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Preparing to Face the Challenge (11 of 21)
Series: The Promise of a Sound Mind
The battle to control emotions isn't won at the time of conflict, but right now. By conflict, I mean your internal struggle. External circumstances may be the catalyst, but the real conflict is first fought inside, and you either are overcome by or gain control over your emotions.
The internal struggle may seem like a flash reaction, but control is either surrendered or gained in that instant. Your battle could be with anger, fear, jealousy, or any other thing that challenges for control. The moment of decision is just that - a moment. Therefore, you need to prepare now so you can have the right mind-set when the time comes.
Let's use anger as an example. Consider this scenario:
Jane walks in the room and sees her daughter reading a novel. "Is your homework done?" she asks.
"How could you forget? You know what you're supposed to be doing. We go through this every day."
"You always start yelling at me."
Jane tries to mask her frustration, but can't keep a higher pitch from slipping into her voice. "I'm not yelling."
"You're yelling at me now. I wasn't doing anything wrong."
"I told you to do your schoolwork. You disobeyed me. That's wrong." The daughter rolls her eyes, amplifying Jane's frustration. "Don't you roll your eyes at me. I'm your mother!"
The situation escalates rapidly. The daughter argues; Jane argues. Jane shouts that she shouldn't be arguing with her parents, while the daughter shouts that she feels mistreated. When her daughter says something like, 'I hate you', or 'you hate me', things are plunged into a free-for-all. Jane screeches at her daughter, her daughter screeches at Jane. By the time the dispute ends, both sides are mentally frazzled and stressed. The original problem has been lost in the cloud of conflict. Jane's remaining day will be on edge. Stress hasn't been relieved by the blow up. Instead, it ha ...
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