The Strength in Confronting our Feelings

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It takes strength to confront our feelings and to reach out for help. If you would like help, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

My Response is My Responsibility

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My Response is My Responsibility

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

There is a story that has been told of a Christian Frenchman during World War II who had been harboring Jews before the Nazis eventually captured him. German soldiers brought him before an S.S. officer known as “The Torturer.”

At that moment, the peace of Christ came upon this Frenchman who manifested on his face the serenity of the Lord. However, the S.S. officer interpreted that tranquility as a snide look and screamed, “Get that smirk off your face. Don’t you know who I am?” The Frenchman said, “Yes sir, I know who you are. You are known as ‘The Torturer.’ I know you have the power to torture me. You have the power to kill me. But sir, you do not have the power to get me to hate you.”

Inner Freedom

This Frenchman reveals a weighty truth: other people cannot control my inner world.

Yes, they can physically torture me and kill me, so in that sense they can control me physically; however, they cannot dictate what I think, believe, and feel. I am free within. They cannot control my spirit. They cannot control me spiritually.

I possess a God-given right to rule my own inner responses. No one can make me hate them. No one can force me to have contempt for them. That’s my choice for myself. They cannot make that decision for me.

The Nazi did not have the right to rule over the Frenchman’s inner world. In the spiritual realm, the area of the human spirit, even the Gestapo had limitations.

But what brings a person to this place of freedom? How does a person discover their right to rule their inner response?

It begins with subscribing to this axiom: my response is my responsibility.

I am certain that years earlier the Frenchman had accepted the axiom that his response was his responsibility. He did not mope and pout, “My response is your responsibility.” He did not hold others responsible for his reactions. Instead, he discovered how to become free in his spirit even though others failed him and mistreated him.

But Isn’t My Response Other People’s Responsibility?

The Frenchman knew if he believed that others were responsible for his responses, then all of his emotions would be controlled by those around him. In effect, they’d be the master of his emotions. If they were mean and unjust, he’d be unhappy. If they were anything less than good toward him, he’d be unhappy. To give all power to other people to be responsible for his responses meant he was a hopeless and helpless emotional victim around those who were uncaring and mean-spirited. If others failed to love and respect him then he was destined to be miserable.

A woman wrote, “I have been incredibly frustrated in my relationship with my husband and truth be known I blamed most of it on him. Not because I think I am a saint but because I did believe that if he loved me properly then everything would be ‘as it should.’” She made her husband lord of her emotions and happiness.

Of course, when we assign that kind of power to others, we make them our gods. Thus, when we are unhappy we have only one recourse: blame and blaspheme this person who has become our god. Eventually, we are unhappy over how unhappy they have made us! We doubly resent them.

When our response is others’ responsibility, we have no choice but to be depressed since our god did not come through for us.

But Are We Robots Without Feeling?

A doctor can strike a certain place on our knee cap and our leg jerks up involuntarily in what we refer to as a knee-jerk-reaction.

That raises the question on an emotional front: When a man is cut off on the road, is his road rage a knee-jerk-reaction that he cannot control? Should he blame his raging reaction on an involuntary emotional explosion? Can he claim that he can only stand by as a helpless witness to his own madness?

Though there are amoral and involuntary emotions like sadness, grief, confusion, wonderment, amazement, and even anger, we are referring to those emotions that step over the line. For example, our anger is not righteous indignation (a proper form of anger) but unrighteous anger that surges from within us because of a lifetime of choosing to get angry when things don’t go our way.

As an employee, my bitterness permeates the e-mail reply to a demotion from the boss.

As an employer, my harshness pervades the luncheon meeting with a worker who continues to neglect their duties yet draws a paycheck.

As an adult son, my contempt peppers the conversation with my father who refuses to pay for the college tuition.

Each blames the bitterness, harshness, and contempt on the other person. Each believes their reaction is mostly involuntary. The other person caused the anger.

A Profound Truth

Please hear a simple yet profound truth: People do not cause us to be the way we are; they reveal the way we are.

They are not responsible for our responses but reveal our responses.

The Nazi officer did not cause the Frenchman to refrain from hate but revealed the Frenchman’s decision to refrain from hate.

As for the fellow with road rage, the other driver who cut him off did not cause his rage but revealed his rage.

Had it not been the bad driver, it would have been the fast-food server who got his order wrong and overcharged him. Slamming the steering wheel, he would have floored it as he did a screeching U-turn back to the restaurant. And, if it had not been the fast-food place that got his order wrong, it would have been his dog at home who knocked down the gate between the kitchen and living room and who proceeded to chew the wooden leg on the couch. He kicked the dog into the other room.

This man is an accident waiting to happen.

Sadly, in each instance, as an enraged person, he blames the driver, server, and dog. Red in the face, he screams, “I would never blow my stack if drivers drove well, servers served well, and dogs behaved. Life sucks.”

