“When a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune: so much so, that he is often compelled, while seeing that which is better for him, to follow that which is worse.” ~ Benedictus de Spinoza, Ethics …
Our emotions are wonderful and powerful elements to our divinity, humanity, and personhood–they provide deep connections to our spiritual self, to others, and to the world around us. More importantly, they serve as a compass that can help guide us on our journeys through life, that is, of course, if we honor them and pay attention to them. However, as Baruch mentions, if we let our emotions control us–allowing ourselves to be constantly swayed by them into behaving certain ways and making certain decisions–then we can no longer claim that we have any sort of control over our lives; once our choices and decisions are based on our emotions rather than our instinct or our logic, then we are no longer making them ourselves.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with following our instinct–personally, I love to do so. However, whenever our emotions begin to start affecting our decisions in ways that challenge our logic or reasoning, then a huge red flag should go up, for our emotions–no matter how valuable they may be–are not trustworthy indicators of just how things are going or what decision is the right one to make in a given situation.
We tend not to think clearly whenever we allow our emotions to sway our decisions. Moreover, after making such decisions, we generally find ourselves wishing that we had waited until we had calmed down a bit to react or decide on how we should proceed. And though we can never be in complete control of our lives, we can better harness the full potential of the control we do have by limiting the amount we give up to our emotions.
Be aware of your decisions and what role your emotions are playing in them.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of problems can arise when we let our emotions take charge of our lives?
Why is it so often so tempting to follow our emotions instead of our reason?
How can we be aware of when our emotions are influencing us too strongly?
For further thought:
“When you look at things emotionally, you will not see them clearly; when you perceive things spiritually, you will understand.” ~ Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words