situation that she cannot change even if she is right in her demands.
2-EMOTION: A great deal of frustration has followed AUTOMATICALLY. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for her to stop being frustrated.
3-BEHAVIOR: A binge followed also AUTOMATICALLY. When the emotion is not too strong, it can be controlled by another activity. If the emotion is of great intensity, the behavior is very difficult to change.
So how can we intervene to hopefully control our emotions someday?
Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist, offers us the solution.
Here is how he completes our picture:
A- The EXTERNAL FACT arouses
B- Our THOUGHT about the event which in turn provokes
C- Our EMOTION and then our BEHAVIOR.
The new fact is that all our emotions are based on a thought. This is why two individuals faced with an identical situation do not necessarily react in the same way. For example, you are walking along the sidewalk with a friend, someone stops, starts laughing and then leaves. Your friend is deeply hurt while you laugh out loud. The external fact is the same for both of you and yet you have two completely opposite emotional reactions. Your friend is hurt because she THINKS this person has no right to treat her like that because she is dressed so well. On the other hand, you find the situation amusing because you THINK this man is probably crazy or on drugs.
The only way we can control our emotions is to work on changing or reducing the thought that is causing them. Then we can break the habit of reacting automatically to the various situations we face.”
Excerpt From: Maurice Larocque. “Maigrir par le contrôle des émotions.” Apple Books.