Why this belief? He has chosen to live his life spiritually under the belief system that bad circumstances cause him to be bad. Though he’d never agree that he is a poor little victim, this is exactly what he believes.

He would change the famous nursery rhyme. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Humpty Dumpty was pushed.

As for the road rage, the truth is the situation simply revealed his character flaw. He possesses a self-righteous mindset and out-of-control anger. This is not righteous indignation but an unrealistic expectation that everyone around him needs to be perfect (like he is) when it comes to doing what is important to him at that moment in time. If they are not perfect in this situation, he goes ballistic in a conniption.


If you would like help with your responsibility for your responses, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

6 Steps to Mindfully Deal with Difficult Emotions

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6 Steps to Mindfully Deal with Difficult Emotions

By Toni Parker

Let’s get real here. For most of us – myself included – life is fast-paced and chock full of family, relationship, and work stressors. This reality, along with the ever-increasing pressures of technology and society at large, can really take a toll on your marriage. As a result, difficult emotions like anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, and sadness, just to name a few, can arise. Emotions like these are often the most present and powerful forces in your life. For those people who feel anxious on a daily basis, it is important that you are able to get it under control. Maybe you should decide to try CBD products; which you can get from somewhere like The Cbdepot Shop to help with this emotion so you can feel better faster. There are alternative methods that can help you to deal with other emotions too.

The key to overcoming these difficult emotions is mindfulness! Practicing mindfulness enables you to calm down and soothe yourself. In this state, you have space to reflect and thoughtfully respond, rather than react.

Following these six steps will help you to understand and deal with your difficult emotions in a mindful way:

1. Turn toward your emotions with acceptance
Once you become aware of the emotion you are feeling, notice where it is in your body. You may feel it as a stomachache, a tightening of your throat, the pounding of your heart, or tension somewhere. Sit with this anger, anxiety, depression, grief, guilt, sadness, shame, or whatever emotion you are experiencing. Become aware of it and don’t ignore it. If this is difficult, get up and walk around or get a cup of tea.

The key here is to not push the emotion away. Bottling it up inside will only cause it to bubble up and explode later, resulting in more difficult emotions or even a complete emotional shutdown. Listen to your difficult emotions. They are trying to help you wake up to what is going on before a major crisis occurs.

2. Identify and label the emotion
Instead of saying, “I am angry”, say, “This is anger” or, “This is anxiety.” In this way, you’re acknowledging its presence, while simultaneously empowering you to remain detached from it.

When my husband was in the hospital before he passed, I felt a deep sense of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. I needed to acknowledge and identify the emotions and say to myself, “I know that I am experiencing anxiety and fear right now and I don’t know what will happen, but I am going to just ‘be’ with it.” Although it remained an extremely painful experience to the end, identifying and labeling my emotions in this way allowed me to take some of the pain out of what I was feeling. This, in turn, allowed me to stay in the present, versus catapulting me into the future, or trapping me in the past. Being thrust in either direction would have only caused me to blame myself. I can just imagine how that critical voice would have rung out, “If only you would have done something different, maybe there would have been a different outcome.”

3. Accept your emotions
When you are feeling a certain emotion, don’t deny it. Acknowledge and accept that the emotion is present, whether it is anxiety, grief, sadness, or whatever you are experiencing in that moment. Through mindful acceptance you can embrace difficult feelings with compassion, awareness, and understanding towards yourself and your partner.

Think of a friend or a loved one who might be having a hard time. What would you say to them? Bring the scenario of what you would say to them into your mind’s eye. Now, say the same thing to yourself: “I am ok. I am not to blame. I did the best I could.” Hold these images and phrases within yourself with loving kindness and compassion. Extend this act of kindness toward yourself and become aware of what is going on within you. In this way you will gain the power to not only calm and soothe yourself, but also your partner.

You will soon come to realize that you are not your anger, fear, grief, or any other difficult emotion you are feeling. Instead you will begin to experience these emotions in a more fleeting manner, like clouds that pass by in the sky. Opening yourself up to your emotions allows you to create a space of awareness, curiosity, and expansiveness that you can then apply to your relationship, as well as any other aspect of your life.

4. Realize the impermanence of your emotions
Every one of your emotions is impermanent. They arise and reside within you for a time, and then disappear. It’s easy to forget this when you’re in the midst of dealing with difficult emotions.

Allow yourself to witness and observe your emotions with kind attention and patience, giving them the latitude to morph, and in many cases, completely evaporate. To embrace this process, ask yourself: “What and where is this feeling? What do I need now? How can I nurture it? What can I do for my partner? What can my partner do for me? How can we, as a couple, turn toward one another with acts of loving-kindness?” Asking these focused questions and responding in turn will go a long way to promote empathy, compassion, and connection within your relationship.

