Willow tugged at his lead. His guardian was trying to lead him to the field for a walk but he wanted to explore the woods instead. He looked at his guardian as though saying, “I am a woodlands dog, not a grass walking mutt! There are no trees and shrubs for me to shove my nose in, no squirrels for me to chase and no birds to listen to. I have no use for vast places of flat grass! Get me to the woods!”
He stood firm on his ground. No amount of cajoling or treats would budge him. He was not to be deterred. Finally, his guardian relented and headed for the woods instead. Willow walked sprightly with his tail high in the air. Many people think they are doing a great job training their dogs. Little do they know that their dog has trained them well. Do you relate? Willow was determined not to be a puppet and be led. He chose to lead instead.
In our lives, we resent someone who comes in and tries to boss us around. Don’t tell me how to dress, how to do my job, how to speak, how to think, how to live. We resent someone who enters our lives and tries to tell us what to do. This is because we are all independent, self-sufficient people. We will never be a puppet of others as our lives are our own to live and no one should be in control of it but us. Can you relate?
Or at least that is what we tell ourselves.
If we are so self-sufficient, independent and capable of using our thoughts, experiences and emotions to guide us to make the right choices, why when someone tells us something we disagree with, something inside us tells us we have to argue with them. When someone puts a plate of cookies in front of us, we feel obliged to pick one up. When someone does something we dislike, we have to get mad about it. When something bad happens, we have to get upset, sad or worried. But if something good happens minutes later, all of a sudden, we are happy, excited, and want more.
How is it that we will never be held ransom or answer to anyone else that tries to control us and yet we fall victim to our own impulses? Emotions are powerful forces. Used correctly, they can enable us to create, perform and complete feats and tasks we would never have contemplated before those emotions arose. However, they can also be extremely destructively as they can cause us to say and do things that we may regret later and cause us to go into a downward spiral externally and internally, making us think the world is all bad and depressing when it is simply not true.
You may know someone who lives emotionally where he swings from ecstasy to depression in a heartbeat. His mood and state is completely reflective of what happens in his life at that moment in time. If things are going his way, he is happy. If not, he gets depressed. His results, failures and accomplishments run in a similar fashion. Great when things are going well and dismal when things are not. There is no consistency. He is capable of fascinating inspirations when his mood is light and his state is high. On the downside, he makes the worst choices in life which is incredible considering what he is capable of. He is like a puppet being pulled and controlled by his emotions and impulses.
Or perhaps you know someone who is like a robot. He does not get too excited nor does he get too depressed. His life is good and stable. There are no surprises, good or bad. He is capable of great work, never extraordinary. He is reliable and dependable. The colour of his life is like vanilla or magnolia, not too bright and gaudy, nor is it dark. There is a sustainable source of energy, not excessive or insufficient. He is never the life of a party nor is he the tragically sad person in the room.
Can you relate to both personalities? Perhaps not to the extreme and exactly as described but to a certain degree or extent? Both personalities have pros and cons. The first one is capable of great inspiration but is inconsistent and can be depressed. The second one is unlikely to hit the lows like the first but fall short of the highs too. Emotions and impulses are powerful tools that should be utilised to allow us to reach greater heights in our lives, improve our experiences and do crazy things that mark milestones in our lives that we talk about in the future. Love is a powerful feeling that will forever etch our hearts and souls, forever changing us. Be mindful that if left unchecked, the same emotions and impulses can also cause us to act in our lowest selves, disempower us and make us fall into the deepest abyss that is unfathomable.
We would never let another person jerk us around the way we allow our emotions and impulses do. It’s time we start seeing it that way – that we’re not puppets that can be made to dance this way or that way just because we feel like it. We should be the ones in control, not our emotions because we are self-sufficient and independent people.
Willow will not be led but chose to lead instead. Who does the leading in your life, you or your emotions?
‘Use your emotions to think but do not think with your emotions.’