Other People’s Emotions

 

I live with my husband, Josh, in a 26’ motorhome and if I had to guess, I’d say we have 80-90 square feet of living space. That might be a little generous. 

When we first started traveling together a few years back I had this really fun idea that we should be in the same mood all the time and that mood should be happy. 

How did that work out? You ask. 

Poorly.

It turns out that living with another human, no matter what your situation, is happy half of the time and not happy the other half of the time. 

The not happy parts have ranged from me not talking to him, screaming at him in the middle of campgrounds, flipping him off, stomping away in frustration and a lot of stewing in silence. Much of this comes from me getting pissy because he’s not being happy for my benefit. 

In coaching we talk a lot about the contrast of emotions. How life is supposed to be 50% positive and 50% negative. This is another way to say that the only way to know happy is also to know sad. 

As I’ve started to accept this for me, I’ve noticed that I’ve also started accepting this about Josh. 

When he has bad days, it doesn’t mean that anything has gone wrong or that I did something wrong. It’s just him having a day. It also doesn’t mean that I have to match his mood. It’s OK for me to be feeling happy even if he is not. 

I was working with a client on this concept this week. She told me that her husband was offended by something that someone else said to him. When she didn’t get equally offended about the thing, he expressed that he was hurt and mad at her and then he didn’t talk to her for days. 

How do I prevent him getting so angry with me next time? She asked. 

How do you prevent his emotions? I responded. You don’t.  

Other people’s emotions are their business and just like us, they get a whole range of them. Because feelings are generated by what we are thinking, implanting ourselves into someone’s mind and manipulating those thoughts and feelings would be doing the impossible. 

So his anger is not a problem; it’s an expression of being human.

Loving unconditionally means accepting that. 

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