5. Inquire and investigate
After you have calmed and soothed yourself from the impact of your emotions, take a moment to delve deeply and explore what happened.

Ask yourself: “What triggered me? What is causing me to feel this way? What is the discomfort I’m experiencing and where is it arising? Was it as result of my critical mind, or was it in reaction to something my partner said or did?”

Perhaps you had a hard day at work or difficulty dealing with your family. Maybe you feel unappreciated, lonely, or disconnected as a result of your interactions with someone. Whatever the cause or trigger, look at it closely and ask yourself, “What is happening here?”

Consider what was said or done and compare it to your values. What were your expectations surrounding the situation? What reactions or judgments caused you to become angry or anxious? Is this a pattern that keeps arising?

Asking yourself these critical questions and investigating the root of your difficult emotions will help you gain empathy and insight into what you are experiencing.

Taking yourself off autopilot and trusting your deepest, authentic self to answer these questions about your situation will create a space to see things with a different perspective. This will ultimately allow both you and your partner to be more present and connected with each other.

6. Let go of the need to control your emotions
The key to mindfully dealing with your difficult emotions is to let go of your need to control them. Instead, be open to the outcome and what unfolds. Step outside of yourself and really listen to what your partner is feeling and what he or she has to say. Only then will you truly gain an in-depth understanding of your emotions and the interactions surrounding them within your relationship.

Mindfully dealing with emotions is hard and it takes time. Be kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself and your partner. You’re in this together! As Dr. John Gottman has said, “In a good relationship people get angry, but in a very different way. The Marriage Masters see a problem a bit like a soccer ball. They kick it around. It’s ‘our’ problem.”

We are fortunate that we live in a world where you and your partner can take the time to explore, discuss, and learn about mindfulness and your emotions. Take nothing for granted, for life is fragile and fleeting!

If you would like help dealing with difficult emotions, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

The Impact of Emotional Awareness

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Your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life.
-The Gottman Institute

emotional awareness

Alternates to Telling a Child “Calm Down”

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“Telling a child to “calm down” communicates that they aren’t allowed to experience anger or other feelings. Your goal isn’t to change their emotions, but communicate that you understand and accept them.” (The Gottman Institute)

alternates to calm down

New Year Resolution: An Emotional Hoarder No More

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Confession: I Used to Be an Emotional Hoarder

By David Martin

I was 16 years old and found myself in my room packing the final boxes for a move I didn’t want to make. My parents were divorcing. My dad decided he wanted a new life, one that didn’t include my siblings, my mom, or me.

As we moved into a much smaller house, we unpacked most of those boxes. I remember wondering why we had done the move ourselves and not hired a company, like these movers Greensboro is home to for example. I guess at the time we couldn’t afford it. There seemed to be so much stuff, seeing all our things boxed up was such a strange feeling. Whilst it was difficult to adjust at first, we soon got used to not having my dad around. My mom was able to find a lovely house, one that we all loved. I remember my mom trying to find the best house mounted flagpole to put a flag on the house. Most of our neighbors did this, so my mom must’ve wanted to fit in with the rest of the neighborhood.

It felt like it had only been a few days since we had been shopping all the really useful boxes offers online and now everything was in storage ready to be taken to our new house. It didn’t matter where we went, or what type of house we had, whether it was a bungalow, a detached or even a pie shaped house, no matter were we moved to, we took everything with us.

But there was one box I refused to unpack.

In this box, there was an assortment of anger, hurt, rage and unforgiveness. This box, while small, was heavy. And for the next 20 years, this box came with me to every new house or town I moved to.

You didn’t have to see what was in my box to tell what was in the box. My choices, how I related to others, my addictions and actions were a reflection of its contents.

I somehow had allowed myself to turn into an emotional hoarder. In my mind, getting rid of this box filled with anger and unforgiveness seemed to suggest that I’d also have to dismiss or excuse the wrongs that caused them.

I was the person Marianne Williamson describes: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.” As time went on, I discovered that there are some wounds that time doesn’t heal. To ignore or wish our wounds away is to simply create an environment for them to fester and become infected. Untreated wounds make us sick.

To ignore or wish our wounds away is to simply create an environment for them to fester and become infected. Untreated wounds make us sick.

On September 10 ,2011, I had a life-changing epiphany. It was my birthday. I was driving home, and a thought struck me. It was as if God whispered and said, in so many words, “You weren’t meant to carry this box, it’s time to let it go.”

I realized, in that moment, that this box wasn’t going to unpack itself. If I wanted to heal and move on, the box had to go.

So, I picked up the phone, it began to ring, and then I heard the sound of my dad’s familiar voice on the other end say, “Hello?”

