Many emotions and actions are set off by our thoughts and interpretations of events, not by the events themselves. Events lead to thoughts, which lead to emotions.
However, our emotions can also have a big effect on our thoughts about events. As parents we teach our children temperance through demonstration of our own behavior as well as through coaching. Temperance is emotional self-control. It is doing all things without grumbling. Emotional self-control comes from examining our thoughts and checking the facts to help us change our emotions.
Following are examples of emotions:
Disgust (Sickened, Grossed out, Churned up), for example:
- All the dog piles in the back yard have just sicken you
- Someone at work touched you without your permission; and as a result you feel grossed out
- You are around a person or group whose behavior or thinking churns up or harmfully influences you or your social group. For example:
- As an adult, this may be a political adversary who churns up feelings of disgust
- As a teenager, this may be a friend who influences your daughter to dress scantily, leading to disgust by others
- This may be a child who revolts at parental coaching. So, in place of saying, “It is time to eat and not play with the toys” thus causing the young child to revolt. Change this is to, “You can eat lunch now and then after you can enjoy a nap, then you can plan again with your toys.”
Nemesis (danger, warning, declaration, affliction)
- There is a nemesis to your life, such as a diagnosis of cancer
- There is a danger to your health, such as COVID-19
- The well-being of yourself or someone you care about is suffering an affliction, such as racism or religious bigotry.
Anger (irritability, emotional arousal, rise, provoke, wrath, strife, hatred, envy)
- An important goal is blocked or prevented, so you feel irritable
- You or someone you care about is hurt by others, thus causing an emotional arousal or rise
- You or someone you care about is insulted or threatened by others, and you are seeing wrath or strife in your social group
- The integrity or status of your social group is offended, provoking envy or even hatred
- Another person has things that you don’t have and want
Other emotions that may lead to a lack of temperance include Jealousy, Love, Sadness, Shame, and Guilt.
So, what do we do? Search for the truth, check the facts. Examine our thoughts in accordance to the event, thus improving how we feel.
1. Truth, clean up the dog piles as they are laid, then the clean yard will leave you feeling good all day.
2. Truth, find a time when you can express to the coworker that his/her touching you was unexpected and didn’t feel good. Seek an understanding, without seeking blame, to build a kinder relationship with this person. Perhaps this person was unaware of your feelings and also wants to get past a rift.
3. Truth, politics are politics, but let’s not take it personally. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Only you have control over how you feel.
4. Truth, every health concern can raise feelings of life out of control, but every seed has within itself the substance of its own solution. Medical care, preventive health measures, exercise, good nutrition, and always help from others if we are only willing to ask. “Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you.”
5. Truth, with empathy we sometimes get caught up in the feelings of others, but the best support is to always give the best to your friends. Be the rock they lean on, then go for a walk and walk-off your own frustrations. Pray, meditate, do yoga or tai chi, go for a swim, etc. Remember to be good to yourself to improve how we feel.
6. Truth, love contains the seeds for jealousy; even God is a jealous God. Wanting the best for others sometimes means letting go and letting people grow in our presence.
7. Truth, shame and guilt are really similar. Shame is guilt turned inward; it is a hurt not healed. So what happened to elicit this feeling? Where or to whom can we turn to for help? Always ask for help. We are not meant to walk alone, but side by side.
8. Truth, sadness is not forever. It is part of the healing process and the best way out is through.
Temperance or emotional self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. It shows growth within ourselves and is always developing. No one is an emotional self-control expert; so relax; be good to yourself; and we will keep teaching our children that we love them so much that they, too, can be good to themselves and others.