Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘human emotions’

Even Rats Have Regret!

U.S. researches have discovered what appears to be “regret” in lab experiments with rats. In “Wired.com” a research team located at the University of Minnesota said they were able to substantiate that the observed behavior was actual regret rather than mere disappointment.

Regret, the recognition that different choices could have resulted in different outcomes can be destructive or instructive. If even rats can demonstrate regret what does that say about regret and the human condition? It seems that the feeling of regret is more prevalent than we once thought. Rather than deny any feelings of remorse we may be experiencing maybe the issue is really the length of time spent in regret and what we take away from the experience that is the discriminating difference between productive and nonproductive behavior?

Some people live their life living in the regrets from their past resulting in a continual cycle of thinking ‘if only I would have done this or said that rather than..’ and as a result seem stuck in the past. Their lives continue to replay scenarios of what could have been. Living in the past stops people from experiencing the joys of today and hopes of tomorrow. They live in “the waiting place” that Dr. Seuss refers to in his book. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

On the other hand, other people experience regret but look at it from a perspective of what lesson they have learn from the experience. They live in today and dreams of tomorrow because they feel empowered to make better decisions for their lives because of what they learned from their yesterdays. Doesn’t it seem only natural that we relive moments or events when we were not at our best in an attempt to better control our decision making for the future? As long as we are aware of the amount of time we are spending in that place of review it can be a healthy, instructive thing.

We all have times – especially when we are sick, tired or stressed when mole hills look like mountains. Before responding or making a decisions at this point it is important to realize that we are not functioning at our best and try to avoid saying or doing something that we may regret later.

Let’s assume, however, that we do not heed our own best advice and say or do something that we wish we could undo. Often this happens from feelings of fear or anger. After all, we are simply human and bound to make occasional mistakes along the way. Rather than beat ourselves up over it or attempt to assign blame to others if we simply accept ownership for the error or mistake and offer appropriate apologies as necessary we can turn around something that could have become rather ugly into something meaningful – an “Aha” moment that makes us better, happier people in the long run. Regret in this example can mean that we have lived, learned and are moving on. That’s a good thing!

Our challenge is to learn from the experience and decide to handle the next situation a bit differently. We are all products of the choices we make. Everyday and in every way life has a way of testing us to become our best selves. Life is not for the faint of heart. We have chosen this life experience to become wiser, more thoughtful and productive human beings while we are on this planet. It starts with being brutally honest AND ultimately kind to ourselves and others as we learn our life lessons.

Have a great few days!

Accepting Those People Who Are Bigger Than Life

In Truman Capote’s biography the author explained that when Truman walked into a room is was like “the chemist’s drop of (a) volatile substance that changed the composition of any gathering from amity to effervescence.”

We have all met someone like this and marvel that just by walking in a room, everything seems better, more interesting. Sometimes we wish we could be more like them. The room seems to sparkle with their energy, charm and magnetism. That is a gift few have but all admire. However, like everything in life gifts can also be burdens.

Do we ever allow them just to be themselves? Or do we see them through rose colored glasses and just assume that they are always this way, without major down days or emotional challenges that weight on them. The truth is that everyone has the ups and downs of human emotions. Some people are just much better at hiding it. Many times, their reputation precedes them. In the past they may have been told of their effect on others which causes them to strive hard to live up to that expectation. They strive to be proper, positive and entertaining and not let anyone see a crack in their armor. Regardless of what concerns they have at the moment they will ‘perform’ with excellence because they want to please and live up to their ‘perceived’ reputation.

It’s important that we realize, after all, they are human and allow them to just be themselves. When they are feeling stressed or down they need to be given the love and acceptance to work through their feelings. If not, they may bury them for a while but like water that forcefully pushes at the cracks in a dam until it is allowed to flow more freely, their emotions will surface often with an intensity that seems out of proportion to the circumstance. Feelings of being overwhelmed, confused, angry or fearful can be hidden momentarily but surface when least expected. Usually, if these type of folks do let it out it is with someone that they fully trust, someone they know will not reject them or think less of them. In other words, they intuitively know that they can let their guard down without judgment or reprisal.

Human emotions are a commonality we all share. No one escapes the negative feelings of fear, anger or resentment. We may choose to label the feelings differently but they are felt all the same. It is the manner by which we work through them and allow others to work through them that’s the significant difference. Not what or who, in essence, but how is the issue here.

The next time someone you love or care for deeply reacts in a disproportionate way to an event just remember that they feel you are a safe harbor that will allow their venting to relieve the pressure of the emotional stress they have inside from something in the past. It may not feel like it but, in essence, it is a vote of confidence that they have given you. Everyone needs to find a way to let go of pent up emotions and not carry that baggage into another day. It’s important to remember that even those we greatly admire are human and have their own life lessons they are working on. As with everyone we meet in life, acceptance of where they are at the moment is key.

Have a great few days!

Success Is Change!

Success in our lives can be defined by asking three questions. What is truly important to us – what makes our blood pump a little faster? What do we find most difficult to handle (the things that make us anxious or our stomachs churn)? And what do we hold sacred in our hearts – the most important things without which we would not want to be here? These are big questions to think about and even bigger to answer. The closer you can get to the truth of who you really are and what you want your life to stand for the closer you are to achieving your own true success. That is all the Universe asks of us, to be true to ourselves and our prebirth agreement.

As we start the new year, I have found it helpful to reflect on these questions and honestly determine accomplishments, lessons learned and even more importantly, lessons yet to be learned. Doing so is both exciting and humbling. It seems like there is never a shortage of lessons. Ultimately, it all boils down to working on the personal challenges involved in accepting the changes we are faced with in life.

When we look at the challenge of the ultimate change in our life involving loss, there was something we needed to learn from it. As hard as the loss was it enabled us to learn important lessons. It may seem impossible, at first, to reach a deeper understanding. It is there, I promise you, just be brave and continue to search. What do you now place greater value on since experiencing the loss?

Loss comes in many forms. A death, of course, is the biggest challenge, the real show stopper. However, any change we experience in life brings, at first, a feeling of loss. My last blog was on the steps we go through when we experience change and loss. You might want to go back to the archive section on this website and review those steps, maybe even print them.

As part of the human race we are much more alike than different in our human emotions. We all experience insecurity, denial, anger, fear, acceptance and love. That’s why these steps are so predictable, the length of time we spend in each step is the human variable. We can find reassurance in knowing the emotions we experience are normal. When we are immersed in tears, we are not ‘losing it,’ but expressing our honest feelings involved in the loss – the change in our lives. Since nothing remains the same for long, being aware of these steps and being able to emotionally apply them gives us greater confidence and security in facing tomorrow.

Soul searching is not for the faint of heart but as Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “The truth will set you free.” It is good to take stock of what you have accomplished this year and what you still find most difficult to handle, what gives you pause. Once you decide to work on those feelings and situations you will be able to master them. Mastery brings a feeling of greater confidence and peace. Next year when you take stock of your life you will smile and think to yourself, ‘worked on that one and getter better every day!’

Have a great few days!