My mouth was dry and my hand was shaking as I struggled to find the words to say. “Dad? Hey it’s me, Dave.” Then I just got to it.

“Dad, I want you to know something…” He stayed silent. “I don’t know what you think I’m holding against you, and I’m not justifying how things went down, but here’s what I want you to know: I forgive you.”

I didn’t know if he was going to hang up on me or respond.

“Thank you,” he said.

In that conversation, I never heard the words “I’m sorry.” But that was OK. I didn’t need an apology to validate my decision to get rid of the box.

That day, I moved to a new place. Not to a new house, but to a new way of living life without the box.

“[Forgiveness] isn’t something we do for those who wronged us; it’s something we do for ourselves,” Dr. Andrea Brandt says in Psychology Today.

I’ve learned that finding forgiveness towards someone doesn’t justify the injustice done against us; it simply frees us from the weight of it.

As you look at 2016, what boxes need to go? What areas of unforgiveness have weighed you down that you’re ready to leave in 2015?


If you would like to break free from emotional hoarding, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our counselors or coaches.

True Feelings Don’t Equate With Truth

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Our feelings are real. But true feelings do not necessarily equate with truth.

Sometimes we reason and think emotionally, but feelings are not facts.

While our feelings may be legitimate, we must learn to test our feelings with objective facts. In doing so, we will find ourselves mastering our feelings rather than being mastered by our feelings.

If you would like more help not being governed by your feelings, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.

3 Tactics to Avoid Being Controlled by Your Emotions

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3 Tactics to Avoid Being Controlled by Your Emotions

Feelings Are Not Meant to Define You

By Brent Flory

Each of us have been through a painful situation where we have heard a sentence that takes our breath away. A moment that emotionally tore you apart.

Young man with migraine

“I think we should stop seeing each other.”

“You’re fired.”

“I’m leaving you.”

“Why are you so stupid?”

It took me about thirty years to admit that I’m an emotional guy. I’ve had to work hard to learn how to deal with my feelings well, and that is an ongoing process for me. Especially as a person who likes to take risks, I have to keep a grip on my emotional life or I can get overwhelmed quickly.

Hopefully you do well handling stressful circumstances and the emotions that arise during them. However, you may battle to not let your feelings get the best of you. No person is fully in one camp or the other, we each fall somewhere on a spectrum in how skillfully we handle our emotions. And if you’re like my toddler, where you fall on that spectrum may vary significantly depending upon when you last ate something.

To become a person who processes their emotions effectively, you must know that you are much more than your feelings. You can learn to gain mastery over them.

3 Tactics to Dealing with Feelings More Effectively

1. Learn to pause when something triggers you emotionally.

When something hits us deeply on an emotional level, we can react immediately without thinking through the possible consequences. Training yourself to pause creates space to consider your options when you’re in an emotionally difficult scenario.

If your significant other hurts your feelings and you pause before responding, you have the opportunity to choose to relate to them in a way that won’t make the situation worse. You can ask them to clarify what they said, share your interpretation of what they told you, or say that you need to go on a walk before you talk further.

Creating space to process your options instead of responding out of sheer emotion can make a world of difference in your relationships.

2) Identify the emotion you’re feeling.

There is a tremendous difference between being overcome by anxiety and being able to say, “I’m feeling anxious right now.” If you can accurately pinpoint what feeling you are experiencing, you now have a choice in where you go from here. When you understand what is happening inside of you, you have the power to make a decision that can lead to a better outcome than allowing yourself to be driven by your emotions. If you’re wanting to try and better identify which emotions you may be feeling at any given time, you might want to read into the likes of this list of emotions so you are able to identify the emotion you’re experiencing.

After you’ve been able to pinpoint exactly why you are feeling this way, it can be easier for you to establish your next cause of action. You may want to visit a counsellor to talk through your problems, or you may want to sort it out yourself. People who are feeling anxious may decide to take something to help them cope with their day to day life. Something like this Holy Grail Kush cannabis strain ( has been known to help treat people who are experiencing anxiety. It doesn’t matter which treatment you ultimately decide on, as long as you’re doing what’s in your best interests, that is all that matters.

3. Question your interpretation of situations.

When your boss says, “great job on the project,” you can beam with pleasure at her assessment of your performance. Or you can burn with anger at her insult. It’s all in how you choose to interpret what she says.

Your beliefs about yourself and your boss will shape how you think about what she says to you, and how you choose to reply to her. Our interpretations can be inaccurate, and can lead to gross misunderstandings in our relationships. Stopping to question your interpretation of an interaction can lead to a very different result than automatically trusting your initial take on it.

Everyone can get better at handling their feelings with some work. Learning to pause, identifying your emotions, and questioning your initial interpretation of situations will grow your ability to effectively process your feelings. These are skills that will pay you dividends in every area of life, so start working on them today.